Firefox Focus, Mozilla’s privacy focused browser for Android and iOS, has gotten a major update to its visuals and performance on Android today.
Firefox Focus, created in 2016, comes with built-in protection against tracking (including ads), and automatically erases history when you exit the app.
In a new update, Mozilla is bringing the browser’s visual design on each platform in line with the latest design cues from Android Pie and iOS 12. Some of the Android changes include updated icons, a simpler settings menu, and a new URL bar.
Both platforms will also see new features like browser usage tips on the home screen and the availability of search suggestions. Mozilla is aware of the potential privacy issues introduced by search suggestions, and have, considerately, left that feature disabled by default.
The most exciting part of this update is that Mozilla is now basing the Android version of Firefox Focus on its new “GeckoView” browser engine. With the new engine comes the benefits of Firefox’s recent series of “Quantum” upgrades, which have drastically increased the performance of Firefox on desktops.
Firefox Focus will be the testbed for GeckoView, which is currently not ready for primetime in Firefox’s standard Android and iOS apps. According to Mozilla, the company is looking to reward Firefox Focus users, who could be considered beta testers preparing the engine for its future broader usage, by offering features that “that other browsers on Android simply won’t be able to offer.”
Firefox Focus is available for free on the Google Play Store.
I personally use Firefox Focus as my default Android browser so that any potentially sketchy links I click don’t get any freely shared profile info from the likes of Facebook or Google. I welcome these performance improvements with open arms, especially after experiencing them on Firefox for desktop.