[tbb-dev] Tor Browser for Android Reviews on Google Play

Matthew Finkel matthew.finkel at gmail.com
Mon Jan 14 14:20:39 UTC 2019

Hi all,

I read the reviews/comments of Tor Browser for Android on Google Play
from November and December. Some of the requests were
addressed/implemented in the December Tor Browser 8.5a5 release, but
I'll mention them here for completeness.

In November, the most frequent comment/request was about the lack of
copy/paste functionality. This was tracked and fixed in #27256.

The second most frequent comment referred to receiving a browser proxy
error message (some mentioned "incorrect proxy setting" message). It
seems possible this was due to Orbot not being installed or running.
Before tor was bundled in the app, Tor Browser did warn the user if an
Orbot installation wasn't detected and it tried starting Orbot if it was
detected but wasn't running, but maybe this wasn't sufficient in all
cases. Tor Browser now includes its own tor proxy, so those failures
should be mitigated.

The remaining comments were:
  - Requesting tor integration directly into the app (ticket #28051)
  - Requesting ability to take screenshots (ticket #27987)
  - Can't download images/pdfs/files (ticket #28705)
  - Tor is slow
  - Request for Russian localizations (ticket #26843)
  - Request for additional localizations (ticket #26843)
  - Lack of ad-blocker
  - Prevented from installing add-ons (primarily for installing an
  - Request for a single button that disables all scripts
  - Request for supporting x86 devices (ticket #27210)
  - Observation Tor Browser is not a torrent client

In December, including comments before and after the release where the
app included its own tor client, the most frequent comment/request
referred to the browser not connecting. I know there is currently a bug
where Android stops the tor process but Tor Browser doesn't detect this,
and the user only receives a proxy error. I'm not certain this why the
users are saying the browser doesn't connect, but it's an annoying bug
in any case.

The second most frequent comment in December related to the app crashing
after attempting a file download. 

There were multiple comments and questions about the Orbot integration.
Some users asked if they needed Orbot installed anymore, others
requested that development continue on Orbot and Tor Browser shouldn't
replace Orbot. There were additional questions and concerns about Tor
Browser's Orbot screen and configuring VPN mode - specifically using Tor
Browser's (Orbot's) VPN mode for torifying other apps. This last issue
should be resolved with the new bootstrapping UI and the enxt release
should mitigate the Orbot/Tor Browser UI/UX confusion. We should be more
clear about Tor Browser's dependency on the Orbot app. I'm not sure how
we should communicate this, yet.

There were more requests for Russian localization and Turkish
localization. Users should see this automatically now if their device is
configured with another language as the default. If the device is not
configured with Russian/Turkish as their default language, then they can
select another locale in Fennec/Tor Browser's settings menu, but maybe
this isn't obvious. We can think about how we can/should make this

The remaining comments were:
  - The new update didn't work in Iran
  - Request for bridge support (ticket #28802)
  - It's not obvious when Tor isn't running
  - Request for x86 support (ticket #27210)
  - Updates aren't working, users are reinstalling the app after each
  - Request for detecting and using the Orbot app if it's installed
  - A user noticed the app "randomly" start
  - A user noticed the app stop after a long period of use
  - Tor Browser is using the Orfox logo (ticket #27399)
  - Add-on installation is blocked
  - Request for a Javascript button (toggle on/off)
  - Tor is slow
  - Request for a circuit display
  - Tor Browser's Orbot doesn't start tor, progress hangs at startup
    without any errors
  - Tabs aren't restored after Android kills the app in the background
  - Request to make Tor Browser SDCard-compatible
  - Request for allowing taking of screenshots (ticket #27987)

There were two comments about failure after installing the update and
reinstalling the app as a result. We should investigate this. One
instance was reported on a Blackberry Priv.

- Matt

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