What’s New in Hermit 16

A Full Browser + Incognito by Default

Hermit is now more than 5 years old, and it was time to do some much-needed improvements to its core. As you can see, we have been busy upgrading the app internals to prepare for the next few years of awesome new features.

Now that we’ve finished this time-consuming refactoring effort, we hope to bring you new features even faster than before. 👍

Older Versions

Hermit 15 — Search & Organize your Lite Apps

  • 🆕 New UI for main screen! The Search Bar is now available for easy access at the bottom, while lesser used features such as “Create a Lite App” and “Settings” are now at the top (instead of in bottom tabs).
  • 🆕 The “Tags” feature is now available to all Premium users (out of Early Access).
  • 🆕 Create a Lite App from anywhere: One click to create a new Lite App from any deep linked page from another Lite App via the Quick Settings menu.
  • ⚡ Several improvements to startup performance.
  • 🐞 New workaround for Google Play related issues experienced by some users.
  • 🐞 Fixes for Android 10 compatibility around Scriptlets & Fonts.

Hermit 14 — Better Native App Integration

  • 🆕 Tags! Organize your Lite Apps better with tags. Many ready-made Lite Apps are already tagged, and you can also define and use your own tags. This is an Early Access feature in Hermit 14. Send us your feedback!
  • 🆕 Grid View is now default for everyone, out of Early Access. Drag Lite Apps to re-order them in the grid. The list layout is now gone. To delete Lite Apps, open the Lite App, go to Settings, and pick Remove from the toolbar menu.
  • Keep Lite Apps in RAM longer: We heard from many of you that you would like to see Hermit Lite Apps stay in memory longer, so although a low limit helps Hermit work well on low-RAM devices, we’ve increased the size of saved state from 300KB to 800KB. Also, Lite Apps won’t be closed on pressing the Back button.
  • Open Native Apps: new privacy setting — Hermit can now open native apps with your permission if a Lite App asks for it.
  • Install Native Apps: new privacy setting — Hermit can now open Play Store with your permission if a Lite App asks for it.
  • Search Icon is now back in the toolbar! We heard from many of you that you preferred the one-click access to custom site search.
  • Renamed Customization to Settings everywhere to reduce confusion between the two.
  • 🐞 Correctly opens links from notifications and other sources passed to a Lite App.
  • ⚡ Switched from JobScheduler to WorkManager. Periodic tasks for checking notifications were not being correctly reinstated after restarting the phone.
  • ⚡ Removed the 5 minute sync interval frequency; it is not supported by JobScheduler or WorkManager, and will be clamped to a minimum of 15 minutes anyway.
  • 🆕 “Add Bookmark” button is now in the left navigation drawer, just below the list of bookmarks.
  • ⚡ When a site you browse to is blocked by the Ad Blocker, Hermit shows a message letting you know about it.
  • ⚡ Scriptlets are now inline in Quick Settings instead of on a separate screen.
  • 🐞 Added a button to open the Settings drawer from the standalone Reader App. Previously, you could swipe in from the right edge, but there was no hint that this was possible.
  • ⚡ Instead of showing a few ungrouped notifications, now all notifications over 5 from a single source are grouped together.
  • 🆕 Added support for downloading “blob:” URIs directly from the WebView. Fixes Voice Memos and other Lite Apps.
  • 🆕 Moved around a bunch of settings to better organize them. Check out the Settings for any Lite App.

Hermit 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4

  • 🎁 New Early Access Features
    • Custom User Agents
    • Print web pages to PDF or to a printer
    • Desktop Mode toggle in Quick Settings
  • 🎨 Reader Mode toolbar button instead of “pill” button
  • 🎨 Black is the new Orange! More subtle color scheme for the bottom bar
  • 🆕 Better tooltips
  • 🐞 Improvements to making purchases through the app
  • 🎁 Grid View & Searchbox for Lite Apps, now in Early Access!
  • 🎉 Scriptlets and Reader App available to all Premium users (out of Early Access)
  • Larger icons on launcher home screen
  • 🆕 Added Russian translation
  • 🆕 Updated Arabic translation
  • 🐞 Don’t automatically fetch notifications when a new Lite App is imported


  • 🎉 Unlimited Lite Apps without paying for Premium! We heard your feedback; now only certain features are Premium-only.
  • 🎨 New Material Design 2 Theming!
  • 🎁 Introducing the Early Access Program: Experience new features before everyone else.
  • 📜 Scriptlets: Like bookmarklets, but better. Exclusively available via the Early Access Program
  • 📖 Reader App: Read articles from any browser/app using Hermit’s article extraction technology. Exclusively available via the Early Access Program
  • 🆕 Instant Help Search: Type your question within the app to see relevant Help Articles instantly.
  • 🆕 Introduction Tutorial for our new users, because Hermit is a power-user app and many people weren’t sure how to use it.
  • 🆕 Full support for Android P.
  • 🆕 Download Manager integration now supports authentication, so you can download from Lite Apps like Gmail or Dropbox.
  • 🆕 New icon that blends the Hermit Crab look with the Lite Apps look. Let us know what you think!
  • ⚡ Third-party cookies will not be blocked by default, because it makes some sites not work correctly.
  • ⚡ Code cleanup after moving to Lollipop (SDK 21) and above.
  • 🐞 Fixed issue where display was sometimes being cut off in full-screen mode.


  • 🆕 New app icon! So many of you told us you loved the Hermit Crab, so it’s back!
  • 🆕 To comply with international law (European Union’s GDPR), we need to ask you to explicitly accept the Terms of Use to continue using the app. There are no changes to the actual policies.
  • 🆕 Use any External Download Manager for files, and change the filename before starting the download.
  • 🆕 Site Search is now accessible from the Quick Settings sidebar even in Frameless mode.
  • 🆕 Enable/disable Bookmarks without deleting them.
  • 🐞 WebView Fix for https://crbug.com/794020
  • 🐞 Fixed subtle bugs when creating Lite Apps with custom names
  • ⚡ Lots of internal updates for long-term stability


We’ve logged 249 commits (that’s a lot!) since the last version, including performance enhancements and bug fixes. Here are some of the highlights:

Free Forever Mode Improvements

  • 🆕 50% more Free Lite Apps! 3 instead of 2. Yeah, it’s just one more, but hey, that’s 50%!
  • 🆕 Any 3 Free Lite Apps: You can reorder your Lite Apps any time, as often as you want, to change which 3 are your Free Forever Lite Apps.
  • 🆕 Trial period is shown at the bottom, and dismissed permanently when either Free Forever or Premium option is selected.
  • 🆕 Clear visual indicator of which Lite Apps are available to use Free Forever without paying for Premium.

Night Mode

  • 🐞 Completely Rewrote Night Mode! First things first: we apologize that the previous implementation was buggy, and we completely re-wrote it. We invite you to give it a try again!
  • Dark Default Page Style: When switching for the first time to Night Mode, the default page style is automatically set to Dark. Previously, this required an extra step of changing the style manually.

Reader View

  • 🆕 Estimated Reading Time: When reading any article on the Web, Hermit automatically computes Estimated Reading Time and offers a quick shortcut to clean up the page and view it in Reader View, including fonts, formatting, and images.
  • Instant Reader View: Hermit reuses the same HTML that was downloaded for the page in your browser: this makes it instant, saves network costs, and includes JavaScript-generated content automatically.
  • Automatic AMP Redirection is no longer available: users encountered several navigation problems with AMP sites that did not configure their redirects correctly, and many AMP pages are broken in the wild, leading to a worse user experience than with the regular non-AMP page. We recommend Hermit’s Reader View as the recommended replacement, which works better for all pages (AMP and non-AMP).

New Customization Option!

  • 🆕 Screen Orientation can now be set for each Lite App separately. Prefer to use your music synthesizer in landscape mode? Or Google Maps Go with your screen flipped so that the charger cable can be at the top? Yep, Hermit can do that!

Usability & Visual Improvements

  • ⚡ Open links in browser directly (no Custom Tabs)
  • ⚡ New button in the main Lite Apps list to open the Customization UI directly.
  • ⚡ Animated progress bars, like in Firefox Focus.
  • ⚡ Remove support for the Create Content FAB. Users are getting confused, and it conflicts with any FAB that the actual site might want to show.
  • 🐞 Sorting Lite Apps handles upper-case/lower-case correctly.
  • 🆕 Better home screen when opening Hermit for the first time.
  • 🆕 Minor change to the icon: no more plus sign in the corner, to avoid confusion with Android Oreo’s Notification Dots.
  • ⚡ Rewrote networking code using OkHttp & RxJava: better error handling & performance.
  • 🐞 Material Design Preferences UI on Android KitKat.

Internal Improvements

  • ⚡ Supports Android Go devices!
  • 🆕 New TLDs (top-level domains) introduced in 2017 are now recognized correctly.
  • ⚡ Support for many more Atom & RSS Feed formats: RSS 0.9, RSS 0.91, RSS 0.92, RSS 0.93, RSS 0.94, RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0 & Atom 0.3.
  • 🐞 Switched to Google Support Library for In-App Billing.
  • ⚡ Set Lite App titles so they can be used by Tasker in the %WIN variable
  • 🐞 Brings back support for Notification Channels & Android Oreo, now that Google has fixed the bug that caused certain phones to crash.
  • 🐞 Fixed a memory leak related to the Blocked Ads counter shown in Quick Settings.
  • 🐞 Better error handling & stability fixes for WebView errors.
  • 🐞 Temporary work-around for bug introduced by Google in WebView, which broke back/forward navigation.


  • 🆕 Android O: The version has no name, but new features are coming. Hermit is ready for Android O!
  • 🆕 Notification Channels: Control every aspect of Lite App notifications through Android O’s centralized notification manager.
  • 🆕 New Shortcuts API: Sadly, on Android O, shortcut icons are no longer as pretty as they used to be, so read this first.
  • 🆕 Phishing and Malware Protection: If any malware sites manage to get through Hermit’s Ad & Malware Blocker (which is already very restrictive), then they will be automatically flagged by Google’s Malware Blocker (the same as what is used in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari). Read more about Privacy-Focused Blocking.
  • 🆕 Incognito Keyboard: Any URLs or queries you type will be marked as private by your keyboard. Form data won’t be saved either.
  • 🆕 Halo! Ciao! Now in Indonesian and Italian too.
  • 🆕 Cleaner Reader View: Large images at the top, cleaner text formatting makes it easier to read.
  • 🆕 BETA label: Easier to identify BETA builds & leave Beta if you see crashes or other instability.
  • 🆕 Alphabetical Sorting for Lite Apps.
  • ⚡ More aggressive caching for Web pages. Let us know how fast it feels!
  • ⚡ Release resources more aggressively when leaving a Lite App.
  • ⚡ Many internal changes in how Lite Apps are imported and exported (JSONObject → Gson).
  • 🐞 Fixed: Many crashes caused by Google Play Services by upgrading the library to a new version.
  • 🐞 Fixed: Drag-to-reorder bug in the list of Lite Apps and Bookmarks.
  • 🐞 Fixed: Keep screen on when playing full-screen videos.
  • 🐞 Fixed: Opening the keyboard in Full Screen mode no longer obscures content on the page.


  • 🆕 Web Monitors — track changes to any Web Page, e.g. Facebook Notifications
  • 🆕 Improved flow to add multiple Lite Apps at once: one-click for Lite Apps from Library, and many more options for Create Your Own (monogram, custom icon, colors, etc.)
  • 🆕 Auto Update all Lite Apps from the Hermit Library (no action required to get new features in individual Lite Apps)
  • 🆕 Allow sharing articles to native apps such as WhatsApp and SMS. (Note: installing new native apps is still blocked for your protection)
  • 🆕 Turn off notifications for a particular Lite App from the notification itself
  • 🆕 Option to sync feeds at 15 minute intervals. (Previous options included 5 minutes and 30 minutes)
  • 🆕 Premium users can hide the Help menu, Social Media link, and “Invite Friends” menu
  • 🆕 New setting to skip creating home-screen icons
  • 🆕 Splash screen is less splashy: no app name shown, only the icon
  • 🆕 More accessible sticky buttons in left drawer for Close, Customize, and All Lite Apps
  • 🐞 When a new version is available, don’t notify at every app launch, and show a clear message (say “New version available” instead of “What’s New”)
  • 🐞 Import Lite Apps from content:// URIs correctly on Android Nougat and above
  • 🐞 Reader View now correctly shows the hero image for all articles correctly
  • 🐞 Small fixes to URL editing code (applies to Feeds, Web Monitors, Bookmarks, Sharing, Search, and FAB)
  • ⚡ No more blank white page on Facebook when redirecting to an external site (Hermit resolves Facebook & Google redirects natively)
  • ⚡ Better article parsing for many more sites
  • ⚡ Improved start-up time due to lazy initialization, background database handling
  • ⚡ Merge Settings and About into a single screen with swiping to toggle between them


  • New Unlocker App: Hermit Premium can now be purchased via a separate Unlocker App.


  • 📖 Reader Mode: Read the Web the way you want: no ads, no navigation bars, no clutter.
  • 📰 Text Browser: Reader Mode in Hermit is not a dead end. Unlike many other browsers, you can switch between Reader Mode and Web Mode whenever you want.
  • 4 High-Contrast Color Schemes: White, Sepia, Dark, and Black (for AMOLED screens) — optimized for legibility.
  • 15 Hand-Curated Fonts, optimized for legibility of long texts.
  • 10 Font Sizes, for comfortable reading.
  • Brand New Text Extraction Engine: We looked around, but found none of the existing text extraction engines to be good enough, so we forked our own. Crux is optimized for performance on Android, preserves paragraph formatting & links, and extracts hero images and other metadata as well.
  • Maintain your position when reading articles linked from Facebook or Twitter: To keep your place when reading articles posted on Facebook, turn off the Block Popups setting from the Quick Settings panel and turn on “Open links in Lite App” from the Lite App Settings.


  • 🆕 Dark Mode: Reading in Hermit is now easier on the eyes at night.
  • 🆕 Custom Themes in Dark Mode: Pick your own theme to style pages.
  • 🆕 Quick Settings Tile on Nougat: Boss Key immediately closes all open Lite Apps.
  • 🆕 Launcher Shortcut Picker: Place your Lite Apps within your launcher in more places than before!
  • 🆕 Automatic AMP Redirection: Now enabled by default for all Lite Apps.
  • 🆕 Scroll to Top: With a new pill layout!
  • 🆕 Third-party cookies can be selectively enabled for sites that require it.
  • 🆕 Added Japanese translation.
  • 🆕 Improvements for pages that are not optimized for mobile: show in zoomed-out view, use text reflow.
  • 🐞 Keep Lite Apps in memory longer, don’t reload when going back to an already-open Lite App.
  • 🐞 Don’t reload the page when changing Quick Settings.
  • 🐞 If a feed is temporarily unavailable, don’t disable the feed entirely.
  • 🐞 Ensure that the sync frequency for feeds is honored in all cases.


  • Faster than Lite. Automatically load Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) instead of slow regular pages.
  • 🆕 Lite App Widget. Use with launchers that have buggy icon behavior.
  • 🆕 Find in Page
  • 🆕 New Button to close Lite App
  • 🆕 Replaced introduction slide show by feature tooltips.
  • 🆕 Create monogrammed icons (with your own choice of color) when a site does not have a high quality icon.
  • 🆕 Type theme colors as hex codes, without using the color picker.
  • 🆕 Change a Lite App’s URL after creating it.
  • 🆕 No need to type http:// before example.com when creating a Lite App.
  • 🆕 Ability to silence SSL warnings permanently.
  • 🆕 Now possible to have more than one Share Integration URL per Lite App.
  • 🐞 Fixed crash on Android Nougat when sharing Lite Apps.
  • 🐞 Fixed crash on Marshmallow when downloading files.


  • 🆕 Share your Lite Apps with other Hermit fans!
  • 🆕 Backup & Restore Lite Apps — even if you uninstall and reinstall Hermit.
  • 🆕 New icon & Facebook Page: Check out facebook.com/hermitapp
  • 🆕 Reorder Lite Apps and Bookmarks. Long-tap any Lite App, then drag and drop to re-order.
  • 🆕 Atom feeds supported for Notifications.
  • 🆕 Popup Blocker can be disabled to support Google Login to sites like Pocket.
  • 🐞 Removed the Customize button from the Lite Apps list, since many users were getting confused when the Lite App opened directly to the Customization view.
  • 🐞 Scroll the Floating Action Button out of the way when the user is browsing the Lite App.
  • 🐞 Don’t immediately disable a feed when it’s found to be temporarily broken.
  • 🐞 Group any notifications over 3 into a single grouped notification.


  • 🆕 Toggle JavaScript on or off per Lite App.
  • 🆕 Long-press the BACK button to kill a Lite App.
  • 🐞 Set the user agent for the WebView correctly.
  • 🐞 Handle customization changes involving multiple tabs correctly.


  • 🆕 Optimized for Android Nougat! (SDK 24)
  • 🆕 Multi-Window support: Watch videos while browsing your favorite sites, without waiting for those other apps to implement multi-window support.
  • 🆕 Zero permissions for usual usage: you only need to allow special permissions for special actions (e.g. location permission only when you want to check-in to a place, or camera/microphone when taking a phone or conducting a video call.)
  • 🆕 Lite App Specific Permissions: Stronger controls than Android Marshmallow permissions model.
  • 🆕 Scroll to Top button is now optional; turn it on or off from the Customize screen.
  • 🆕 Direct Share: Share content from any Android app directly to a Lite App. More configuration assistance coming soon.
  • 🆕 Create Content FAB: Configure your own URL for a FAB in every Lite App. More configuration assistance coming soon.
  • 🐞 Don’t attempt to fetch feeds or malware blocklists when offline.
  • 🐞 When text zoom is changed, save the shortcut immediately.
  • 🐞 New text hint in the searchbox when a Lite App has a search integration configured.
  • 🐞 Don’t vibrate with a default pattern if the user explicitly set it to a blank pattern.
  • ⚡ Performance improvements in the in-app billing implementation.
  • ⚡ Web Links to create new Lite Apps (via hermit.chimbori.com/create) open in Hermit by default.
  • ⚡ RAM improvements all over: several features optimized to use even less RAM than earlier.
  • ⚡ Improved startup performance: Hermit now starts up 1.6×—2× faster than earlier.


  • 🆕 Add a separate menu item under About to show the What’s New dialog.
  • 🆕 Allow deleting feed URLs created via the manifest.
  • 🆕 Changes to the Feature Tour: simpler instructions and detailed steps for how the user should use Hermit
  • 🆕 Copy URL & Share actions in the long-click menu for links in the WebView, and Share image for Images.
  • 🐞 If there was a problem fetching any feed, show a message in that Lite App the next time the user opens it.
  • 🐞 Automatically disable a feed if the server returns a 404, to avoid hammering the server.
  • 🐞 Return to the list of Lite Apps after creating a new Lite App.
  • 🐞 Improved startup performance: only does the basic tasks needed to get Hermit up and running as quickly as possible.
  • 🐞 Prevent NPE when trying to access ringtones on phones that don’t have a default.


  • 🆕 Ad Blocker. The most requested feature is now available. Free for everyone, no subscription fees, no root required, and the block list is updated regularly. 🙈
  • 🆕 Quick Settings Sidebar. Instant customization. Just swipe in from the right edge!
  • 🆕 Text Zoom. Set the text size for any Lite App, and Hermit will remember it.
  • 🐞 Completely re-written in-app billing code.
  • 🆕 Automatic update checking. Hermit can now show you within the app when an update is available.


  • 🆕 Customize the icon and name after creating any Lite App.


  • 🆕 Open links in Lite App, Load images & Do Not Track settings can be applied to individual Lite Apps separately, not globally to all apps.
  • 🆕 Handle native app installation prompts more elegantly (no more UNKNOWN_URL_SCHEME errors).
  • 🐞 On some Samsung phones, downloaded files were being downloaded to an internal directory.
  • 🐞 Show pull-to-refresh spinner when tapping on the refresh button.
  • 🐞 Better handling of screen changes: you should not see lingering toolbar icons from the previous screen.
  • 🐞 Allow certain resources to be loaded over HTTP from HTTPS pages. Fixes image issues with XKCD (SSL).
  • 🐞 SSL errors now generate a user warning before proceeding (Addresses Google Play warning).
  • 🐞 Icons are now larger than they used to be, while still following Material Design guidelines.
  • 🐞 Allow copying the Notification Feed URL after it has been auto-configured.


  • 🆕 Data Saver mode: Save-Data HTTP header
  • 🆕 Library uses SSL
  • 🆕 Download files to phone
  • 🐞 Crash seen only by Beta users when deleting icons.
  • 🐞 Open links in Lite Apps by default. Solves issues related to OAuth redirection.
  • 🐞 Silent notification sounds correctly supported
  • 🐞 Re-check aggressively with Google Play whether Premium has already been purchased