The Tor network is a type of distributed network where users can navigate and communicate completely anonymously. This network has been prepared to establish secure connections from a computer, however, with the rise of mobile technologies it is now possible to connect to this network also from an Android smartphone or tablet thanks to the Orbot tool.
Install and configure the Tor proxy
The first thing we must do is install Orbot, a free and ad-free application that has everything you need to configure your device to navigate through this network. We can download this application without any cost from the Play Store.
Once downloaded and installed the application is executed and we will see a small initial configuration wizard. The first thing that will ask us is if we want the application to have root permissions. This is useful so that the app can internally configure all proxies and all Android settings automatically to ensure maximum security. If we accept root permissions the system will be automatically configured and all connections will be “twisted”, otherwise, we must download and install specific and specific applications so that our communications can travel encrypted and secure.
If we accept root permissions, we will continue with the wizard and ask if we want all applications and all connections to travel through Tor or only redirect those that we specifically want.
Before finalizing the tool, it will recommend a series of applications developed to work more safely with Orbot, which by default are already configured and do not require any intermediate action on the part of the users.
Once the assistant is finished, we will be ready to start navigating through the Tor network.
How to start and stop the Tor proxy
Once we have finished the initial assistant we will see the main window of the proxy that, by default, will be deactivated.
To start the proxy, we must hold down the button that appears in the center of the screen and automatically change the position of the arms indicating that the connection is being established.
If everything is connected automatically the arms of the icon will be up and we will be able to see a message that indicates that we are indeed connected to this network.
Before surfing safely we must check that everything is working correctly, otherwise our privacy could be compromised.
Check if our connection travels through the Tor network
At the top of the Orbot window we can see an icon with the shape of a world ball. Click on it and we will see an option called “Check browser”.
Click on it and our browser will open, which will connect to the TorProject main website and we will be able to know if the connection is traveling through these anonymous proxies or, otherwise, something does not work and the information travels in a conventional way.
What to do if the connection does not work?
If doing the previous test tells us that we do not navigate through the Tor network it is probably because the application has not configured the system components well (due to problems with root permissions, for example). To be able to navigate safely through this network we must use any of the applications that you indicated during the additional configuration wizard to force them to use the proxy of our Android, for example: