Mozilla Releases Firefox 89 with Simpler New Design

Posted on June 1, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Mozilla Firefox with 17 Comments

Today, Mozilla released Firefox 89, bringing a simpler and fresher new design to the browser on desktop and mobile.

“Even though we’re in the web browser business, we know you don’t go online to look at Firefox, it’s more that you look through Firefox to get to everything on the open web,” Mozilla’s MJ Kelly writes in the announcement post. “In today’s major release, Firefox sports a fresh new design that gets you where you’re going online, fast and distraction-free. And since we’re all about privacy, we’re also expanding integrated privacy protections in Firefox, so you feel safe and free to be yourself online thanks to fewer eyes following you across the web.”

Here’s what’s new in Firefox 89.

Redesign. Firefox 89 sports a simple, modern, and efficient new design that should work well on PCs and devices of all sizes, with new icons and typography, and streamlined toolbars and menus.

Improved tabs. Tabs are now curved and float above the toolbar, a visual indicator that they can be grabbed and moved to a new location.

Notification improvements. This is reason enough to use Firefox: Notifications and alerts take up less space, non-essential alerts and messages have been removed altogether, and media autoplay is turned off by default.

Improved privacy protections. The Total Cookie Protection feature moves from the optional strict setting to always-on in private browsing. “This feature maintains a separate ‘cookie jar’ for each website you visit while browsing privately,” Kelly explains. “Any time a site deposits a cookie, Firefox locks it up in its own cookie jar so that it can’t be shared with any other website.”

Mobile improvements. Firefox for Android, iPhone, and iPad is now optimized with key actions now taking fewer steps for searches, navigation, and tab viewing.

You can download Firefox for Windows, Mac, and Linux from the Firefox website.

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Comments (17)

17 responses to “Mozilla Releases Firefox 89 with Simpler New Design”

  1. winbookxl2

    This is great, I truly enjoy the new design.

    • red.radar

      I agree. Usually I ridicule design based updates because they are low on function. However, this one is good and I am enjoying the fresh coat of paint.

      I guess there is something to be said for keeping form and function up to date.

  2. j5

    I really like the new layout! I kind of like the floating tabs. I've been using it for a day and I want to say the new looks more Apple than Safari does.

  3. hrlngrv

    I just updated to 89.0 under Linux, and it's more annoyance than useful.

    89.0 under Linux breaks a lot of the Reddit Enhancement Suite, not least keyboard shortcuts for formatting comments, that is, no more [Ctrl]+B for boldface, and the Big Editor isn't available. Since it'd be up to the RES team rather than Mozilla to fix this, I figure it'll be fixed soon enough.

    89.0 under Linux also fubars favicons. They no longer appear on most tabs. Since it'd be up to Mozilla to admit this was a mistake in order to have any chance of a fix, this may be permanent.

    Back to Waterfox.

    • hrlngrv

      Re favicons, Firefox 89 no longer supports Compact density. Switch to Normal density, and favicons reappear. However, Waterfox still supports Compact density, so I'll be using it for a while.

      If Mozilla's intent were to win back usage share, they may finally have lost me for good. If this increases Firefox usage, swell. If not, I doubt Mozilla developers are capable of even considering that looks may have no impact on Firefox usage, rather that what truly distinguished Firefox was all the PITA UI customizability that XUL provided.

  4. fishnet37222

    I can't stand the new look. The tabs should look like actual tabs, not buttons.

    • hrlngrv

      I agree, but I'll add some objectively measurable complaints.

      Firefox 89 no longer supports Compact (controls) density, which means it now wastes at least 20 vertical pixels on more spacing between portions of the UI. No software of any kind should wantonly waste limited vertical screen space, especially not a struggling browser facing more direct competition than any other segment of the software market.

      I expect Mozilla has now lost whatever share of the 1366x768 laptop market it may have had.

      • hrlngrv

        Subjective aesthetics are an unknown concept to you?

        • Paul Thurrott

          Come on. That's not what this is. Browser tabs should look like ... tabs on a paper folder? My question stands. Why?

          • hrlngrv

            Proton is wasteful of screen space. Worse that it's profligate with vertical pixels, but it's also wasteful with horizontal spacing.

            As for the exact form of tabs, they could be tabs like manila folders, or they could be buttonlike. However, they shouldn't need 36 pixels interior button height with 12 point text and 16x16 favicons.

            Fortunately, there are themes which use Proton which also provide compact UI control density and display manila folder-like tabs, e.g., .

            Choice is good, lack of choice is bad, and Mozilla fubarred what was best about Firefox when they dumped XUL. Proton is more of the same, though at least there's userchrome.css. For now.

  5. jdawgnoonan

    I really like the new look and feel. Edge was my main browser but Microsoft is focusing on features that I find annoying a bit too much. I don't want coupons recommended, don't need URLs copied from the bar to be made friendly, and despise being reminded that for a few irrelevant sites that my old password that I don't feel like changing was compromised every day. I am aware that I can turn these things off.

  6. hrlngrv

    FWIW, this site doesn't render correctly in Firefox from time to time. So I'm posting this from Edge.

    Re Redesign, as long as pressing and releasing [Alt] keys displays the classic/traditional menu, I don't care what they do to the hamburger menu.

    Good that they've disabled A/V autoplay by default.

    • bettyblue

      I always use FF on this site never had an issue.

      Also FF and Safari are the only browsers that I can get Autoplay OFF to really work.

      • hrlngrv

        Here's a link to what I'm seeing on this site in Firefox 88.x. Same problem in 89.x, but the screenshot is from yesterday before I upgraded.

        It could well be that it's due to some Firefox extension not playing at all well with

        As for disabling autoplay, the Disable HTML5 Autoplay extension I use is available for Firefox/Waterfox and Chromium/Chrome/Edge/etc. It disables everything not whitelisted.

  7. bettyblue

    My browser of choice these days for so many reasons.

  8. Fuller1754

    Looks nice. This is the first time I've been impressed with FF in a long time. They also updated the look of menu panels, icons, and the printing interface, which was looooooong overdue. Still hard to beat Edge, though.

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