Mozilla on Tuesday released an overhauled version of its Firefox browser for Android phones that features better speed and stronger privacy. Dubbed Firefox Daylight, the new version is available in Europe and will be released in North America on Thursday.
About 33 million people use Firefox on Android each month, about a sixth the 208 million browser’s total users. But Firefox still pales in comparison to Google Chrome, which more than a billion people use across 2 billion devices.
Mozilla said Firefox Daylight offers a host of improvements over the previous Firefox for Android. Among them:
- Daylight launches about 10% faster than the previous version. It’s also more responsive when you’re scrolling or tapping.
- It has new privacy muscle in the form of Mozilla’s Enhanced Tracking Protection, designed to block advertisers and publishers from logging your online behavior.
- The new version features Tab collections that lets you organize sets of tabs into a named group that you can open in bulk later.
- Daylight adds Mozilla’s list of recommended extensions, add-ons that let you customize the browser, making it easier to find ones that are safe and useful.
If you already have Firefox for Android installed, the new version will replace it without much disruption. If you’re new to mobile Firefox, you’re more likely to stick with Firefox Daylight than people were with its predecessor, Mozilla said.
“We found that new user retention was higher in Firefox Preview than in the previous version of Firefox, Vesta Zare, product manager of Firefox for Android, said in an email. Mozilla tested Firefox Daylight for more than a year under the name Firefox Preview.
Firefox for Android uses Mozilla’s own browser engine technology, a contrast to other third-party browsers like Brave and Samsung Internet, which are based on Google’s Chrome technology. Firefox Daylight, though, employs Mozilla’s new GeckoView, an updated foundation other browsers and apps can use, too.
That means a fifth reason to use Firefox Daylight. If you want somebody besides Google charting the future of the web, installing Firefox for Android is a good first step.
Firefox usage has steadily dwindled in recent years, and Mozilla is suffering financially. Mozilla cut about 250 of its 1,000 employees in August to cope with declining revenue from search partners, notably Google.