Gadgets for humans

New Firefox for Android launches with souped-up privacy tools and a bottom address bar

Firefox android

Mozilla is launching its new version of Firefox for Android today with enhanced privacy tools, addons support, and visual changes. Privacy updates and under-the-hood changes are inspired by the Firefox Quantum desktop revamp. And this version of the Android browser is codenamed “Firefox Daylight.”

The most important change here is the Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP), that’s on by default. It’s meant to prevent trackers from gathering your browsing pattern and data and using it for ads. While the browser lets these tracker load when you visit a site, it stops them from actually accessing your cookies — snippets of data that gather your browsing habits.

When you start using the new Firefox browser, your ETP is set at the Standard level. However, you can choose Strict or Custom level according to your needs. If you choose Strict mode, the browser blocks almost all trackers and ads, but some sites might not work properly.

Firefox for Android tracking protection

Mozilla has taken technology behind its privacy-focused product Firefox Focus to power this new version’s private browsing mode; this makes sure no one is tracking you while you’re using that mode. Additionally, the company has made it easy to access private browsing tabs. You can directly launch a tab in private mode by long-pressing the Firefox icon.

Firefox private browsing tab shortcut

[Read: Most mobile apps suck — here’s how to fix them]

Apart from privacy-based enhancements, the new Firefox for Android also brings some design changes. First and foremost, the address bar is on the bottom, so it can be easily accessed on phones with larger screens. Plus, the browser now has support for extensions (add-ons).

Right now, there are only 10 pre-approved adds-on are available such as uBlock Origin, HTTPS Everywhere, and Dark Reader. While there’s certainly a place for adblockers, I’m not sure what other add-ons will be useful while growing on mobile, but I’m excited to track this feature’s development.

Firefox for Android add-ons

The new Firefox for Android also includes Dark Mode, Bookmark collection, and support for picture-in-picture.

Firefox for Android is rolling out for users in Europe and the rest of the world starting today. It’ll be available for users in North America on August 27.

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Published August 25, 2020 — 07:59 UTC