How to: Use Tor on macOS
Last Reviewed: March 29, 2019
This guide outlines how to use the Tor Browser on macOS.
Computer requirements: An Internet connection, a computer running a recent version of macOS
Versions used in this guide: macOS 10.14.4; Tor Browser 8.0.8
License: Free Software ; mix of Free Software licenses
Time required: 15-30 minutes
What is Tor? anchor link
Tor is a volunteer-run service that provides both privacy and anonymity online by masking who you are and where you are connecting. The service also protects you from the Tor network itself—you can have good assurance that you’ll remain anonymous to other Tor users.
For people who might need occasional anonymity and privacy when accessing websites, Tor Browser provides a quick and easy way to use the Tor network.
The Tor Browser works just like a regular web browser . Web browsers are programs you use to view web sites. Examples include Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Unlike other web browsers, though, the Tor Browser sends your communications through Tor, making it harder for people who are monitoring you to know exactly what you're doing online, and harder for people monitoring the sites you use to know where you're connecting from.
Keep in mind that only activities you do inside of Tor Browser itself will be anonymized. Having Tor Browser installed on your computer does not make things you do on the same computer using other software (such as your regular web browser) anonymous.
Getting Tor Browser anchor link
Open a browser like Firefox or Safari and go to:
If you are using a search engine to look for the Tor Browser, make sure that the URL is correct.
Do not use any other source, and if you are prompted to accept alternative HTTPS (SSL/TLS) security certificates, do not proceed.
Select the Apple download build icon:
If you are using Safari, the Tor Browser will start to download. In Firefox you will be asked whether you wish to open or save the file. For any browser, it is best to save the file first before proceeding. Select Save File and click the OK button.
This example shows Tor Browser Version 8.0.8, which was the most current version at the time this guide was published. There may be a more recent version of Tor Browser available for download by the time you read this, so please download and use the current version that Tor Project provides.
Installing Tor Browser anchor link
After the download is complete, you might get an option to open the folder where the file was downloaded. The default location is the Downloads folder. Double-click on the file TorBrowser-8.0.8-osx64_en-US.dmg
macOS will now verify that the application hasn’t been tampered with. You may need to go to Settings > Security & Privacy to approve the download of a third-party application.
Next, a window will open asking you to install Tor Browser by dragging it to your applications folder. You may do so now.
Tor Browser is now installed in your applications folder.
Using Tor Browser anchor link
To open Tor Browser for the first time, locate it in the Applications folder or in Launchpad.
After clicking on the Tor Browser icon, a window will open with a warning about the origin of the software. You should always take these warnings seriously and make sure you trust the software you want to install and that you got an authentic copy from the official site over a secure connection. Since you know what you want, and you know where to get the software, and the download was from the Tor Project's secure HTTPS site, click Open.
The first time Tor Browser starts, you'll get a window that allows you to modify some settings if necessary. You might have to come back and change some configuration settings, but go ahead and connect to the Tor network by clicking the Connect button.
A new window will open with a gray bar that illustrates Tor Browser connecting to the Tor network.
The first time Tor Browser starts, it might take a long time; but be patient, within a minute or two Tor Browser will open and congratulate you.
You will be greeted by the welcome screen.
Click on the globe in the top left corner to review a tutorial on how Tor works.
The tutorial explains how Tor circuits work and how they allow you to browse privately online.
Some features of a normal web browser can make you vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. Other features have previously had bugs in them that revealed users' identities. Turning the security slider to a high setting disables these features. This will make you safer from well-funded attackers who can interfere with your Internet connection or use new unknown bugs in these features. Unfortunately, turning off these features can make some websites unusable. The default low setting is fine for everyday privacy protection, but you can set it to high if you are worried about sophisticated attackers, or if you don't mind if some websites do not display correctly.
Finally, browsing with Tor is different in some ways from the normal browsing experience. We recommended reading these tips for properly browsing with the Tor Browser and retaining your anonymity.
You are now ready to browse the Internet anonymously with the Tor Browser.