Mozilla today released Firefox 9.0 for iOS and updated Firefox Focus for Android. The iOS browser is getting tracking protection, improved sync, and iOS 11 compatibility. The Android privacy browser is getting tabs. You can download the former from Apple’s App Store and the latter from Google Play.
Mozilla doesn’t break out the exact numbers for Firefox, though the company does say “half a billion people around the world” use the browser. Firefox for iOS was released in November 2015 and has been steadily updated ever since. Firefox Focus for Android, meanwhile, only arrived in June, but it has also received some love.
This is the first time Firefox has offered tracking protection on iOS, and Nick Nguyen, vice president of product at Mozilla, notes that it’s finally possible “thanks to changes by Apple to enable the option for 3rd party browsers.” This essentially means iPhone and iPad users with Firefox and iOS 11 will have automatic ad and content blocking in Private Browsing mode, and the option to turn it on in regular browsing. This is the same feature that’s available in Firefox for Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as the same ad blocking technology used in Firefox Focus for Android and iOS.
The feature uses a blocking list published under the General Public License and based on the tracking protection rules laid out by the anti-tracking startup Disconnect. Anyone can view that open source blocklist over on GitHub.
Here’s the full Firefox 9.0 for iOS changelog:
- Tracking protection is now enabled in private browsing mode by default. Firefox will automatically block third-party trackers, which limits ads following you around the internet and increases browsing speed.
- Improved sync functionality between your mobile and desktop versions of Firefox. Update passwords, history, and bookmarks on mobile and access them on your desktop browser (and vice versa).
- Compatibility with iOS 11.
As for Firefox Focus for Android, Mozilla’s last update to that browser was in July. At the time, we wrote: “It’s great to see Mozilla listening to feedback, but the biggest feature request is still missing: tabs.”
So today Mozilla is delivering. “While simplicity is the name of the game for Firefox Focus, we’ve been listening to you and made the private browsing experience even better with the addition of multitasking support,” Nguyen explains. “This means users now have the ability to open multiple web pages at a time and easily switch between tabs in the same session.”
This was the one thing that was missing in this browser, and I’m looking forward to putting it to work.