How to Install Tor on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android

Onion that looks like the Tor logo next to a browser that says "Installing"
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How to Install Tor on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android: A Quick Guide

To install Tor on your PC or Mac, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to the Tor Project’s download page, and download the appropriate installation file for your operating system.
  2. Follow the steps on the screen to install Tor if you’re on Windows.
  3. For macOS users, simply copy the installation package into the Applications folder.

But beware! The dark web is dangerous, and it’s always better to protect yourself with a VPN. We recommend NordVPN, as it offers a variety of enhanced features for maximum anonymity.

It not only adds a layer of additional security to your digital footprint but also because of its “Onion Over VPN” feature, that routes your traffic through another server and connects you to the Tor network, all in one click.

If you’re looking for a detailed step-by-step plan on how to install the Tor browser on Windows, macOS, Linux (Ubuntu), or Android, check out our full article down below.

The Tor browser is one of the greatest privacy solutions for browsing the web anonymously. The Onion Router (its full name) guides your traffic past at least three tor relays (servers) spread out all over the world. This way, it becomes close to impossible to trace your data traffic back to you, greatly increasing your privacy. Of course, it’s also the main gateway to the dark web.

In this article, we’ll explain how to download and install Tor on different devices and operating systems. Furthermore, we’ll go over how to use Tor safely to maximize your anonymity online.

How to Download and Install Tor on Your Operating System – A Step-by-Step Guide

Below, we will explain the Tor installation process for all of the systems it supports: Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android. Simply scroll to your operating system to get the steps.

Installing Tor on Windows

Step 1: Go to the Tor Project website and click on the Tor browser download button in the top right corner of your screen (as shown below).

Tor installatie download button

Step 2: You’ll find yourself on the download page. Select the first icon from the left to download the installation file for Windows. If you want to download the browser in a specific language, you can click “Download in another language or platform.” This will allow you to download the Tor browser in one of 35 alternative languages.

Screenshot of a Tor browser download options for different OS

Step 3: A file will be downloaded onto your computer. Opening this file will start the process and install the Tor browser. Choose your preferred language, then press “OK.”

Tor language

Step 4: The Browser Setup will appear. Choose the destination folder (usually you don’t have to change anything here, and the installer will automatically create a new folder for it) and press “Install.”

Tor install

Step 5: During the installation process, you can opt for Tor to start automatically once you’re done installing it. If you choose not to, you’ll have to open it yourself by looking up the program.

Install the Tor browser on Mac

Step 1: Navigate to the Tor Project website and click on the button that says “Download Tor Browser.”

Tor installatie download button

Step 2: You’re now on the Tor download page. Here you can select your operating system or click on “Download in another language or platform,” in case you want to use Tor in a language other than English. Click on “Download for macOS” to download the right Tor installation package for macOS.

Screenshot of a Tor browser download options for different OS

Step 3: After the download is complete, open the installation file. Now simply drag the Tor browser icon that appears to the application folder.

Tor browser drag instructions

Step 4: Go to your Mac’s Launchpad to locate the Tor browser and open it. It will probably ask you if you’re sure you want to open it because applications downloaded from the internet can be harmful. Click on “Open.” You can now start using the Tor browser to connect to the Tor network.

Install the Tor browser on Linux (Ubuntu and all Debian-based distributions)

Rather than installing Tor on a Linux device ourselves, we used external sources to gather information and curate it for our readers. You can follow the steps below to install Tor on Linux-based operating systems.

Step 1: Go to your Linux terminal to update a Linux installation. To do this, simply enter the following command: “sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y”. Now hit enter, fill out your user password, and hit Enter again. Refer to the screenshot below in case of any doubts.

KST Virtual Machine screenshot of how to update Tor on Linux

Step 2: Now download the Tor installation file for Linux, by going to this page and clicking on the Linux icon (second from the right).

Screenshot of a Tor browser download options for different OS

Step 3: Once the download is complete, click on it to open it. Now you’ll have to extract the Tor browser. Do this by right-clicking on the file that’s appeared and selecting “open with Archive Manager.” Now select the file and click on “Extract.”

Tor browser extract button on Linux

Step 4: To finalize the extraction, select the location where the files should be extracted. Then, simply click on the “Extract” again.

Step 5: Now you’ll have to register the Tor browser as an app. To do so, go to the terminal again and use it to locate the Tor browser, by first choosing the right folder(s) and then typing in the exact name of the Tor browser as it appears in the console or as it appeared after extraction.

Refer to the screenshot below to guide you through this process. Now type in the following command and press enter: “./start-tor-browser.desktop –register-app” The Tor browser is now registered as an app and ready for launch. You should find it under your apps in Linux.

KST Virtual Machine screenshot of how to register Tor on Linux

Installing Tor on Android

Fortunately for our privacy-minded netizens who are on the go a lot, Tor is also available for Android. To install the Tor browser on your Android device, just follow the steps below.

Screenshot of Tor Browser, install app

  1. Go to the Play Store.
  2. Type in “Tor” in the search bar. The Tor browser should come up. Check out the number of downloads to make sure you’ve got the right one. It should have over 10 million downloads.
  3. Click on “Install.”
  4. Allow the app to open itself if you want to use it already.
  5. Click on “Connect” to start using the Tor browser on Android.

How to configure and connect to Tor

The first time the browser opens (on desktop), you’ll see the message shown below. In most cases, you can just clickConnect” and get started.

However, if you are currently in a country that actively censors Tor (such as Turkey, China, or Egypt), then it’s best to click “Tor Network Settings” first. The software will help you configure your browser so you won’t be bothered by your country’s online restrictions as much.

Screenshot of a Connect to Tor window with Tor Network Settings option highlighted

Once you’re done configuring, press “Connect“‘ and your Tor browser will open. While it’s setting up a connection, you can choose to have it connect automatically whenever you open the browser.

Screenshot of Establishing a Connection, Always connect automatically option highlighted, Tor browser

Once Tor sets up a connection to the Tor network, your traffic on the browser is secured, and you can use it freely. You can find more information within the Tor browser on their official website.

Screenshot of a Tor browser interface

Using Tor Safely

Tor is a great browser for anonymous and unrestricted access to the internet. After all, it allows you to visit the dark web! However, greater freedom does come at the cost of increased risk. There are a lot of pages on the dark web that are perfectly fine to visit, but, like the rest of the internet, there are also a lot of scamsCybercrime also runs rife on the dark web.

Moreover, the dark web is not nearly as regulated and well-trodden as the surface web, because it’s more or less assumed the “everyday internet user” isn’t really to be found on such sites. Therefore, protecting your anonymity when visiting the dark web is critically important.

Because of the above, we recommend using a few safety precautions. These are measures that we recommend to everyone, but even more so if they intend on using the Tor network for access to the dark web.

1. Use reliable antivirus software

First off, we recommend using good and reliable antivirus software. Remember, the fact you’re using Tor means you’re more anonymous. It doesn’t necessarily offer any protection against malware and viruses. Moreover, if you happen to visit the dark web, you might come across some rather nasty malware at some point.

2. Get a good VPN

Secondly, we strongly recommend using a good VPN as well. After all, a VPN will route your data through an additional server that your data traffic is routed through, making you even more anonymous. Also, a good VPN will provide you with yet another layer of high-quality encryption, protecting your digital footprint even more.

A great VPN we recommend for use with Tor is NordVPN. This VPN offers great encryption protocols, servers in 59 countries, and a very useful “Onion Over VPN” option. The latter allows you to connect to a NordVPN server and the Onion network with just one click.

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Lastly, regardless of the measures you’ve taken to stay safe, take extra care with links on the dark web. Never click or navigate to a link you don’t trust. Or better yet, avoid navigating to links you don’t know. The dark web links look very different from links on the surface web.

They are just a bunch of seemingly random numbers and other characters since these links do not use public DNS to resolve. As such, it’s much more difficult to know where a link will take you and if a site is safe.

Therefore, we recommend checking out the Hidden Wiki if you’re interested in visiting the dark web. This is a directory that contains many different dark web links and also explains where those links will take you.

Always Protect Yourself When Visiting the Dark Web

Now that you know how to install the Tor browser on your device, you can explore everything it has to offer. Please do so with caution, however, especially if you’re intent on visiting the dark web. If you want to know more about the data that your device or browser is leaking, you can also use our free online anonymity tool to figure it out.

How to Install Tor on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android: Frequently Asked Questions

Have you got a specific question about installing Tor? Check out our FAQ down below to see if we’ve already answered your question. Simply click on a question to see the answer. If your question is not there, simply leave us a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

The exact installation procedure for Tor differs per device and operating system. But, as a general rule, you should first go to the Tor project download page to download the right installation file, if you want to use Tor on desktop, and to the Google Play Store if you want to install Tor on Android. For a detailed, step-by-step installation guide for your operating system, check out this article.

Installing Tor on Windows is quite easy and straightforward. You simply go to the Tor Project’s download page, click on the Windows icon (first from the left), and then follow the installation steps. Then you either connect straightaway to the Tor network, or you’ll have to configure some options first. For a detailed installation guide and information on the first-time configuration of the Tor browser, read this article.

In the overwhelming majority of countries, using Tor is absolutely legal. The issues usually arise when people start using Tor for illegal activities, because of the strong anonymity it provides. Nevertheless, there are some countries that actively block Tor. Some examples include Russia, Iran, and China, with the latter being the most successful in blocking Tor.

Tech journalist
Nathan is an internationally trained journalist and has a special interest in the prevention of cybercrime, especially where vulnerable groups are concerned. For VPNoverview.com he conducts research in the field of cybersecurity, internet censorship, and online privacy. He also contributed to developing our rigorous VPN testing and reviewing procedures using evidence-based best practices.