Firefox 84's Best New Features on Desktop and Android


Illustration for article titled Firefox 84s Best New Features on Desktop and Android
Photo: FoxArtBox (Shutterstock)

The latest Firefox update, version 84, is now out for desktop and Android. While you’re updating your browser, let’s have a quick look at everything that’s new—especially critical if you’re sitting on a brand-new MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or Mac Mini.

The latest build adds new features on Android and fixes bugs on all platforms, but the most notable update is native support for Mac computers and laptops running Apple’s M1 CPUs. This makes Firefox the third major desktop browser to run natively on Apple’s M1 CPUs; as a result, Mozilla has kicked up the browser’s performance: “Firefox launches over 2.5 times faster and web apps are now twice as responsive (per the SpeedoMeter 2.0 test).”

However, there is an annoying bug that prevents Firefox from streaming videos and other media on M1 Macs, including content from Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Hulu, and Netflix. Mozilla will hopefully patch this in a future update, but for now, you can restore streaming privileges by installing Rosetta 2—an app that lets M1 Macs run apps that aren’t officially supported yet. (You probably already have Rosetta 2 installed, but Apple has an easy-to-follow guide if you don’t, or aren’t sure.)

Firefox 84's new Android features

Illustration for article titled Firefox 84s Best New Features on Desktop and Android
Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

Native Apple CPU support is a big deal for Firefox’s desktop version, but Firefox 84 is an even more substantial update on Android. You’ll see several welcome changes to the mobile browser, including:

  • An all-new grid view for tabs.
  • The option to delete downloaded files directly from the app’s interface.
  • Improved scrolling control and performance, including better accuracy, smoother animations, and fixes to prevent sudden scroll acceleration.
  • Tons of smaller bug fixes.

Firefox’s new grid view on Android displays larger tab previews that are easier to see at a glance. It’s a fun option, but you need to manually turn it on to see it:

  1. Tap the three-dot menu button to the right of the URL bar and tabs shortcut.
  2. Select the “Settings.”
  3. Scroll down and tap “Tabs.”
  4. Select “Grid” from the Tab View options.
  5. Back out to the main app screen, then open the tabs window to see the new layout.

Android users can install and update Firefox from Google Play.