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Search history is private anyway, websites don't see it, so I dont see how not saving search history is a privacy benefit. Why does Tor not save history?

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It's not a benefit for privacy, you're correct! But it's a stealth component. The Tor Browser is not just a tweaked Firefox ESR. Basically, all the tweaks - even the odd ones, are governed by the following vectors:

  • Privacy - to prevent data leaking in any form like the data itself, location, cookies, e.t.c.
  • Melting - like in "I, Robot" movie, every instance of Tor browser is supposed to be "One of Us", indistinctable and unfingerprintable as good as possible. This feature comes with the price like missing features that are completely ripped off the code, so you can not enable them in any way.
  • Stealth - The case that a malicious party such as a criminal, especially a police, obtaining the physical access to device used for anonymous surfing. So - in this case - the history stored can be a death sentence for some people using this browser, so that's why it is not stored.

If you need a regular browsing - just use a virtual machine with a regular browser patched through Tor - and you will be just fine! Tor Browser is made like a swiss kinfe for a wide audience, so that's why it is as it is

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