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Mozilla today launched Firefox 70 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Firefox 70 includes social tracking protection, a Privacy Protections report, new Lockwise features, and performance improvements on Windows and macOS.
Firefox 70 for desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. The Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play and the iOS version is on Apple’s App Store. According to Mozilla, Firefox has about 250 million active users, making it a major platform for web developers to consider.
Enhanced Tracking Protection
In August 2018, Mozilla announced Firefox would block trackers by default. Firefox 63 arrived in October with Enhanced Tracking Protection, blocking cookies and storage access from third-party trackers. Firefox 65, released in January, added Content Blocking controls with three options for the blocking feature:
- Standard: The default, where Firefox blocks known trackers and third-party tracking cookies in general.
- Strict: For people who want a bit more protection and don’t mind if some sites break.
- Custom: For those who want complete control to pick and choose what trackers and cookies they want to block.
Firefox 69 arrived in September with Enhanced Tracking Protection turned on by default. Third-party tracking cookies from over 2,500 tracking domains are blocked without users having to change anything.
With Firefox 70, Mozilla now also includes social tracking protection under the Standard setting. It blocks cross-site tracking cookies from sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Mozilla today estimated that Firefox has blocked more than 450 billion tracking requests since July 2 (some 10 billion every day). While this mainly happens in the background, Mozilla wants to give Firefox users more visibility into how they’re being tracked online.
Privacy Protections report
The free Privacy Protections report shows the number of third-party trackers, social media trackers, fingerprinters, and cryptominers that Firefox has blocked for you. To access your report, click the shield icon in Firefox’s address bar and then Show Report or click here.
“The industry uses dark patterns to push people to ‘consent’ to an unimaginable amount of data collection. These interfaces are designed to push you to allow tracking your behavior as you browse the web,” Selena Deckelmann, Mozilla senior director, said in a statement. “Firefox’s Data Privacy Principles are concise and clear. We respect your privacy, time, and attention. You deserve better. For Firefox, this is business as usual. And we extend this philosophy to how we protect you from others online.”
Additionally, the report includes Firefox Monitor, which lists data breaches and the number of unsafe passwords that may have been used in a hack. You’ll also get a brief look at the number of passwords stored with Firefox Lockwise.
When you create a Lockwise account, you’ll be prompted to generate a safe password. All generated passwords are automatically saved to your Firefox Lockwise account. Lockwise has also received an improved dashboard to manage your passwords. Click on the main menu button, hit “Logins and Passwords” and you’ll be able to search, sort, create, update, delete, and manage your passwords to all your accounts. Firefox Monitor will send you a notification if an account may have been involved in a data breach.
Windows, Mac, and Linux
Firefox 70 also shows a crossed-out lock icon for sites delivered via the insecure protocols HTTP and FTP. Additionally, the formerly green lock icon is now gray, “with the intention of de-emphasizing the default (secure) connection state and instead putting more emphasis on broken or insecure connections.”
Furthermore, Firefox 70 will strip path information from the HTTP referrer sent to third-party trackers. HTTP referrers can be leveraged to track you from site to site — companies collect and sell this data to third parties to build user profiles.
Privacy aside, Firefox 70 brings a few other notable improvements. WebRender is rolling out by default on Windows desktops with integrated Intel graphics cards. WebRender is Mozilla’s next-generation GPU-based 2D rendering engine meant to make browsing feel faster and smoother by moving core graphics rendering processes to the GPU.
On macOS, the performance gains should be even bigger. Compositor improvements are expected to reduce power consumption, speed up page load, and reduce resource use for video.
Here’s the full Firefox 70 for desktop changelog:
- The Privacy Protections report shows an overview, with details, of the trackers Firefox has blocked. It provides consolidated reports from Monitor and Lockwise.
- Social tracking protection, which blocks cross-site tracking cookies from sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, is now a standard feature of Enhanced Tracking Protection and visible under Privacy Protections.
- Lockwise for desktop: Create, update, delete your logins and passwords to sync across all your devices, including the Lockwise mobile apps and Firefox mobile browsers. Integrated breach alerts from Firefox Monitor, to alert you when saved logins and passwords are compromised in online data breaches. Complex password generation, to help you create and save strong passwords for new online accounts.
- WebRender rolled out to more Firefox for Windows users, now available by default on Windows desktops with integrated Intel graphics cards and resolution of 1920 x 1200 or less for improved graphics rendering.
- Compositor improvements in Firefox for macOS that reduce power consumption, speed up page load by as much as 22%, and reduce resource use for video by up to 37%.
- A standalone Firefox account menu for easy access to Firefox services like Monitor and Send.
- A message panel accessed from the gift icon in the toolbar that offers a quick overview of new releases and key features.
- When a website uses your geolocation, an indicator is shown in the address bar.
- The Developer Tools Accessibility panel now includes an audit for keyboard accessibility and a color deficiency simulator for systems with WebRender enabled.
- Inactive CSS: The Inspector now grays out CSS declarations that don’t affect the selected element and shows a tooltip explaining why and even how to fix it.
- The new DOM Mutation Breakpoints in Developer Tools allows it to diagnose when scripts add, remove, or update page content. This makes debugging of complex script interactions and dependencies a lot easier.
- WebExtensions developers can now inspect browser.storage.local data using the “Addon Debugging” Firefox Developer Tools.
- With new resource search in Developer Tools, you can quickly find resources based on their request and response data, including headers, cookies, and content.
- Various security fixes.
- Built-in Firefox pages now follow the system dark mode preference.
- Aliased theme properties have been removed, which may affect some themes.
- Passwords can now be imported from Chrome on macOS, in addition to existing support for Windows.
- Readability is now greatly improved on under- or overlined texts, including links. The lines will now be interrupted instead of crossing over a glyph.
If you’re a web developer, you’ll want to get more details here: Firefox 70 for developers.
Android and iOS
Firefox 70 for Android is a minor release. That’s because the Android team is mainly focused on Firefox Preview. The changelog is just two bullet points:
- You can now sign in to your Firefox account from the onboarding experience, as well as from your new tab page, connecting you to greater benefits that the Firefox family of services can offer.
- Resolved crash in “Welcome” screen.
Firefox for iOS also received an update today. If you’re like most iOS users, you’re on iOS 13 and you’ll want this Firefox update to match. The full changelog:
- Added “Clear all History” option to the history tab to let you clean the slate easily.
- Updates to onboarding screens, making it easier to start browsing quickly on first launch.
- Updated to the latest Firefox branding.
- iOS 13 updates to ensure users of the latest OS have a consistent experience.
- Added a “What’s New” item to the menu so you can learn about new features in the app.
- A number of bugs associated with XCode 11 changes, including a bug preventing text selection in some cases.
Mozilla releases new Firefox versions every six to eight weeks, and Firefox 71 is currently slated for early December. Next year, the company wants to release new Firefox versions every four weeks.
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