a comparison of three mobile browsers on ios 13.2.2

I’ve grown increasingly paranoid, at an accelerated rate since 2016. I’m dependent upon the open Internet for communication and general iOS app functionality, since nearly all of my apps are useless without connecting to some service on the Internet. Whether it’s via WiFi or using AT&T, my current wireless provider, nearly everything I send mobily is in the clear. The notable exception is my use of ProtonMail, which encrypts and decrypts locally for email, and Signal, providing the same capabilities for chat.

A good portion of my “stuff” that flows across the wireless network is from my browsers. Visiting sites using HTTPS is nice and all, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg with regards to data security. There’s all the JavaScript libraries attached to all those web pages that are now absolutely required, and they’re doing everything to fingerprint and help track you. I really don’t care to be tracked. Where I go is none of anybodies business. So no matter if you’re running encrypted or unencrypted to your service, it’s trivial to invade your privacy, just at a different level. That led me to investigate how the basic mobile browsers, just on their on, help or hinder how you’re tracked. For that kind of initial measuring I turned to EFF’s Panopticlick web page.

These following screenshots are Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari running the Panopticlick web page. The browser apps are all up to date.

The worst of the browsers as far as Panopticlick is concerned is Chrome, the first screen capture. It got no green checks, only warnings (partial protection) and outright red cross marks, an indication of no protection. I don’t use Chrome on my iPhone, so that’s not an issue.

The next entry is Firefox. I had it configured for night mode so I could attempt to match the dark mode I have my phone in. It faired much better than Chrome in this test.

Finally there’s Safari at the bottom. Like Firefox it faired much better than Chrome, and it managed to fair a bit better than Firefox fingerprinting, which was deemed a partial.

I’ve been looking at moving over to Firefox on mobile for a long time, but it has a number of operational issues that keep me from using it on my iPhone. For all practical purposes I’m happy with Safari (although its lack of dark mode is a bit strange), and trust it more than the other two. If I didn’t have Safari (meaning I was using an Android handset) I’d be using Firefox in a cold New York minute before I would ever fire up mobile Chrome. And if anything ever goes sideways with Safari, I’m pretty certain I could live with some of the quirks I found using Firefox.

But for now, it’s still Safari for me.

2 thoughts on “a comparison of three mobile browsers on ios 13.2.2

  1. I am running Chromium on Linux Mint and it does fair.
    However, I’ve recently had a panic upon discovering that a bank has chosen to share data about me with Facebook, the world’s most unethical web site. This could be either “he looked at our page” or “here is his account number and access code” I don’t know. I just consider it to be unacceptable at any level.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I use Safari primarily on my Macs as well as all my iDevices. As for Linux, it depends. If it’s regular Linux then it’s always Firefox. The one notable exception is Raspbian on the Raspberry Pi, which uses Chromium.


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