Take control of your privacy
Size: 24.8 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Developer: Mozilla Corporation
Web browsing has gone through numerous changes over the years, but the majority of internet history has seen this type of software relatively monopolized. From Internet Explorer vs. Network Navigator, to later Chrome vs. Internet Explorer before Safari came in and made it a trio. Mobile web browsers haven’t exactly changed the field in that regard, with Chrome on Android vs. Safari on iOS.
However, there’s been a minor groundswell for privacy-conscious web browsing from the likes of Mozilla and its Firefox browser to DuckDuckGo, which started off as a search engine but now runs its own browser on iOS. These browsers look to make it easy for users to avoid being tracked online and removing ads that can be pesky and intrusive. In fact, it’s the former we’re talking about today and specifically, it’s Firefox Focus browser.
Of course, Firefox has been around for years, often threatening to tickle various grudge matches, particularly in the Chrome vs. Internet Explorer days. It has a big following and developer Mozilla is pretty well respected. But Firefox already has an iOS browser. So, why Focus?
In many ways, this feels like more of a direct competitor to DuckDuckGo. Like that app, Focus can erase all your browsing history with one tap of a convenient and ever-present button.
Its settings are also simple but effective, allowing you to turn trackers on and off to varying degrees. Trackers are those things that web advertisers use to follow you around the web in order to advertise to you that same pair of flamed converse on a tech support forum that you’d just smartly declined to purchase over on Amazon. These browsers will help you avoid making terrible mistakes like buying flamed converse.
So what sets it apart from other browsers? Well, as we’ve already noted, it’s far more concerned with blocking unwelcome advertising and tracking than the likes of Chrome and Safari (though those browsers do include such things). But in terms of how its sets itself apart from the likes of Duck Duck Go? There’s not much in it.
You can customize the search engine you want to use, and you can lock the app using Face ID, but otherwise, the main difference is that Firefox Focus doesn’t allow you to open multiple tabs unlike Duck Duck Go and the mainstream browsers. We don’t really consider this a positive element, but understand it supports the ‘Focus’ narrative.
However, the app does provide great features for searching on page, requesting the desktop version of a site, and requesting to open pages in Safari if you want to switch back to the native iOS browser.
One thing we will say is that Firefox Focus is speedy and efficient. It’s obviously pretty powerful under the hood, which we’d expect from the experienced hands of Mozilla. It looks great too – its pleasant pink and purple hues are particularly suited to the high-quality OLED screens of Apple’s premium devices. While internet browsing has rarely been sexy (unless you’re visiting those sites – in which case Firefox Focus has your back) the app’s aesthetic jumps ahead of Duck Duck Go’s somewhat garish approach.
In conclusion, if you’re privacy-conscious, or just want to avoid ads with a simplistic approach to web browsing, Focus is the web browser for you. It comes from a name you can trust and offers a completely free way to browse the internet without leaving a trace.