September 26, 2023

Firefox Focus, DuckDuckGo, and Brave are all similar, but with some important differences.

Firefox Focus, which is only available for mobile devices like iPhones and Android smartphones, is an absolute must. You enter a web address and after browsing, press the trash can icon to delete the session. Exiting the app will automatically delete the history. When you load a website, the browser relies on a database of trackers to determine which ones to block.

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DuckDuckGo, which is also only available for mobile devices, is more like a traditional browser. That said, you can bookmark your favorite pages and open multiple browser tabs.

When you use the search bar, the browser returns results from the DuckDuckGo search engine, which the company claims is more privacy-focused because its ads don’t track users’ online behavior. DuckDuckGo also prevents ad trackers from loading. When you’re done browsing, you can click the flame icon below to clear the session.

Brave is also more like a traditional web browser with anti-tracking technology and features like bookmarks and tabs. It includes a private mode that needs to be enabled if you don’t want people to check your web history.

Brave is also so aggressive about blocking trackers that it almost always completely blocks ads in the process. The other private browsers were blocking ads less often.

Most people benefit from not seeing ads. For those looking to give back to a publisher whose ads are blocked, Brave hosts its own ad network that you can choose to go with. In return for showing ads that don’t track your behavior, you’ll earn a revenue cut in the form of a token. You can then choose to give tokens to websites that you like. (Only web publishers partnered with Brave can receive tokens.)

I tested all three browsers on my iPhone and set them as the default browser for a few days.

All of them have a button to see how many trackers they blocked while loading a website. To test this out, I went to, the New York Post website, which was loading 83 trackers without tracking prevention. DuckDuckGo blocked 15 of the trackers. With Brave it was 22. And Firefox Focus blocked 47.