Mozilla Firefox for Android

Mozilla Firefox for Android

Download Editors' Rating:
4.5
Outstanding
Average User Rating:
2.2
out of 14 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    16.0
  • Total Downloads:
    192,348
  • Date Added:
    October 09, 2012
  • File Size:
    Not available
  • Downloads Last Week:
    170
  • Operating Systems:
    Android

Editors' Note: The "Download Now" link directs you to the product page. You can download the application from the Android Market on your Android device.

Editors' Review

+

The bottom line: Sync remains the killer Firefox for Android feature, but the revamped interface, fast page-load times, and tabbed browsing make it much more usable than before.

Review:
Firefox for Android used to be a must-use mainly for Firefox fans. It was good at what it did, but it wasn't great, and the competitive field of Android browsers surpassed it on many levels.

As a reaction, Mozilla spent the better part of a year redesigning the browser from the ground up. The new Firefox for Android brings an interface powered by native code, competitive page-load times, and Flash support. As important for Mozilla is that the sum of the new browser's parts will keep its flagship brand relevant on Android as Chrome for Android grows.

Installation
Installing Firefox is no different than downloading any other Android app. It weighs around 17MB, perhaps a bit larger than you might be expecting. It's also limited to devices running Android 2.2 Froyo or later, although that's now the vast majority of Androids out there.

Interface
Firefox for Android now offers an interface built on native code. This means that there's almost no lag when launching Firefox, and that moving around the interface itself -- such as when you change jump from the Start Screen the "Awesome Page" -- ought to be smooth and near-instantaneous.

Although the new interface is completely different, if you're familiar with Android you ought to find it an easy study. On the right side of the location bar at the top, you'll see either a plus sign or a number that indicates how many tabs are open. Tap it to see tab thumbnails, a Plus sign for opening a new tab, or accessing your synced tabs list. Tap the plus to open a second tab. On Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and later, you've got a Settings icon on the top right. Legacy versions of Android have their dedicated hardware Settings button, so that icon isn't present for them.

When you tap the location bar, the Start screen is replaced by three columns for Top Sites, Bookmarks, and History navigation. It also highlights the text in the location bar, which serves double-duty here as your search bar. This design existed before, but it's now a much smoother transition thanks to the native code powering Firefox.

When you launch Firefox, below the location bar you'll find your Start Screen. This shows thumbnails of your four most-frequently visited sites, called Top Sites, followed by your tabs from your last browsing session. Below that are add-on suggestions, and then a list of synced tabs.

It's a little confusing that you can access synced tabs from two different places in the browser, but it's also a bit inelegant to simply show a favicon and text list of sites and add-on options. Despite these complaints, this interface is a massive improvement over the previous version.

Features and support
Firefox has never been a slouch in the features department, and Firefox for Android provides all the basics for mobile browsing.

Sync is truly key, and Firefox has nailed it in a way that others haven't. Bookmarks, passwords, open tabs, preferences, and history will sync between to and from your Android device with any other instance of Firefox. Setting up sync is easiest when you've got the two devices next to each other, but it can be done if they're not. Sync also now hooks into the Android account settings, with an icon that looks like a two arrows in a silver circle, so you can toggle it independently of the browser.

Within Firefox Sync, there are two important security points. One is that Firefox encrypts your data before sending it over an encrypted connection to its servers, where it remains encrypted. Mozilla says that the company would not be able to access it even if somebody there wanted to. The second is that you have the option of setting up your own personal sync server. In an age when private data stored by corporations gets hacked and stolen with shocking regularity, setting up a personal sync server is one way to ensure that you bear the responsibility for your own data.

Flash support is present when using the browser on Android 2.3 Gingerbread and newer, and it now has tap-to-play for plug-ins. This means that while you can deactivate plug-ins like Flash, you can also configure the browser to not load them until you tap the space where the player ought to be displayed. This cuts down on page-load times, and while it was once innovative, it's now essential -- especially on mobile devices with data caps.

Like its desktop counterpart, Firefox works with add-ons. They don't sync to the Android version, and the desktop's add-on library far outstrips Firefox for Android, but you do have a growing collection of useful add-ons to choose from.

Zoom is remarkable on Firefox for Android, not just surpassing the previous version but much of the competition, too. This is in no small part because of how Mozilla wrote the browser's hardware acceleration on Android. It's one of those small features that you don't notice until you try to use it and it doesn't work properly. Instead, we found it to be exceptional.

On the security front, Firefox lets you create a Master Password, and supports the Do Not Track header. You can also clear your history, site-specific settings, and private data; disable cookies; and disable password management.

Firefox is known for its aggressive support of HTML5, CSS3, and hardware-integration APIs, and Firefox for Android takes broad advantage of them. Among the numerous ways that Firefox can interact directly with your device, it can control your camera, mobile connection, battery status, screen orientation, and geolocator. This positions Firefox well for the future as an alternative to each site having its own app.

However, the browser lacks some of the more aggressively forward-thinking features available. Dolphin HD is known for its gestures and slick voice integration, while Opera's Turbo is a real boon to those on sluggish connections. Still, head-to-toe overhaul, Firefox is more usable and offers more than it ever did before.

Performance
There's no doubt that Firefox renders Web sites faster than the stock Android browser. It also feels more cohesive, as the discrete elements of pages appear more quickly. Much of this has to do with Mozilla's JagerMonkey JavaScript engine.

On internal tests that Mozilla provided, the company noted that Firefox for Android is more than twice as fast as the stock Android browser, and nearly twice as fast as the previous version of Firefox when it comes to Web site panning and canvas rendering. On these tests, it also surpassed Chrome, Opera, and Dolphin HD. While these are Mozilla's own numbers, in informal hands-on tests Firefox appeared as fast as or faster than the competition.

CNET is currently revamping its browser benchmarks, and we will update them here as soon as possible.

Conclusion
Rebuilding Firefox was a necessary step for Mozilla to ensure that people would continue to use the Android version. While Firefox faces no easy path on any platform, it's surely one of the most usable Android browsers available.

 
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Publisher's Description

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User Reviews
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Results 1-10 of 14

  • 4 stars

    "Its ok but ...."

    February 26, 2014   |   By intellectuallymad

    Version: Mozilla Firefox for Android 25.0

    Pros

    it works quite well and i browse through it but ....

    Cons

    but crahses like it often in anyother operating system !!

    Summary

    nothing, it is as good as anyother reliable app

    Reply to this review

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  • 1 stars

    "trainwreck"

    September 24, 2013   |   By jdpeyton

    Version: Mozilla Firefox for Android 24

    Pros

    can use some Firefox extensions like Ad-block plus

    Cons

    I have a Nexus 7 (4.3). I have always used Firefox so installed it.
    I wonder if a actual user beta tested this thing. It just gives a bad user experience. I expected a lot better. I uninstalled and
    went back using Chrome.

    Summary

    I hope this doesn't portend the future for Firefox for windows

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  • 2 stars

    "Font size issues persist"

    April 03, 2013   |   By pwgibbons

    Version: Mozilla Firefox for Android 19.0

    Pros

    Generally fast and easy to use

    Cons

    SOme blogs show font size problems (EG tiny links that are hard to finger without extreme zoom)

    Summary

    Sticking with Android broweser until this is resolved. Galaxy S2.

    Reply to this review

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  • 3 stars

    "Does not work well on some phones"

    February 28, 2013   |   By spacerock27

    Version: Mozilla Firefox for Android 19.0

    Pros

    About as fast as the one built in.
    Addons like the ones for the desktop.

    Cons

    Weird issue with some Samsung Galaxy phones.

    Summary

    This app would be much better if it didn't render incorrectly when the orientation is changed.

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  • 4 stars

    "Why the Outdated User Reviews?"

    December 05, 2012   |   By smelton

    Version: Mozilla Firefox for Android 17.0

    Pros

    Now does Flash.

    Cons

    Still not as good as the desktop version. But what Android browser is?

    Summary

    Why does CNET continue to publish User Reviews for earlier versions of Firefox for Android? Many of the reviews here are not valid for Firefox 17.0, and may confuse readers seeing those reviews. The reviews here should only be for the product being discussed, not earlier versions of it.

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  • 1 stars

    "CRASHES phone"

    August 19, 2012   |   By catchemall

    Version: Mozilla Firefox for Android 14.0.1

    Pros

    NONE on Mobile version ; Love desktop

    Cons

    Locked up phone twice had to pull battery to unlock phone.

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  • 1 stars

    "False Advertisement"

    June 26, 2012   |   By iuhoopboy

    Version: Mozilla Firefox for Android 10.0.5

    Pros

    Have no idea

    Cons

    IT DOESNT WORK ON ICS TABLETS!

    Summary

    They should say what is not compatible in the hype. Dont shoot fireworks off like its the best thing if it wont work on the newest devices?

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  • 2 stars

    "Disappointed"

    October 10, 2011   |   By pbeckman--2008

    Version: Mozilla Firefox for Android 7.0.1

    Pros

    Firefox is my fave browser.

    Cons

    No Flash?!?

    Summary

    Firefox loses a lot of its appeal because of the lack of Flash. I usually have better luck with websites with Firefox for my desktop, but am planning to uninstall from phone.

    Reply to this review

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  • 1 stars

    "Slow and No flash"

    August 03, 2011   |   By ssbmmaster

    Version: Mozilla Firefox for Android 5.0

    Pros

    Really, there are none

    Cons

    As stated in the title, it is slow and does not include flash

    Summary

    You are better off sticking with the stock browser since it is faster, more stable, and gives flash support.

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  • 1 stars

    "Not ready for normal use"

    July 17, 2011   |   By rahmanroni

    Version: Mozilla Firefox for Android 5.0

    Pros

    Its ok I guess.............

    Cons

    Buggy, a recourse hog like the desktop version, slow and feels awkward to use at times.

    Summary

    Its passable, and I'm really lowering standards here, but it needs more work to be as good as the built in browser or other ones like Dolphin.

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  • Results 1-10 of 14

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    Full Specifications

    +
    What's new in version 16.0
      NEW:
    • - Reader Mode implemented for easy readability - just tap the book icon next to the URL
    • - Use the "Share" menu item to send tabs to desktop/mobile devices through the "Firefox Sync" option
    • - tel: URLs crafted to maliciously wipe your phone can no longer be opened
    • - Various performance improvements around JavaScript garbage collection
    • - CSS3 Animations, Transitions and Gradients unprefixed in Firefox 16
      FIXED:
    • - Kyocera Echo stability issues
    General
    Publisher Mozilla
    Publisher web site http://www.mozilla.org/
    Release Date October 09, 2012
    Date Added October 09, 2012
    Version 16.0
    Category
    Category Browsers
    Subcategory Web Browsers
    Operating Systems
    Operating Systems Android
    Additional Requirements Android 2.0 and above
    Download Information
    File Size Not Available
    File Name details
    Popularity
    Total Downloads 192,348
    Downloads Last Week 170
    Pricing
    License Model Free
    Limitations Not available
    Price Free

    Previous Versions:

     
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