Earlier today, the public release of Firefox 48 landed for both desktop and Android. Although there hasn’t been much fanfare, it represents a significant leap forward for the browser that is perennially in third place. So, what’s changed?
On the desktop, a lot. Mozilla is slowly rolling out what it calls “Multi-Process Firefox” (confusingly, also Electrolysis and e10s), which separates the core Firefox system from web content. This means that if one tab starts to consume too much of your system’s resources, or otherwise locks up, the rest of the browser is unaffected.
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It sounds really dry, but Mozilla is confident that this will address the stability and performance issues that have plagued earlier versions. However, it’s being very cautious as to how it’s deployed, and not all users will have it enabled. To find out if you’re one of them, type “about:support” into the search bar, and check if Multiprocess Windows is “Enabled by default”.
Speaking of the search bar, this is one area that Mozilla has poured a lot of love into. Now when you look for something, it offers you more suggestions, from a broader array of sources.
Mozilla has also updated the discovery pane, in order to make it easier to find the add-ons you want to install.
Firefox for Android has similarly been tweaked. If you get a call while you’re watching a video, Firefox will pause it, to save your place. There have also been tweaks to how bookmarks and history works, too.
“Earlier this year, we experimented with rebooting bookmarks. Today, we’re rolling out these improvements by merging your Reading Lists into Bookmarks and your Synced tabs into the History Panel. This change means your reading list items will now be available across devices alongside your bookmarks, giving you easier access to your content no matter what device you’re using, which is a major upgrade for those of you using Firefox across devices.”