In case you weren’t aware, your Internet Service Provider (as well as other less than reputable parties), can monitor your every move on the internet. This means every website you visit, every file you download, it knows what you’re up to. Luckily, there is a tool available that can keep your online activities under wraps. It’s called the Tor Browser.
What is Tor?
The Tor network is a group of volunteer-operated servers that allows people to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. Tor’s users employ this network by connecting through a series of virtual tunnels rather than making a direct connection, thus allowing both organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy. Along the same line, Tor is an effective censorship circumvention tool, allowing its users to reach otherwise blocked destinations or content. Tor can also be used as a building block for software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features.
By making use of the Tor network, users can safely and privately navigate the web. We’ll warn you upfront that using Tor will slow your internet connection a bit, so using it for streaming and such probably won’t be a satisfactory experience. But for connections where privacy is a must, Tor is a great option.
Installing Tor on Your Mac
The easiest way to install the Tor software on your Mac is to download the Tor Bundle form the Tor website. Visit the Tor Bundle Download Page. The website should recognize that you are on a Mac, and offer up a link to click to begin the download. Just click that rather large purple button to begin the download.
After the download is complete, open the folder you downloaded the install app to, (likely your “Downloads” directory), and double-click the file to begin the installation.
Drag the TorBrowser icon to your Applications folder to install it. To run Tor, simply open your Applications folder, find the icon, and double-click it to run the app. You’ll likely be asked if you really want to open the app the first time you run it. Just click the “Open” button and the Tor Browser will load.
You’ll also be asked to modify some settings for the Tor setup the first time the app is run, but in most cases, no changes are needed, and you can just click the “Connect” button to connect to the Tor network. There will be a short wait as the app configures itself and connects to the network.
When the Tor Browser opens, you’ll see a message confirming you’ve correctly installed the Tor software. You can verify that everything is working correctly by clicking the “Test Tor Network Settings” link on this webpage.
A new page will display, congratulating you on having everything configured properly, and showing you what you IP address will appear to be to other parties. (It’ll be different from your real one. That’s part of the anonymity of Tor.)
You are now ready to browse the internet while enjoying the anonymity Tor provides. To get the most out of Tor, be sure to read the helpful tips the website offers for browsing with Tor. Quick tip, don’t expect all of your internet traffic to by protected by Tor, only the traffic passing through the Tor browser is protected. Be sure to keep that in mind.
For more tips and tricks that can help you make better use of your Mac, iOS device, Apple Watch, or Apple TV, be sure to visit the “How To” section of our website.