Use Tinfoil for Facebook to protect your privacy on Android

Skip the official apps for Facebook and check out this privacy-focused one instead.

Nicole Cozma
Nicole Cozma has an affinity for Android apps and devices, but loves technology in general. Based out of the Tampa Bay Area, she enjoys being a spectator to both sunsets and lightning storms.
Nicole Cozma
2 min read

The Facebook app and its Messenger counterpart have been met with a lot of criticism from users. Among the reviews, you'll find complaints about permission settings and the lack of features in each app when compared to the mobile Web UI.

As an alternative to these apps, a recent post on Lifehacker recommends that you check out Tinfoil for Facebook. The developer, Daniel Velazco, refers to this app as "a wrapper for Facebook's mobile site," but it's much more useful than it sounds. Behind the scenes, Tinfoil creates a sandbox for all of Facebook's cookies, storing them independently from your normal browser cookies. This keeps your information from being leaked and tracked across other websites. Here's how to get started:

Step 1: Install

Grab a copy of Tinfoil for Facebook on the Google Play Store. It's free!

Tinfoil for Facebook slide-out menu. Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 2: Adjust the settings

Before using the app, you may want to tweak a few settings. Slide out the menu on the right-hand side of the screen and tap Preferences. Check the box next to Open links inside the app for additional sandboxing of your cookies (this should probably be a default). The rest of the settings are up to you: toggle the ability to check-in, block images, force a specific version of the site to load, or add a proxy.

Tinfoil for Android settings. Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 3: Extra precautions

Lifehacker's post reminded readers that the Tinfoil sandbox only works in one direction. If you're logged into other services (like your Google account), Facebook can use the data in those cookies to track your habits off its website. Ultimately this means that you'll need to logout of other services before opening Tinfoil for Facebook.

Note: Some users may have issues sharing photos through Tinfoil, but according to the developer, this occurs on Facebook's end as a result of testing features in waves.

(Special thanks to Neil Lund, who also suggested this app.)