[FEATURE PROPOSAL] Sandbox in phone browser instead of apps

Can /e/ do this?

In addition to its high-performance and tightly integrated “native” applications, the Librem 5 phone will be able to run HTML5 (web) applications, which means common applications you use everyday will be available through the web browser. We plan to sandbox and isolate these applications from the OS, so the applications will not be able to have visibility into other running applications or have access to areas that you do not explicitly allow.


When I use Twitter Mobile in the /e/ browser for instance, can Twitter access some of my data? What is this sandbox browser thing really?

@cedricoola when ever we use any app like whatsapp, twitter even if we are on /e/ our information would be going via twitter and its servers. Ideally we should stop using these apps…easier said than done as most of our friends and family members continue to use them.
Here is an article which had some info on the data twitter keep about us https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/04/everything-twitter-knows-about-you-how-to-download-a-copy.html

On the sandbox browser thing - what librem mentions is they are creating an environment in which when we as users use any of these popular apps which on their OS our data will be sandboxed/ protected. Interesting and useful concept. This and more such innovations will definitely be in the long term goals for /e/ thanks for pointing it out.


TLDR: using a launcher bookmark gives you most of what you want in /e/. I would highly recommend using that feature if you want to use Twitter and similar sites instead of their apk/app.

With modern browsers like Chrome and Firefox on android you can “bookmark” pages to the launch screen of your phone. This is quite similar. Both will sandbox these sites and they will look like apps.

while nothing’s perfect, and there are a lot of details in how the sandboxes work (for example one site is not necessarily isolated at this level from another site), this does achieve a lot already:

  • twitter won’t have access to your phone’s data, only browser data like any website
  • twitter won’t have access to android’s functions (which is most of the issue - these real apps always list what you have installed, how often you use apps, etc. as much as they can gather basically. as a web page all this access is unavailable so they can’t mine much)
  • any security bug in the browser still have to bypass the browser sandbox and the android app isolation

Twitter is also a pretty decent html app, that is, it feels native when you use it in a web browser because it uses advanced caching methods that were built to make the web site feel native.


In addition to the above and alternative to alternatives (like FaceSlim, Twidere, and the like) there’s the app called WebApps Sandboxed Browser. Using one’s favorite browser is probably more comfortable though.
The dev also has an older app called GApps Browser whose function is to access Google sites in sandboxes.