DuckDuckGo’s privacy-focused Mac browser is now available for public beta testing

DuckDuckGo is rolling out its web browsing app for Mac users as an open beta test. Designed for privacy, the app was announced back in April as a closed beta, but is now available for all Mac users to try before its official public launch.

The desktop browser includes the same built-in protections we’ve seen already featured in DuckDuckGo’s mobile apps, combining DuckDuckGo’s search engine, defenses against third-party tracking, cookie pop-up protection, and its popular one-click data clearing ‘Fire Button.’

Some additional features have been added to the browser (version 0.30) since its original announcement. Now users can try Duck Player, a feature that protects users from targeted ads and cookies while watching YouTube content. Ads viewed within the Duck Player will not be personalized, which DuckDuckGo claims actually removed most YouTube ads as a result during testing. YouTube will still register your views, but content watched through Duck Player won’t contribute to your YouTube advertising profile.

Pinned tabs and a new bookmarks bar have been included to address feedback from early beta testing, as well as a way to view your locally stored browsing history. DuckDuckGo’s Cookie Consent Pop-Up Manager is also available which works on about 50 percent of sites (with more to come) to automatically choose the most private option and spare users from the annoying pop-up messages. The app also lets you activate DuckDuckGo Email Protection on the desktop to better protect your inbox with email tracker blocking.

An improvement has also been made to DuckDuckGo for Mac’s tracker blocking. While the browser already blocked ads that use invasive tracking before they even load, the browser will now also clear the distracting whitespace left behind by those missing ads, giving users a cleaner workspace without the need for a more dedicated ad blocker.

DuckDuckGo for Mac is based on the WebKit rendering engine used by Safari, which the company claims allows it to use “about 60 percent less data” than Chrome. If you’re tempted to give it a whirl, you can import bookmarks and passwords from your existing browser into the DuckDuckGo for Mac beta, with additional password protection provided via the integration of Bitwarden, an open-source password manager. Bitwarden users will be able to activate this feature within the DuckDuckGo browser settings in the coming weeks. DuckDuckGo for mac already supports 1Password’s universal autofill feature.

DuckDuckGo affirmed that a Windows version of the application is still in development and is currently being tested in an early friends and family beta. A private waitlisted beta is “expected in the coming months.”