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Mozilla today launched Firefox 67 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The 10th release since Mozilla’s big Firefox Quantum launch in November 2017 doubles down on performance and privacy. Firefox 67 includes deprioritizing least commonly used features, suspending unused tabs, faster startup, blocking of cryptomining and fingerprinting, Private Browsing improvements, voice input in the Android search widget, and more.
Firefox 67 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. According to Mozilla, Firefox has about 300 million active users, making it a major platform for web developers to consider.
Firefox 67 is better at performing tasks at the optimal time, resulting in faster “painting” of the page. Specifically, the browser deprioritizes least commonly used features and delays set Timeout to prioritize scripts for things you need. Mozilla says Instagram, Amazon, and Google searches now execute between 40% and 80% faster. Firefox also now scans for alternative style sheets after page load and doesn’t load the auto-fill module unless there is a form to complete.
Next, Firefox 67 detects if your computer’s memory is running low (under 400MB) and suspends unused tabs. If you do click on a tab that you haven’t used or looked at in a while, it will reload where you left off.
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Finally, Firefox 67 promises faster startup for users that customized their browser with an add-on. Whether it’s a favorite theme or a popular ad-blocker, the browser now “skips a bunch of unnecessary work during subsequent start-ups.”
In August 2018, Mozilla announced Firefox would block trackers by default. That is an ongoing effort (see Firefox 63 and Firefox 65). As part of the crackdown, Mozilla wanted to tackle cryptomining, which uses your CPU to generate cryptocurrency for someone else, and fingerprinting, which builds a digital fingerprint that tracks you across the web. The company started testing options to block cryptomining and fingerprinting in April, and now they’re ready.
Firefox 67 lets you “flip a switch” to protect yourself from either or both. You can access this 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. Select Custom and check “Cryptominers” and/or “Fingerprinters.”
Next, Private Browsing, which doesn’t track your history and deletes cookies when you close the browser window, is getting two new features: Saving Passwords and support for add-ons/extensions. Other browsers already do this, so Firefox is playing catch-up here.
The former means you don’t have to type in passwords each time you visit a site. Registering and saving passwords works just the same as in normal mode.
The latter lets you enable or disable extensions in Private Browsing. When you install an extension, Firefox will ask you if it should be allowed to run in Private Browsing (the default is Don’t Allow). For extensions that have already been installed, go to the Add-Ons menu to enable or disable them for Private Browsing.
Windows, Mac, and Linux
In addition to all of the above, Firefox 67 for desktop brings a fully keyboard-accessible browser toolbar. Press the Tab key or arrow keys to reach the buttons on the right end of the toolbar. That includes extension buttons, the toolbar button overflow panel, and the main Firefox menu.
Mozilla is also shipping a WebRender update to Windows 10 desktop users with Nvidia 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.
Firefox 65 added support for AV1, the royalty-free video codec developed by the Alliance for Open Media. Firefox 67 uses the newer, higher-performance AV1 decoder dav1d. Mozilla says that 11.8% of video playback in Firefox Beta already uses AV1.
Here’s the full Firefox 67 for desktop changelog:
- Improved performance thanks to lowering priority of setTimeout during page load, delayed component initialization until after start up, painting sooner during page load but less often, and suspending unused tabs
- Users can block known cryptominers and fingerprinters in the Custom settings of their Content Blocking preferences.
- Keyboard accessibility has improved in the latest version of Firefox. Toolbar and toolbar overflow menu are both fully keyboard accessible: keyboard users can now access add-ons, the downloads panel, the overflow, Page actions and Firefox menus, and much more.
- Private Browsing can now save passwords let you choose which extensions to exclude.
- A toolbar menu for your Firefox Account has been to provide more transparency for when you are synced, sharing data across devices and with Firefox.
- Tabs can now be pinned from the Page Actions menu in the address bar
- Firefox will highlight useful features (like Pin Tabs) when users are most likely to benefit from them.
- Easier access to your list of saved logins from the main menu and login autocomplete.
- The Import Data from Another Browser feature is now also available from the File menu.
- Run different Firefox installs side by side.
- Firefox will now protect you against running older versions of the browser which can lead to data corruption and stability issues.
- Firefox is upgrading to the newer, higher performance, AV1 decoder known as ‘dav1d’
- WebRender is gradually enabled by default on Windows 10 desktops with Nvidia graphics cards.
- Enable FIDO U2F API, and permit registrations for Google Accounts.
- Some users will see experiments with an improved Pocket experience in Firefox Home with different layouts and more topical content.
- Various security fixes.
- Firefox no longer supports handling webcal: links with 30boxes.com.
- Change to extensions in Private Windows: Any new extensions you add to the browser won’t run in Private Windows unless you allow this in the settings.
- Users will no longer be able to upload and share screenshots through the Firefox Screenshots server. Users who want to keep existing screenshots need to export them before the server shuts down in the coming months.
- Included Twemoji Mozilla font updated to support Emoji 11.0.
- Font and date adjustments to accommodate the new Reiwa era in Japan.
- The DevTools Changes panel now supports copying modified CSS. You can either copy the full changes or individual changed rules.
If you’re a web developer, you’ll want to get more details here: Firefox 67 for developers.
Firefox for Android isn’t getting as many features as the desktop version, but it is still getting a notable feature. The search Android widget now supports voice input:
Here’s the full Firefox 67 for Android changelog:
- A new Firefox Search widget with voice input can be added to the Android home screen from the Android Widget section.
- CSS Viewport-compat — Firefox for Android’s mobile viewport behavior is now aligned with other browsers, resolving known compatibility issues with websites.
Mozilla releases new Firefox versions every six to eight weeks, and Firefox 68 is currently slated for early July.
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