Orbot for Android

Updated21 July 2014

This guide is out-of-date

Orbot is an Android-platform mobile phone application created by the Guardian Project, that is designed to increase the anonymity of your activities on the Internet.

Required reading

What you will get from this guide

  • The ability to conceal your online identity from websites and other services, when using certain Android applications.
  • The ability to conceal your browsing activities when using the Orweb browser for Android.
  • The ability to bypass Internet censorship and online filtering when using the Orweb browser for Android.

1. Introduction to Orbot

Orbot provides Android devices with access to the Tor Network. Form more information see Tor - Digital Anonymity and Circumvention.

2. Install and configure Orbot

2.1 Install Orbot

Step 1: On your Android device, download and install the app from the Google Play store store by pressing .

Figure 1: Orbot in the Google Play store

Note: Orbot can also be downloaded directly or from the third party F-Droid and Amazon stores.

Step 2:. Before the installation process begins, you will be prompted to review the access the application will have on your phone. Review this carefully. Once your are happy with the permissions that will be granted, press and the installation will complete. If you do not agree with the permissions that will be granted, press the back button and the installation will be cancelled.

Figure 2: Permissions required

2.2 Configure Orbot

Step 1: To open Orbot you tap the application's icon.

Step 2: Tap the language that you want and then .

Figure 3: Choose language

Step 3: A configuration wizard will appear with a description of Orbot. Read it and tap .

Figure 4: Information about Orbot

Step 4: You will then be presented with a warning screen. Once you have read this and understand the requirements press .

Figure 5: Important warning about how to use Orbot

Step 5: A screen will appear asking you to grant Orbot Superuser access. Superuser access requires that your device is rooted if you want to make use of Orbot's Transparent Proxy features - we will not explore this feature in the Orbot guide.

If your smartphone is not rooted, just tick the option that states I understand and would like to continue without Superuser. The next screen explains in order for you to benefit from Tor, you will need to use apps built to work with Orbot, or that support HTTP or SOCKS proxy.

Figure 6 & 7: Notes regarding rooting

Note: If you would like to learn more about rooting see the Advanced Smartphone Security chapter.

Step 6: A list of applications that work with Orbot will appear. Take note of them and tap .

Figure 8: Orbot-enabled apps

Step 7: Orbot configuration is now complete. A final screen describing the typical users of Tor and Orbot will appear, once you have read this tap .

Figure 9: Orbot is ready!

Step 8: After pressing (Fig. 9) you will be presented with the deactivated Orbot screen.

Figure 10: Orbot deactivated

3. Use Orbot to remain anonymous online

3.1 Start and stop Orbot

Step 1: Touch and hold the grey Orbot icon in the centre of the screen until it turns yellow and says Orbot is starting.

Figures 11 and 12: Activating Orbot

Step 2: The first time you start Orbot a notification will appear to confirm you connected successfully to the Tor network. Tap to see the green Orbot indication that Orbot is running.

Figures 13 and 14: Orbot finishes connecting

Note: You will only see the notification screen (Fig. 3) the first time you start Orbot after installation.

Step 3: To disconnect Orbot you touch and hold the green Orbot until it turns grey. Or if you want to disconnect and quit Orbot, tap the menu icon () in the top right of the screen and select .

Figures 15: Exiting Orbot

In order to browse or chat on the internet anonymously, you need to install an app (browser or chat) which can route your communication through a proxy in conjunction with Orbot. Please read the related Hands-on Guides for using Orweb and ChatSecure with Orbot.

Step 4: If at any stage you want to appear to come from a new location, you can get a new identity from Orbot by swiping left or right on the green Orbot image. The image will briefly spin and then display You've switched to a new Tor Identity.

Figure 16: Getting a new Tor Identity

4. Advanced Orbot configuration

4.1 Use a Tor Bridge

If Tor access is restricted or you wish to disguise the fact that you are using Tor, you can configure Orbot to use bridges.

Step 1: Tap the icon at the top of the screen to be brought to the settings screen.

Step 2: Scroll down to the bridges section and check the box next to Use Bridges.

Figure 17: Enabling Bridges

Step 3: Tap the Bridges section underneath Use Bridges to be presente#829d with a screen to enter the IP address of the bridge you want to use. Once correctly entered, tap . Restart Orbot to begin using the bridge.

Figure 18: Adding a bridge

Note: to learn more about how to get bridge addresses see the Tor Hands on Guide.

4.2 Start Orbot automatically

To make sure you never forget to start Orbot it can be configured to start when you turn on your Android Device.

Step 1: Tap the icon at the top of the screen to be brought to the settings screen.

Step 2: Check the Start Orbot on boot option at the top of the settings screen.

Figure 19: Starting Orbot automatically