TL;DR: When using 3rd-party web browsers (e.g. Firefox), how much does the OS (Android) know about the user's activities?

Most information on the internet about privacy-focused web browsers focuses on tracking protection. Similarly, narrowing down the search queries to Android mostly gives results about Android permissions. But there is one glaring omission which I never see addressed: what about the OS itself? So, my question:

  1. How much does Android itself know about what is going on in the browser app? I.e. which sites the user visits, what the user sees, clicks on...?

(...and, optionally:

1.1 Does it make any difference when using the browser's private mode or not?

1.2 Does it make a difference whether the device is running vanilla Android or one of the myriad vendors' customizations?)

In case the question is too broad, please consider specifically: Firefox / Android 12 / One UI 4.1 (Samsung).

  • "which sites the user visits": if DNS queries go through the OS, it always knows every site you visit. // "what the user sees": WindowManager is a framework service which always knows what's appearing on the screen. // "what the user clicks on": screen touches are passed to the apps by the OS. So the latter is always in a position to know what you clicked / tapped on. // Whether a ROM logs your activities or not, cannot be answered with certainty by the community. Jun 26, 2022 at 10:05
  • 1
    Thanks. I would readily accept this as an answer, actually.
    – zire
    Jun 27, 2022 at 15:45


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