Firefox 84 Brings M1 Mac Support

Posted on December 15, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Mozilla Firefox, Mac and macOS with 14 Comments

Mozilla has released the latest version of its flagship Firefox web browser, which, among other things, adds support for M1-based Macs.

“Native support for macOS devices built with Apple Silicon CPUs brings dramatic performance improvements over the non-native build that was shipped in Firefox 83,” the Firefox 84 release notes explain. “Firefox launches over 2.5 times faster and web apps are now twice as responsive.”

If you’re already using Firefox 83 on an M1-based Mac, you will need to follow Mozilla’s instructions to upgrade to the new version. (Basically, you just need to make sure you quit Firefox 83 before installing.)

Firefox 84 also includes WebRender, Mozilla’s hardware-accelerated rendering engine, with compatibility on macOS Big Sur, Windows 10 PCs with Intel 6th-generation GPUs, and Intel laptops running Windows 7 and 8. It also uses more modern techniques for allocating shared memory on Linux, improving performance and increasing compatibility with Docker. And it’s the final Firefox release to support Adobe Flash.

You can download Firefox from the Mozilla website.

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Comments (14)

14 responses to “Firefox 84 Brings M1 Mac Support”

  1. sammyg

    The rate at which apps are being ported is crazy.

    My mini is supposed to be here on the 21st. Only apps that I use that are not ported are Teams, Secure CRT and PaloAlto Global Protect VPN client. Oh and Edge.

    • j5

      In reply to sammyg:

      I'm so tempted to get one of the new Mac Minis...but Dad's wants come after wife and kids during Christmas lol.

      I'm thinking January of February I'll order one.

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to sammyg:

      It might seem crazy, but is it really? Apple sent out dev kits like 6 months ago. Chrome and Firefox have been running on ARM-based Chromebooks and Linux SBCs forever. Microsoft has been working on Office for ARM forever. Porting to M1 is not really a stretch.

    • crunchyfrog

      In reply to sammyg: I just got the new M1 Mini late last week. I think you'll love it. It runs so much cooler and quieter, it's amazing. I think Rosetta needs some work though, many video related softwares seem to be slow to launch or not run any faster than my old i5 Mini.

  2. Scsekaran

    Firefox 84 for Windows on ARM is also available for a while

  3. wright_is

    In reply to lvthunder:
    My guess is Office for Windows is a completely different code base then the Mac version.

    It always has been, since the late 80s. That is one of the reasons why there are so many compatibility issues and why Outlook for Mac has always been the unloved step-child, when it comes to feature completeness.

    I used to have to create presentations for my boss. Then he switched to Mac and started complaining that the text had disappeared or moved. It turned out that the Mac version of PowerPoint had different minimum border values for text inside objects and what displayed perfectly in Windows disappeared on the Mac. He also called me incompetent, because Outlook for Mac didn't do certain things he was used to doing, "I've been doing that for 20 years, don't tell me it doesn't work!" Yes, 20 years on Windows, but Microsoft's own devs stated that the feature wasn't implemented and there was no plan to ever implement it in Outlook for Mac. I showed him Microsoft's official statement and I was still incompetent!

    Thankfully, I now have a much better, less stress filled job!

    When Apple switched from PowerPC to Intel, it took Microsoft years to switch, because a lot of Excel, for example, was written in assembler for speed. They had to completely re-write much of the functions layer of Excel from scratch! It looks like, during the re-write, they accepted some performance loss to not get caught in the same situation again.

    • crunchyfrog

      In reply to wright_is:I had a boss like that at one time. He blamed me for the corporate email server going down. Of course it was a server that I had no access to. Much better off these days I am happy to say.

  4. crunchyfrog

    Funny, I just updated to 84 this morning and there's no mention of M1 support in the What's New blurb from the browser. Had to dig into the main site to find it.

  5. richardbottiglieri

    Here's what was surprising to me: the M1 native Firefox performs neck and neck with M1 native Chrome in benchmarks. Safari is still the fastest on the Mac, but Firefox is a viable alternative on the Mac. They've made huge strides in performance and resource consumption over the past year. Good stuff!

    Personally, I prefer to use Safari or Firefox on the Mac, and if I need a Chromium for compatibility with a website, I use Edge. I've taken Chrome off of my Macs entirely. Check out this site for why and how you might want to do that:

  6. rmac

    Up until recently I've always used Edge and Chrome for my primary web development work, but recently I've been using Firefox and think it's streets ahead. Really nice, clean interface for developing flexbox and css grid. Subgrid is there too, well ahead of the pack.