I love how our smartphone screens have gotten larger over time. But I also dislike that I’ve got to rely on two hands to use the screen. That makes web browsing painful. Performing a search feels awful on most major browsers. That's why Opera Touch comes across as a blast of fresh air.
Available on both Android and iOS, Opera Touch has been designed from the ground up to make interacting with webpages using just your thumb a breeze. It works super-fast, carries minimal bloat, and the insanely intuitive Fast Action Button (FAB) makes other browsers look dumb in comparison.
But the FAB aside, there are a host of other features that you can use to super-charge your browsing experience. Let’s go over them.
1. Start Using My Flow
The ability to continue your browsing on your PC or Mac isn’t a novel idea thanks to features such as Continue on PC and Handoff. But Opera Touch’s My Flow does it best. And you don’t even need an Opera Account to start using the feature. So no excuses to skip out on it.
Hook up your phone and PC by scanning the QR code displayed on the desktop Opera browser. Once you are done, you can easily push out any web page that you are currently viewing using the My Flow icon within the FAB or address bar.
And not just that, but you can send individual items such as images or videos as well. Perform a long-press over any item that you want to share, and then tap Send * to My Flow. Cool.
And the same can be done via your desktop — items sent will show up within the left-most tab within the Home screen of Opera Touch. You have to try it out to see it in action. It’s just that smooth and makes things ‘flow’ between your mobile and desktop.
2. Block Pesky Advertisements
Certain sites are nearly unusable due to the numerous advertisements that they throw at your face. But rather than having to do anything crazy to disable them (like with Chrome for iOS), all you’ve got to do is enable the built-in ad-blocker that comes along with Opera Touch.
Head over to the Opera Touch Settings panel, and simply turn on the switch next to Ad Blocking. Neat stuff.
3. Change Default Search Engine
By default, Opera Touch uses Google Search, which is the best at pumping out relevant search results, but at a cost to user privacy. So, can you do anything about it? Yes, you can.
The browser comes built-in with eleven other search engines that you can easily switch to. Head into the Opera Touch Settings panel, and then tap Default Search Engine to switch among them.
For example, DuckDuckGo and Qwant are terrific when it comes to preserving your privacy, so don't forget to give them a spin.
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4. Stop Crypto-Miners
Did you know that shady websites can highjack your device to mine cryptocurrency using your smartphone's processing power? The result — sluggish performance and a rapidly draining battery life. You really don't want that to happen.
Thankfully, Opera Touch comes with a built-in anti-cryptocurrency mining module. Just enable the Cryptocurrency Mining Protection switch within the browser's Settings panel, and you should be good.
5. Preserve Your Privacy
Using a search engine such as DuckDuckGo works in your favor when it comes to preserving your privacy online, but what if you are concerned about the data that's recorded locally? Yes, you can just delete it (tap Clear Browsing Data within Settings), but the process isn't the most convenient since you need to sign back into sites and such.
That's why Opera Touch packs in a Private Mode. Switch to it, and your activity won't be kept around for anyone else to stumble upon.
To switch to Private Mode, bring up the Opera Touch menu, and then tap Private Mode. Alternatively, you can also open any link that you come across in Private Mode by long-pressing it and selecting the Open in Private Tab option.
6. Go Dark
Opera Touch looks fantastic. And unlike other browsers, the theme isn't too bright as to blind your eyes. But dark mode aficionados can still switch to a dark theme at any time — turn on the switch next to Dark Theme from within the Settings panel to do that.
It’s not a full-fledged dark mode since web pages continue to render normally. The rest of the browser, including the onscreen keyboard and Settings menus, are rendered in a terrific shade of black.
If you use an iPhone or Android with an OLED display, the darker pixels can also help you save battery life. One more reason why you may want to switch themes.
7. Get Rid of Cookie Dialogs
Privacy laws are good. But when you have to tap on a stupid cookie dialog box in just about every site that you visit, it doesn’t bode well for your overall browsing experience.
And that’s where Opera’s integrated cookie dialog blocker comes into the picture. Enable it via the Settings menu, and you won’t see a cookie dialog box, ever.
And the best thing about the feature is that rather than just hiding the box, you can also configure the browser to agree to the cookie storage requests. A neat implementation since certain sites will fail to work properly unless you accept.
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8. Save Your Favorite Sites
Rather than being a full-fledged browser, Opera Touch’s primary aim is to provide a great single-handed experience. And that means it's drastically devoid of certain features, with bookmarking left out.
That said, you can still save your favorite sites or pages for a quicker access by 'starring' them. To do that, just open the Opera Touch menu, tap the star-shaped icon, and then tap Add. And you can find the site or page within a special Starred section of the main Home screen in Opera Touch.
Not as convenient as dedicated bookmarking functionality, but a fine alternative nonetheless.
9. Disable Top Sites
The Opera Touch Home screen features a mish-mash of preset and frequently-visited sites. If you don’t find the feature to be all that useful, consider disabling it to allow your starred sites and pages to take prominence.
Within the Opera Touch Settings, just turn off the toggle next to Top Sites and you won't see them anymore.
10. Translate Foreign Languages
Opera Touch really isn't bare-bones as you might think. Access any foreign website, and you can translate it quite easily. Open the website in Opera Touch, and then tap Translate when prompted to make that happen.
And you can also change the default language that Opera translates your web pages into as well (the default being English). Within the Opera Touch Settings, tap Translate Language, and then select your preferred language.
11. Switch to Desktop Mode
Sometimes, mobile sites just won’t work well, and are quite limited in the functionality that they offer. Loading the desktop version instead can save the day, and it's pretty easy to do that with Opera Touch.
Just tap Desktop Site within the Opera Touch menu, and the browser should relaunch the site in desktop mode immediately.
To switch back to mobile view, uncheck the Desktop Site option within the Opera Touch menu once again.
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I'm delighted to see how well Opera Touch is designed from a practical usability point of view. It’s seamless controls and simplistic nature just makes me want to use it. But obviously, I can’t consider it a complete replacement since it lacks many advanced features found in other web browsers — password management tops that list.
Regardless, it feels great to know that I can have a buttery-smooth browser at my beck and call for those moments when all I really want to do is to just surf. Kudos, team Opera!
Next up: Chrome for iOS is as close as it gets to Opera Touch in terms of single-handed browser controls. If you want to tame Google’s behemoth, do check out our tips and tricks guide.