New Alpha Release: Tor Browser 13.5a7

by richard | April 30, 2024

Tor Browser 13.5a7 is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory.

This version includes important security updates to Firefox.

We would like to thank the folowing community members for their contributions this release:

If you would like to contribute, our contributor guide can be found here.

Letterboxing Improvements and Bug Fixes

This release contains more tweaks and bug fixes related to the updated letterboxing UI and associated back-end systems. As described previously, in about:preferences#general one may now configure some aspects of the letterbox behaviour, including whether the content area floats in the center of the window or is snapped to the browser chrome at the top. We also implemented a somewhat hidden feature which will allow you to remove the extra spacing when you resize the window by double-clicking within the letterbox gutter area. This will snap the whole window down to the size required by the content.

Please continue to exercising this feature and filing bugs if you find any issues!

Localisation Updates

We have continued migrating our localisation pipelines from the legacy 'dtd' to the new 'fluent' format. Please report any localisation issues or missing translations you may find!

Japanese Locale on macOS Weirdness

The technical specifics around our Japanese localisation on macOS are a bit peculiar (if you've ever peaked at our release+packaging scripts for macOS, you know what I mean). Therefore, this platform+locale combo has historically had interesting problems which go undiscovered for awhile since nobody on the team can read Japanese and few of us use macOS as their daily driver. If there are any Japanese-reading macOS users out there, we would definitely appreciate any localisation-related bug reports you can provide!

Native Android Connect-Assist

We have continued improving our connect-assist implementation on Android. We have fixed the problems which prevented bridge-settings from sticking (tor-browser#42486) and continued work bringing this native Android UI up to feature-parity with desktop. We have also been updating the Tor-related settings and have added the ability to the view the Tor logs after bootstrapping.

Please give the new systems a go by navigating to Settings > Connection > Enable beta connection features and toggling Enable beta connection features and selecting Native Android UI. We expect to reach feature parity with Desktop over this next release cycle, at which point both the legacy frontend (and its eccentric backend) as well as the stop-gap HTML-based frontend will be removed.

Connect-Assist Backend Work

As mentioned in the previous section, we have been iteratively improving the connect-assist backend code which is used on both Desktop and Android. If you are Desktop user we would appreciate you verifying that your bootstrapping experience is unchanged between releases, particularly if you have any custom configuration or settings.

WebTunnel + Lyrebird Pluggable-Transport Fusion

Tor Browser ships with a number of pluggable-transports (PTs) which allow users to connect to the Tor network by disguising their traffic. Up until this released, we have shipped the lyrebird, snowflake, conjure-client, and webtunnel-client PTs, each of which implement support for at least one bridge type (such as obfs4).

For historical reasons, each of these PTs are developed in Go. The problem with that is that (to summarise) Go applications ship with all of their dependencies baked into their binaries, rather than depending on 3rd party libraries. As a result, Go binaries typically are a bit bigger than you would expect given the functionality they may provide.

This is a reasonable thing to do in some contexts. Unfortunately, Tor Browser for Android has a hard application size budget it has to stay within in order to be accepted to the Google Play Store, about 100 megabytes.

To help keep Tor Browser for Android within this budget, Tor's Anticensorship team built a version of the Lyrebird PT which also includes the WebTunnel PT's functionality. As a result, from 13.5a7 onward, WebTunnel bridges will be handled by Lyrebird, and the WebTunnel PT is no longer necessary!

Nothing should have changed from an end-user perspective (apart from a smaller binary size) and WebTunnel bridges should continue to work as they always have. If this is not the case, please file an issue!

Send us your feedback

If you find a bug or have a suggestion for how we could improve this release, please let us know.

Full changelog

The full changelog since Tor Browser 13.5a6 is:


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