Mozilla Firefox 63 is now available on Windows, Linux and Mac systems and features an update with enhanced Tracking Protection enabled by default in 2019.
This feature blocks cookies and storage access for tracking technologies without damaging websites or revenue streams, protecting against harmful practices like fingerprinting and cryptomining scripts.
Enhanced Tracking Protection
Mozilla is rolling out Enhanced Tracking Protection to Firefox users, a feature which blocks harmful scripts and trackers for faster page loads while protecting privacy. To enable it, head into the Enhanced Tracking Protection section of Firefox and choose one of three options – Standard, Strict or Custom. Though strict Enhanced Tracking Protection may cause certain websites to break; such as stopping pages from loading correctly – be wary.
Tracking Protection was initially introduced as an optional feature for Private Browsing sessions in Firefox 42, following rules established by anti-tracking company Disconnect. Starting in Firefox Quantum (Firefox 57), however, its scope has been expanded so as to be available to all users regardless of browsing mode or privacy status.
In addition to ads trackers, the Enhanced Tracking Protection feature also blocks social media tracking scripts, analytics services and fingerprinters that companies use to create unique user profiles. By default, Standard setting blocks all of these types of information while “Strict” goes further by only permitting third party trackers that possess valid SSL certificates access your browser or device.
The Custom option gives you control over which types of content to block. Selecting “All Windows” will block all tracks and scripts; selecting “Fingerprinters” will prevent websites from collecting your operating system, screen resolution, or other settings that could identify you online; while “Cryptominers” prevent malicious individuals from mining cryptocurrency on your machine invisibly while you browse.
If a website becomes problematic due to blocked trackers and scripts, simply clicking the shield icon in the address bar can quickly and easily alter tracking protection settings. A list will open showing you which trackers and scripts have been blocked – unblock them as necessary or add them to an Exceptions list for easier management in Firefox 63. In addition, various improvements and bug fixes were introduced with this release as well as warnings when closing Firefox with multiple tabs or windows open (example).
Dark mode is one of the hottest screen settings today, yet does it truly reduce eye strain? Many apps and websites have adopted it; some even claim it can improve sleep and save battery power on devices.
Mozilla is joining in the trend with Firefox 63’s inclusion of dark theme support and variable fonts on desktop systems, easing transitioning away from monochrome browsing environments on macOS Mojave while respecting Windows 10’s dark app mode setting for its dark app mode setting. Furthermore, variable fonts enable multiple variations of one typeface to be combined into a single file to reduce HTTP requests and data download (around 20k per variation).
Dark themes may help reduce screen time by decreasing the amount of glaring white light that hits your eyes and thus helping prevent eye strain and strain. Unfortunately, no studies exist which prove the darker mode actually improves reading or prevents eye strain.
One major improvement for desktop users is the new Home tab, which allows you to display up to four rows of Top Sites, highlights and Pocket stories. Additionally, this new Home tab adds a “Reopen in Container” menu option for those using Firefox’s Container feature. Furthermore, Firefox will make websites using Adobe Flash run more securely by using process sandboxing on macOS and improving graphics rendering without acceleration hardware on Windows.
On Windows, Firefox 63 beta and its updates will use Clang toolchain, which is expected to bring performance improvements. You can experience these updates either by downloading Firefox 63 beta or upgrading to the latest stable release version – we welcome your thoughts below on what you think about these additions and hope for feedback in comments below – for an even more secure browsing experience, take a look at our guide of best VPN services of 2019 for even more privacy news and follow us on Twitter for even more privacy news!
WebGL Power Preferences
Mozilla continues to equip developers with the tools needed to take full advantage of WebGL 2.0 features, with Firefox 63 adding support for WebGL 2.0 drawArray() which enables users to display 2D images such as maps or graphs directly onto the screen without depending on HTML pages for rendering the image. Mozilla states this enables more efficient creation of interactive elements like scrollable regions that display data or animated content, as well as scrollable regions used as clickable regions for scrolling or clicking purposes.
Developer improvements also include a new API that enables websites to use multiple GPUs when running in the browser, intended to enhance performance of complex 3D apps and games where one GPU may not suffice; in addition, multiple user interface threads can run simultaneously – something useful when used for games using WebGL to present complex scenes and objects.
Firefox 63 provides several user-oriented enhancements, such as an alert when trying to close multiple tabs and windows at once. Ctrl+Tab now displays thumbnail previews for all recently used tabs – this behavior can be changed in preferences.
The browser now reflects the dark or light theme set on an operating system and adjusts animations accordingly. A problem with Safari’s WebRTC implementation that caused duplicate letters in some Latin keyboards has also been fixed, while another bug that prevented Firefox from opening URLs when Siri on iOS asked, has also been addressed.
Firefox 63 for Android introduces picture-in-picture mode that enables users to keep watching videos even after switching away from the browser, a video subtitle feature for Prime Video and Netflix content on devices that support WebVTT subtitles and an auto check to ensure that its language settings match those on first start-up; otherwise prompts are sent out asking the user what language setting to select from if their settings differ significantly from your operating system settings.
Firefox users on Windows first experienced the advantages of out-of-process extensions with last year’s pre-Quantum release, and now this feature is also available on Linux systems via Firefox 63. When activated, this ensures that an extension crashing or experiencing memory leakage won’t bring down their entire browser.
As part of these new features, a warning now appears when trying to close Firefox with multiple windows or tabs open when quitting from its main menu. Furthermore, non-performance-critical applications and applets now can request low-power GPUs instead of high-powered ones on multi-GPU systems; and Firefox users in the US will now have access to search shortcuts for Google and Amazon that add them directly into their list of Top Sites tiles on the Home page; selecting one will switch focus onto the address bar to initiate searching.
Other notable changes include the implementation of the Media Capabilities API with support for the mp4/mov/avformat video codec, as well as adding Element.toggleAttribute() method and preference settings allowing sites to disable browser-provided security status icon in URL bar by websites. Furthermore, deprecations measures were introduced including limited support for Doppler effects on PannerNode via AudioListener properties dopplerFactor and speedOfSound as well as deprecations measures including those implemented via AudioListener properties dopplerFactor and speedOfSound properties or properties such as Symbol.prototype.description property as well as offset-block-start, offset-block-end, offset-inline-start attributes which were all deprecated previously.
As with previous updates to Firefox, these new features will gradually roll out over time; however, users can download the Nightly release now from Mozilla website so they can experience them immediately. Anyone wanting to participate can join the Firefox Nightly Tester Program; alternatively check out GitHub repository for further information. With an estimated market share estimated to be approximately one fifth globally and numerous user-friendly security features that keep them protected against online dangers daily – Firefox remains one of the top choices among security-minded consumers around the globe.