Mozilla has released Firefox 67 for all compatible platforms. The update includes a number of performance improvements that should result in faster startup browser, tab switching and better page load performance. Firefox 67 also improves privacy and accessibility features, allowing users more flexibility in how they use the browser. The new release also replaces the AV1 decoder with a better performing one and enables WebRender for Windows 10 desktop users with Nvidia graphics cards.
Firefox 67 features
Ever since Firefox Quantum refresh, Mozilla has been hard at work to make Firefox a competitive browser again. Despite the Quantum branding, Firefox has never been as fast as Chrome in day-to-day usage. Numbers might give a different story but real-world performance matters more. However, I’ve been seeing Firefox make great strides recently, specially on Mac, to fix some old performance issues that had been pushing away users to other browsers.
With Firefox 67, I’m glad to see a strong focus on performance. The developers worked on the following areas to improve performance in this new update:
- Deprioritize least commonly used features. Firefox now delays loading of features that are not commonly used. For example, if a webpage does not have a form, the auto-fill module for forms will not be loaded. This allows webpages to start rendering much faster than before.
- Suspend idle tabs. If Firefox sees that your computer has less than 400MB of free RAM available, it will suspend your unused tabs to save memory.
- Faster startup after installing themes or add-ons. As the name suggests, Firefox will start faster even after installation of themes or plugins.
Firefox 76 also enables WebRender, which is the browser’s next generation 2D rendering engine. WebRender utilizes GPU for graphics rendering to allow webpages to be load faster and feel smoother during scrolling and navigation.
Apart from this, Firefox 67 also utilizes a new decoder called dav1d for AV1 decoding. AV1 is a royalty-free codec that is jointly developed by Apple, Google and other giants. AV1 is supposed to be faster and more efficient for web videos. YouTube is already moving to AV1. Mozilla also shared that AV1 based video playback is in double digit percentage on Firefox.
Privacy, Security and Accessibility
The new browser update also improves on some privacy, security and accessibility features:
- Content blocking settings now support blocking of cryptominers and fingerprinters.
- Keyboard accessibility improvements now allow users to access more parts of the user interface using the keyboard.
- Users can now select which extensions to load in private browsing windows. Private browsing also supports password saving now.
Other miscellaneous features include tweaks to the user interface which allow quicker access to account syncing in the menu, support for custom account avatars, easy access to saved passwords and more.
The update is now available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android.