Mozilla Begins Rolling Out New Firefox for Android

Posted on August 25, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile, Mozilla Firefox, Web browsers with 13 Comments

Mozilla has begun rolling out a completely redesigned version of Firefox for Android that offers a new UI, features, and customizations. It’s available today in Europe and will be available in North America beginning August 27.

“Like we did with our ‘Firefox Quantum’ desktop browser revamp, we’re calling this release ‘Firefox Daylight’ as it marks a new beginning for our Android browser,” Mozilla’s Vesta Zare announced. “Included with this new mobile experience are lots of innovative features, an improved user experience with new customization options, and some massive changes under the hood.”

Here’s what’s new.

Enhanced Tracking Protection. The new Firefox comes with Enhanced Tracking Protection on by default Stricter protections are available to users who want to customize their privacy settings, the firm notes.

Private mode. Now easily accessible from the Firefox for Android home screen, the new Private mode takes the best features from Firefox Focus and takes them mainstream. “Users have the option to create a private browsing shortcut on their Android home screen which will launch the browsing app automatically in the respective mode and allow users to browse privately on-the-go,” Mozilla says.

New user interface. The new Firefox for Android UI is cleaner, easier to user, and easier to customize; you can even choose whether the URL bar appears at the top or bottom of the screen.

Collections. This feature helps users return to frequent tasks, share across devices, personalize one’s browsing experience, and stay more organizated. “Collections may come in handy when organizing and curating one’s online searches based on type of activity such as kids, work, recipes, and many more,” Zare says.

Picture-in-Picture. Videos can be played in a floating window that can appear over other app or other browser tabs.

Dark mode improvements. Firefox for Android now lets you toggle between Light and Dark Themes automatically or just following the system-wide setting.

Extensions improvements. A new Recommended Extensions program begins with a collection of the top 9 add-ons for enhanced privacy and user experience, and Mozilla says it will keep adding more add-on choices going forward.

Internal improvements. Under the hood, Firefox for Android benefits from improved performance, and it utilizes Mozilla’s GeckoView rendering engine, not Google’s Blink. “This allows us to have complete freedom of choice when it comes to implementation of standards and features,” the firm claims. “This independence lets us create a user interface that when combined with an overall faster browsing pace, enables unprecedented performance. Also, it protects our users if there are security issues with Blink as Firefox will not be affected.”

You can find Firefox for Android in the Google Play Store.

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Comments (13)

13 responses to “Mozilla Begins Rolling Out New Firefox for Android”

  1. longhorn

    Most important anti-feature: It now only supports 9 extensions. Previously you could install basically any extension from Firefox Add-ons site.

    It's ridiculous that removing basically all extensions from mobile Firefox is described as "Extension improvements".

    I lost my extensions so I installed Brave instead which has better privacy by default. I think "about:config" is gone from Firefox 79 on mobile as well.

  2. sevenacids

    Sorry for the wording, but this release really sucks. The major downsides with this release:

    • You can no longer use about:config
    • You can no longer customize the start screen (it's fixed to collections now)
    • Therefore, favorites are harder to reach
    • Tabs are no longer closed when you close the app and there is no option to turn that off
    • Available settings in general are very rudimentary
    • You can't even set a homepage

    It's nice to have a dark theme now, but IMHO the old UI worked pretty well and I don't see why they had to change almost everything about it. I'll revert to the old version via APK for now. It's really a step backwards. Current ratings on the Play Store reflect that, too.

  3. Pbike908

    I look forward to checking it out. I especially like URL at the bottom as I like to use my phone with one hand.

    I currently use Samsung's browser. No URL at the bottom, however, the navigation buttons are down there. I am hoping the the new version will have the opting for navigation buttons at the bottom, as I think the last time I checked that wasn't the case.

  4. elhieger

    I don’t understand how Firefox is private when they use Google AdMob.

  5. waethorn

    This has been an abject failure for a long time. The prior version was horribly unstable, not even able to resize on ChromeOS. This new update is probably just as bad.

  6. ZeroPageX

    Uh oh. "New UI" and "redesigned" are always scary terms. This is the only mobile browser I use since it supports extensions. Lots of early reviews are bad, citing lack of extension compatibility, instability, and unintuitive and inconsistent UI. I thought they were sticking to the Chromium model for extensions? I guess I'll find out how good or bad it is soon enough.

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