DuckDuckGo opens its privacy-centric Mac browser to beta testers

The company says it can automatically clear those irritating cookie consent pop-ups on many websites.


DuckDuckGo has revealed something it says its users have been requesting for years: a desktop browser. It will be available on Mac first, and a Windows version is coming in the near future. Until now, the only browser DuckDuckGo offered was on mobile.

As you might expect from a DuckDuckGo product, privacy is at the forefront. The browser uses DuckDuckGo's search engine by default, and the Smarter Encryption feature will make sure you use the encrypted HTTPS version of websites more often. There's a tracker blocker, email protection and the company's famed Fire Button, which closes all tabs and wipes your browser data with a single click.

In-app data such as your history, bookmarks and passwords are by default only stored on your system. You can import your bookmarks and passwords from some other browsers and password managers.

DuckDuckGo Mac browser

DuckDuckGo says the browser will do away with many of those annoying cookie consent popups as well. It can clear them for you on certain sites by automatically rejecting as much cookie tracking as possible. This feature will be available for around half of all websites at the outset. DuckDuckGo says that figure will grow during the beta period.

In the privacy feed, you'll be able to see which sites tried to track you. There's the option to clear stored data from certain websites and to return to recently viewed pages, albeit with some extra privacy protection. DuckDuckGo claims its Mac browser is fast, too. It uses the same built-in rendering engine as Safari and blocks trackers before they load.

The Mac browser is in an invite-only beta. To sign up for the waitlist, either download the DuckDuckGo mobile app or update it to the latest version. From the "More from DuckDuckGo" menu in settings, select DuckDuckGo for Desktop and tap "Join the Private Waitlist." You'll eventually receive a notification with an invite code and link to snag the browser on your Mac. The process is a little unusual, but, appropriately enough, you won't have to provide any personal details.