Mozilla today launched Firefox 65 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The release brings simplified Content Blocking controls for Enhanced Tracking Protection, WebP image support, AV1 support on Windows, and the usual bug fixes and improvements.
Firefox 65 for the desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play.
According to Mozilla, Firefox has about 300 million active users. In other words, it’s a major platform that web developers must consider.
Across all platforms, Firefox can now handle Google’s WebP image format. WebP supports both lossy and lossless compression and promises the same image quality as existing formats at smaller file sizes.
Windows, Mac, and Linux
Firefox 65 for desktop brings redesigned controls for the Content Blocking section to let users choose their desired level of privacy protection. You can access it by either clicking on the small “i” icon in the address bar and clicking on the gear on the right side under Content Blocking or by going to Preferences, Privacy & Security, and then Content Blocking.
Mozilla added basic Tracking Protection to Firefox 42’s private browsing mode in November 2015. It blocked website elements (ads, analytics trackers, and social share buttons) based on tracking protection rules laid out by the anti-tracking startup Disconnect. With the release of Firefox 57 in November 2017, Mozilla added an option to enable Tracking Protection outside of private browsing. (Tracking Protection isn’t on by default because it can cause websites to break, as well as cutting off revenue streams for small websites and content creators who depend on third-party advertising.)
In August, Mozilla announced Firefox would block trackers by default, but the details are still being worked out. Firefox 63 arrived in October with Enhanced Tracking Protection, blocking cookies and storage access from third-party trackers, which Mozilla says targets the problem of cross-site tracking without breaking sites and impacting revenue streams like the original Tracking Protection.
Firefox 65 gives users three ways to more finely control this blocking feature:
- Standard: The default, where Firefox blocks known trackers in Private Browsing Mode. In the future, this setting will also block third-party tracking cookies.
- Strict: For people who want a bit more protection and don’t mind if some sites break. This setting means Firefox blocks known trackers in all windows.
- Custom: For those who want complete control to pick and choose what trackers and cookies they want to block.
- Trackers: You can choose to block in Private Windows or All Windows. You can also change your block list from two Disconnect lists: basic (recommended) or strict (blocks all known trackers).
- Cookies: You have the following four choices to block – Third-party trackers; Cookies from unvisited websites; All third-party cookies (may cause websites to break); and All cookies (will cause websites to break).
Next, Firefox now supports AV1, the royalty-free video codec developed by the Alliance for Open Media. AV1 improves compression efficiency by more than 30 percent over the codec VP9, which it is meant to succeed.
Lastly, Firefox’s new Task Manager page (just navigate to about:performance or find it under “Other” in the main menu) is complete. Introduced in Firefox 64, Task Manager now reports memory usage for tabs and add-ons.
Here’s the full Firefox 65 for desktop changelog:
- Enhanced tracking protection: Simplified content blocking settings give users standard, strict, and custom options to control online trackers. A redesigned content blocking section in the site information panel (viewed by expanding the small “i” icon in the address bar) shows what Firefox detects and blocks on each website you visit.
- A better experience for multilingual users: An updated Language section in Preferences allows users to install multiple language packs and order language preferences for Firefox and websites, without having to download locale-specific versions.
- Support for Handoff on macOS: Continue browsing across devices. Pick up where you left off with iOS (via Firefox or Safari) on Firefox on Mac.
- A better video streaming experience for Windows users: Firefox now supports the next-generation, royalty-free video compression technology called AV1. Read about Mozilla’s contribution to this new open standard.
- Improved performance and website compatibility, with support for the WebP image format: WebP brings the same image quality as existing formats at smaller file sizes, which saves bandwidth and speeds up page load.
- Firefox for Windows is now available with 32- and 64-bit MSI installers for easier enterprise deployments.
- Enhanced security for macOS and Linux users via stronger stack smashing protection which is now enabled by default for all platforms. “Stack smashing” is a common security attack in which malicious actors corrupt or take control of a vulnerable program.
- Firefox will now warn you when closing a window (regardless of whether you have automatic session restore enabled for restart).
- Easier performance management: The revamped Task Manager page found at about:performance now reports memory usage for tabs and add-ons.
- Improved the pop-up blocker to prevent multiple pop-up windows from being opened by websites at the same time.
- Additional support for Flexbox: Launched a new Flexbox inspector tool that details Flexbox containers and helps debug Flex item sizes.
- All CSS changes made in the Rules panel are now tracked in the new Changes tab.
- Added support for the Storage Access API on desktop platforms.
If you’re a web developer, more details are available for you here: Firefox 65 for developers.
There are no major new features in this Firefox for Android release. But you can expect performance improvements, better security, and bug fixes.
Here’s the full Firefox 65 for Android changelog:
- Improved performance: Scrolling is faster and more responsive.
- Improved performance and web compatibility, with support for the WebP image format: WebP brings the same image quality as existing formats at smaller file sizes, which saves bandwidth and speeds up page load.
- Enhanced security for Android users via stronger stack smashing protection enabled by default for all users.
- Restored Chromecast controls to the menu.
Mozilla releases new Firefox versions every six to eight weeks, and Firefox 66 is currently slated for mid-March.