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Onion Browser

An open-source, privacy-enhancing web browser for iOS

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Help & Support

The browser is stuck: links don't work & typing in an address doesn't do anything.

Try force-quitting the app and opening it again.

(The way Tor is is implemented in this app can conflict with the way iOS handles "sleeping" apps. This problem sometimes happens when the phone goes to sleep or if you go to another app and then come back.)

The app is stuck on “Connecting…”

Try force-quitting the app and opening it again.

(Your network provider may be blocking connections to Tor. If you are an advanced Tor user and would like to try using "bridge" nodes to access Tor: see the "Using Bridges" section below.)

Can I use this to access <Netflix, Pandora, BBC streaming, other streaming service, etc.>?

No. These services generally require using a dedicated app (instead of a web browser) to access streaming content on mobile devices. Using Onion Browser to access these streams is not currently supported.

How do I access <Silk Road, BlackMarket, other hidden service, etc.>?

Due to the secrecy of these sites and the semi-random “.onion” domain name, it is often hard to know the address of the site you’re looking for and if the site you’re going to is the real deal or if it’s a fake.

But I’m not a qualified directory for “.onion’ websites and likely don’t use the hidden website you are asking about. For what it’s worth, Onion Browser does come with several built-in bookmarks that I’ve selected and some of these do contain links to a variety of ".onion" sites, curated by folks around the internet. “The Cleaned Hidden Wiki” and “Reddit /r/onions” are both good places to start.

Searching the internet (via DuckDuckGo or Google) or checking Wikipedia (for more prominent sites) will be your best bet.

I'm having trouble accessing <name of hidden service>.

First make sure your iOS device is updating it's time automatically (Settings→General→Date & Time→Set Automatically), since connections to .onion sites require accurate system time.

Second, try accessing another hidden service — such as the hidden service for the Onion Browser website (tigas3l7uusztiqu.onion/onionbrowser) or the hidden service for the Tor Project website (idnxcnkne4qt76tg.onion) — to see if it's an issue with the hidden service you're trying to use. If you can connect to other services, the one you are trying to access may be down. As mentioned the Tor Help Desk Roundup in this post, "Hidden services are solely under the responsibility of their operators and they are the only one that can do something when a hidden service goes offline."

Still having issues? Have other issues?

A list of known issues and “work in progress” future features can be found on the GitHub bug tracker. If you have a GitHub account, you can report issues over there, too.

For questions, glaring concerns, or compliments you can also contact the developer directly.

I give up. Can I get a refund?

If you contact the developer directly, it could help help solve your problem or at least bring to light a new issue in the app. If that still doesn't work out for you, you may be able to request a refund from Apple. (Refund requests must go to Apple, since your AppleID is what provides payment in the first place.)

iTunes technically states "all sales final", but you can submit a request to Apple Support by opening iTunes on your computer and following the instructions here. Alternatively, on any device:

Note that there is no guarantee that Apple will provide a refund in every case and any other AppleID-related issues should go to Apple iTunes Support.

Using Bridges

In a nutshell, bridges allow you to connect to Tor via unpublished relays — if you are in an area where Tor traffic might be blocked, this might help with connection issues. (Note, networks and countries that block Tor via deep packet inspection will still render the app unusable.) For more information, read the Tor Project's documentation on bridges.

Onion Browser has a (very rough) interface for configuring the use of Tor bridges. There are two ways to access this menu:

How to configure bridges:

  1. Visit https://bridges.torproject.org/ and complete the CAPTCHA on the page. You will then see a page (like the image below) that contains several "bridge lines". Write this down somewhere or keep this page on-hand somewhere. (If you have trouble with this page and have a GMail or Yahoo e-mail address, you can follow the alternative instructions on that page to receive "bridge lines" via e-mail.)
  2. Open the Bridges menu as per the bullet points above.
  3. Tap "Edit" to and then the "+" sign to add a line to this menu.
  4. Tap the item you just created to edit it.
  5. Go back to the "bridge lines" you got in Step 1. For the first "bridge line", copy the address and port portion of the line — basically everything after the word "bridge" into the text box.
  6. Press "Done". Repeat steps 3-5 for each "bridge line" you got. The result should be something like the following screenshot. Press "Back". Restarting the app is optional but highly recommended to make sure you are actually using the newly-configured bridges.

If you find that the app gets stuck at "Connecting..." and it did not before, go back to the bridges menu, double-check your work, and then restart the app. If this still happens, remove all bridge lines and then restart the app.