Tor Browser 9.0 is the first stable release based on Firefox 68 ESR and contains a number of updates to other components as well (including Tor to 0.4.1.6 and OpenSSL to 1.1.1d for desktop versions and Tor to 0.4.1.5 for Android).
In addition to all the needed patch rebasing and toolchain updates, we made big improvements to make Tor Browser work better for you.
We want everyone in the world to be able to enjoy the privacy and freedom online Tor provides, and that’s why over the past couple years, we’ve been working hard to boost our UX and localization efforts, with the biggest gains first visible in Tor Browser 8.0.
In Tor Browser 9.0, we continue to build upon those efforts with sleeker integration and additional localization support.
Goodbye, Onion Button
We want your experience using Tor to be fully integrated within the browser so how you use Tor is more intuitive. That’s why now, rather than using the onion button that was in the toolbar, you can see your path through the Tor network and request a New Circuit through the Tor network in [i] on the URL bar.
Hello, New Identity Button
Instead of going into the onion button to request a New Identity, we’ve made this important feature easier to access by giving it its own button in the toolbar.
You can also request a New Identity, and a New Circuit, from within the [=] menu on the toolbar.
Torbutton and Tor Launcher Integration
Now that both extensions are tightly integrated into Tor Browser, they’ll no longer be found on the about:addons page.
We redesigned the bridge and proxy configuration dialogs and include them directly into the browser’s preference settings as well.
Rather than being a submenu behind the onion button, Tor Network Settings, including the ability to fetch bridges to bypass censorship where Tor is blocked, are easier to access on about:preferences#tor.
Tor Browser in its default mode is starting with a content window rounded to a multiple of 200px x 100px to prevent fingerprinting the screen dimensions. The strategy here is to put all users in a couple of buckets to make it harder to single them out. That worked so far until users started to resize their windows (e.g. by maximizing them or going into fullscreen mode). Tor Browser 9 ships with a fingerprinting defense for those scenarios as well, which is called Letterboxing, a technique developed by Mozilla and presented earlier this year. It works by adding white margins to a browser window so that the window is as close as possible to the desired size while users are still in a couple of screen size buckets that prevent singling them out with the help of screen dimensions.
Better Localization Support
If we want all people around the world to be able to use our software, then we need to make sure it’s speaking their language. Since 8.0, Tor Browser has been available in 25 languages and we added 5 locales more in Tor Browser 8.5. Today, we add support for two additional languages: Macedonian (mk) and Romanian (ro), bringing the number of supported languages to 32.
We also fixed bugs in our previously shipped localized bundles (such as ar and ko).
Many thanks to everyone who helped with these, in particular to our translators.
As usual when preparing Tor Browser releases, we verified that the build is bit-for-bit reproducible. While we managed to get two matching builds, we found that in some occasions the builds differ (we found this happening on the Linux i686 and macOS bundles). We are still investigating the cause of this issue to fix it.
If you find a bug or have a suggestion for how we could improve this release, please let us know. Thanks to all of the teams across Tor, and the many volunteers, who contributed to this release.