Get used to private browsers
Firefox Focus, DuckDuckGo, and Brave are similar, but there are some important differences.
Firefox Focus, only available for mobile devices like iPhones and Android smartphones, is still in its infancy. You click on a web address and when finished browsing, click on the trash can icon to delete the session. Exiting the application will automatically delete the history. When you load a web page, the browser relies on a database of trackers to determine which one to block.
DuckDuckGo, also only available for mobile devices, is like a more traditional browser. That means you can bookmark your favorite websites and open multiple browser tabs.
When you use the search bar, the browser returns results from the DuckDuckGo search engine, the company says it focuses more on privacy because its ads don’t track people’s online behavior. DuckDuckGo also prevents ad trackers from loading. When you’re done browsing, you can tap on the flame icon at the bottom to delete the session.
Brave is also more of a traditional web browser, with anti-tracking technology and features like bookmarks and tabs. It includes a privacy mode that must be turned on if you don’t want people to scrutinize your web history.
Brave is also so active in blocking trackers that in the process it almost always blocks ads entirely. Other private browsers block ads less often.
For most people, not seeing ads is a benefit. But for those who want to return publishers with blocked ads, Brave hosts its own ad network that you can opt in to. In exchange for viewing ads that don’t track your behavior, you earn a decrease in sales in the form of tokens. You can then choose to give tokens to the sites you like. (Only web publishers with a Brave partnership can receive tokens.)
The battle of browsers
I tested all three browsers on my iPhone, setting each as my default for a few days.
They all have a button to see how many trackers they’ve blocked from loading a web page. To test that, I went to nypost.com, The New York Post’s website, which loaded 83 trackers without any tracking blocking. With DuckDuckGo, 15 nypost.com trackers were blocked. For Brave, the number is 22. And Firefox Focus blocks 47.