Mozilla today updated Firefox Focus for Android and iOS with a handful of new features. Android users have gained Enhanced Tracking Protection, which lets you decide which publishers you want to share your data with, and Google’s Safe Browsing service, which protects you from various sketchy sites. iOS users have meanwhile gained support for search suggestions.
Firefox Focus offers privacy benefits and performance gains by blocking many web trackers, including analytics, social, and advertising. You can download the latest version of the company’s privacy browser now from Google Play and Apple’s App Store. The update follows a redesign of Firefox Focus that arrived in October.
Enhanced Tracking Protection
With the release of Firefox 63 in October, Mozilla introduced Enhanced Tracking Protection, a feature that blocks cookies and storage access from third-party trackers. Enhanced Tracking Protection blocks cross-site tracking without breaking sites and impacting revenue streams. It does this by preventing known trackers from setting third-party cookies — the primary method of tracking across sites — but still gives you the option to block all known trackers.
Firefox Focus was designed to offer a tracking-free browsing experience for both security and performance reasons. Now Firefox Focus on Android is getting Enhanced Tracking Protection to give users more choices.
You can choose to block no cookies at all (the previous default), all cookies, third-party cookies, or only third-party tracking cookies (the new default). The last option prevents cross-site tracking, meaning trackers can’t follow you across multiple websites, recording your online behavior and offering you the same products repeatedly. Blocking cookies can break some sites, so you can now add websites to the new Firefox Focus “allowlist,” which unblocks cookies and trackers for the current page visit.
Google’s Safe Browsing service
Google’s Safe Browsing service provides lists of URLs that contain malware or phishing content to Chrome, Firefox, and Safari browsers, as well as to internet service providers (ISPs). Google said in September 2017 that Safe Browsing protects over 3 billion devices.
Firefox Focus will now also benefit from Safe Browsing via in-browser security warnings. Firefox Focus will check URLs against Google’s constantly updated lists of unsafe web resources and provide an alert if you reach an unsafe site. You still get to choose whether to continue to the flagged site or not, but you’ll be making a more informed decision.
In October, Firefox Focus for Android gained search suggestions. The feature isn’t on by default, since Firefox Focus users may not want to share what they’re typing in the address bar with their search provider.
Firefox Focus for iOS is getting the same feature today. You can activate it by opening the app settings, clicking on Search, and selecting “Get search suggestions.”