SnowHaze iOS Browser

SnowHaze iOS Browser

As most readers here know, I have a somewhat tepid relationship with alternative internet browsers for iOS. I think Safari can be made reasonably private and secure (especially when coupled with Firefox Focus). For users who want maximum security from their browser, however, I have another recommendation. I have recently fallen for the SnowHaze iOS browser.

One of the developers at SnowHaze reached out to me and asked my if I’d heard of the product and gave me a few details. I admit to some inital skepticism. His pitch convinced me to check it out so I paid a couple of bucks for it and installed it. After almost a month of using it I’m convinced that this is a seriously secure browser.

SnowHaze iOS Browser Settings

The browser allows the user really granular control which is something I appreciate. On most browsers (like the Safari/Focus combo) settings are all-or-nothing. Either you enable JavaScript for everything or nothing. Not so with SnowHaze, but first let’s look at the global settings. To access the settings simply click the settings icon in the lower-right of any open tab. The menu (shown below) will open and give you access to a huge array of privacy and security options.

SnowHaze iOS BrowserI won’t explain each setting because they are self-explanatory. Tapping any setting will open up its options, as well as a lengthy, plain-English explanation of what each setting does. This is rarely seen and a feature that I really like. As an example, for the “Allow JavaScript” setting SnowHaze explains:

Turning this option on enables JavaScript content. You may want to turn this off to protect your privacy when surfing in an unsafe environment. Note that some sites my not be displayed properly when JavaScript is disabled.

My favorite feature is not the control you have from the settings menu, however. The SnowHaze iOS browser gives you the flexibility of URL whitelisting. On any page you visit you can tap the shield icon in the URL bar (the color of the shield itself is indicative of the site’s overall security – another cool feature). This will bring up a small flyout menu with the options to Allow JavaScript, Block Canvas Access, Save History, Block HTTP Referrers, Block Tracking Scripts, Allow Popovers, and Block Ads. I really love that I can setup the sites I visit on a regular basis without having to compromise security globally.

As if that weren’t enough, SnowHaze iOS browser also allows you to configure default behaviors for new tabs. In the tab switcher screen there is an additional menu icon in the lower left (it is shaped like three dots side-by-side). Tapping this will open a flyout that offers to let you Save Website Data, Save History, use Night Mode, and the options to use Search Suggestions, and enable JavaScript.SnowHaze iOS Browser 4

 

Downsides to SnowHaze

Like most things, SnowHaze is not perfect, and I do have some minor complaints. Please note that I have addressed all of these with the SnowHaze development team. The two biggest are:

Search Engine: Currently DuckDuckGo is not included in the default search engines. The SnowHaze development team responded to this saying that they are working on getting it into the browser ASAP.  In the meantime I have been using Startpage (which is beginning to grow on me).

Settings button placement: This is my biggest complaint and it’s a logistical one. Though I like that the global settings button is easy to locate, I don’t like that it is where the tab-switcher icon is in Safari. Though I have been working with SnowHaze for almost a month I still reflexively tap that spot to go to a different tab. Getting out of settings requires that I go to the opposite corner of the screen, a difficult on-handed task. After speaking with a developer from SnowHaze, the Global settings menu can be closed and you can return to the current tab by swiping to the right. Though this is a minor annoyance for me, I think these usability features are important for widespread adoption.

 

SnowHaze iOS Browser: The Bottom Line

Though I have a few complaints about the browser it is the best one I’ve yet seen for iOS. It has found a permanent home on my iPhone. Hopefully we will see this browser evolve. While we’re at it, hopefully we’ll also see iOS evolve to let us change the default browser from Safari. The SnowHaze iOS browser is available in the App Store for $2.99 and in my opinion is well worth it. For more information visit https://snowhaze.com/en/.

5 thoughts on “SnowHaze iOS Browser”

  1. How would you compare this to the free browser Brave for iOS? Brave integrates almost all of these features but for free and I am pretty sure they are open sourced as well.

    1. I have found no browsers on IOS that support profiles but this is as close as you can get since each tab is its own environment and cookies and other data are not global to all tabs. My biggest complaints are that there is no “Open in new tab” context option (copy the address then open a new tab and paste the address in), and the browser seems slow maybe because I have the option to attempt https first set. Overall I like the feature set which is like no other.

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