Is not saving history hurting Tor Browser retention rates?
The main unique value that Tor Browser provides is network privacy. But we also enable private browsing mode by default, which means history and passwords are not saved.
That's actually pretty inconvenient for a modern web browser. Every time the user starts Tor Browser, they don't get the convenience of Restore Session, auto-login, recent pages, history-based completion, importing user data from other browsers, and Sync. This issue was raised in Gallagher et al 2018
So, we could consider allowing users to open a "normal browsing" window, that retains history and passwords and even uses "Firefox Sync". They would still get the benefit of network privacy. Saved state could be locked behind a master password, or we could remind users to use whole-disk encryption.
My hypothesis is that this approach could help retain users and enable more users to use Tor Browser as their "main browser". But it would require an analysis of the pros and cons and a careful redesign. We also would need to fix all unpatched network privacy in normal browsing.
So in this ticket I'm proposing we analyze this idea: figure out the best possible design, and determine if the benefits outweigh the costs.