Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

How to use Brave’s tools to protect your privacy while browsing

A browser that really pushes security


Brave, which came out of beta last fall, is a browser with a difference. Aggressively anti-advertising, the Chromium-based browser strips sites of their ads while allowing users to opt in to its own set of anonymized advertising. It is also very open in its promotion of user privacy.

Deal with trackers

Brave provides a wide range of security settings that can be tweaked, depending on your concerns and how you need to balance privacy versus convenience.

It uses a feature called Shields to block most ads and the trackers they carry. The tool blocks third-party trackers and any ads that use third-party trackers by default, and makes the browser harder to recognize. You can block first-party cookies or ads manually.

Adjust your tracking settings

To adjust your Shields settings:

The process of fine-tuning your cookie settings is very much like that of Chrome, since Brave is also a Chromium-based browser:

Clean up your cookies

You can also clear your cookies along with other browsing data:

Fingerprinting and ad-blocking

Protection against fingerprinting is included as part of Brave’s toolbox and can be adjusted using the Shields feature in Advanced View. Called Device Recognition, there are three modes that you can use. The default is “Cross-site device recognition blocked” which, according to Brave, only permits first-party attempts at fingerprinting. “Device recognition attempts blocked” will stop all attempts at fingerprinting (which could cause problems with some sites), while “All device recognition attempts allowed” basically allows everything through.

While Brave automatically blocks third-party ads by default, it has also created its own ad strategy by offering what it calls Brave Ads, which appear as push notifications that you can engage with or dismiss. If you do choose to view one of these ads, you receive a token that you can use to “reward publishers and content creators,” according to the site directions.

If you want to participate, you can opt in to Brave Ads by clicking on the three-line menu in the upper right corner and then on “Brave Rewards.”

Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.