Brave Improves Privacy for iPhone Users

Posted on August 16, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Web browsers, iOS with 4 Comments

Brave today highlighted recent features it has added to its browser on the iPhone that make it the most secure on that platform.

“Recent versions of Brave on iOS include many new privacy features, ensuring that Brave iOS users have the strongest available protections of any iOS browser,” the Brave Privacy Team writes. “Apple-imposed restrictions make it difficult for us to include some of the advanced privacy protections from our desktop and Android browsers in our iOS browser. However, our new iOS browser works around these limitations, and brings the privacy features on Brave iOS closer into alignment with our other platforms.”

Some of the key new features include:

Debouncing and de-AMP-ing protections. Brave now includes these protections to prevent a form of tracking where the tracker records what sites you visit by getting between you and the content you want to see.

Enhanced content blocking. According to Brave, Apple’s Content Blocking system has significant limitations, including restrictions on the number and kinds of tracker-blocking rules that can be applied. But Brave now works around some of these limitations and provides many of the same dynamic tracker blocking capabilities that it provides on desktop and Android.

Randomization to prevent browser fingerprinting. Brave on iOS now includes even stronger protections against browser fingerprinting. Here again, Apple’s restrictions made it difficult to provide the more robust and compatible protections available in Brave on desktop and Android. But Brave now provides those protections on iOS, too.

What’s interesting about this work is how it highlights how Apple requiring third-party browsers to use its web browser engine causes problems and actually impacts privacy and security.

“Apple’s restrictions prevent us from providing iOS users with the full range of advanced, best-in-class privacy protections Brave includes in its Android and desktop versions,” the Brave Privacy team explains. “On the upside, Apple’s platform restrictions limit the kinds of harm tracking companies can inflict; the worst iOS app is still more private than the worst Android or desktop app. However, this cuts the other way, too: Apple’s restrictions limit the kinds of extra protections privacy-respecting and protecting companies (like Brave) can provide. Basically, Apple limits both the bad that privacy-harming companies can do, but also limits the good that responsible companies can provide. We hope that Apple will loosen these restrictions, and provide advanced capabilities to companies like Brave that are dedicated to protecting user privacy.”

In the meantime, Brave is still the best that you can do on iOS, just as it is on other platforms.

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