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Firefox Browser for Android

By Mozilla Free Editors' Rating

Key Details of Firefox Browser

  • Surf the Web comfortably, relying on speed, safety, and power of customization
  • Last updated on 10/20/20
  • There have been 10 updates within the past 6 months
  • Also available on iOS, Mac, and Windows

Editors' Review

shelbybrown Jul 18, 2016

Mozilla Firefox for Android competes with many mobile Web browsers, chiefly Google Chrome, which is preinstalled on most Android devices, giving Chrome a much larger market share. That's unfortunate, because Firefox for Android has a number of interesting and unique features, such as support for add-ons, data syncing without a Google account, and the ability to integrate search engines that Chrome won't.

Pros

Firefox for Android supports add-ons (aka extensions): Firefox is the only major Android browser we've found that lets you install add-ons, although not all desktop Firefox add-ons are compatible. Admittedly, add-on support is not needed in some cases -- for example, you would use a password manager app rather than an extension. But say you want to download a Flash video over Wi-Fi and then watch it later , rather than streaming it over a 4G or 3G connection and eating into your monthly data cap. Chrome on Android won't let you do that. Chrome on Android also won't let you install the popular HTTPS Everywhere add-on, which attempts to force encrypted connections for increased privacy. And Chrome on Android doesn't do ad blockers.

Custom search engines: Most people will default to Google, and that's probably fine. But if you prefer DuckDuckGo for increased privacy, that's not an option in Chrome on Android. In Firefox, when you go to a website's search function, long-tapping in the search field opens up a menu featuring a magnifying glass with a + sign next to it. Tapping this button adds that site to your list of available default search engines in Firefox. DuckDuckGo is already on this list, so you don't need to add it manually. Unfortunately, you can't quickly swap from one search engine to another, as you can in the desktop version of Firefox, but it's progress.

Data syncing: Chrome users benefit from being able to sync their bookmarks, tabs, and navigation history across multiple devices. You can start on your phone and pick up where you left off on your laptop or tablet. But it turns out that Firefox also has syncing, and it's done independently from any Google service. Using it does mean creating another online account, but Firefox syncing can helpful for people who want to keep their work and leisure browsing separated. This is important not just for privacy, but also for accurately tailored search suggestions.

Cons

Clearing private data is all-or-nothing: If you want to erase your history, cookies, and browser cache, Chrome lets you choose several time frames: past hour, past day, past week, past four weeks, and "beginning of time." Firefox only has the last option. You can't just remove the stuff that happened recently. It's probably not a big deal for most users, but it's worth mentioning for those times when you need to correct your search suggestions (or erase some regrettable browsing history). Chrome also tells you how many megabytes of space its browser cache is taking up.

Add-on catalog doesn't filter out desktop-only add-ons: Mozilla's add-on catalog is easy enough to navigate, but we'd like the option to toggle the visibility of items that are compatible with the mobile version of Firefox. It's not an ideal user experience when you find an interesting-looking app but can't install it in the mobile browser.

Bottom Line

Firefox's support for add-ons on Android allows you to refine your browsing experience to something meaningfully better than the experience that Chrome -- or any other mobile browser that we've come across so far -- can provide on Android. The advantage is so distinctive that it's hard to make a case for Chrome as your default choice. This edge is softened by the Firefox add-on catalog listing items that aren't compatible with the mobile version of the Web browser, but fortunately the most popular ones usually work on both platforms. Since Firefox is completely free to use (as are its add-ons, though donations to the developers are welcomed), you can judge for yourself with minimal investment.

Full Specifications

What's new in version 81.1.5

In this Firefox Daylight release, we're excited to have addressed some of your top requests:
  • View downloads
  • Enhanced search
  • Frequently visited top sites
  • Auto close tabs
  • Switch tabs by swiping horizontally on address bar
  • Password migration support for master password users
Also in case you missed it, checkout these new Firefox features:
  • Protection from intrusive trackers
  • Organize your tabs with Collections
  • Bottom search bar
  • Dark Mode
  • Picture-in-Picture Video

General

Release October 20, 2020
Date Added October 20, 2020
Version 81.1.5

Operating Systems

Operating Systems Android
Additional Requirements Requires Android 5.0 and up

Popularity

Total Downloads 323,177
Downloads Last Week 71
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Developer's Description

Experience a fast, smart and personal Web. Firefox is the independent, people-first browser made by Mozilla, voted one of the Most Trusted Internet Company for Privacy. Upgrade today and join hundreds of millions who depend on Firefox for a more personal browsing experience. FAST. SMART. YOURS. Firefox is made with you in mind and gives you the power to take back control of your Web experience. That's why we design the product with smart features that take the guesswork out of browsing. SEARCH INTELLIGENTLY & GET THERE FASTER- Firefox anticipates your needs and intuitively provides multiple suggested and previously searched results across your favorite search engines - every time. Easily access shortcuts to search providers. NEXT LEVEL PRIVACY- Your privacy has been upgraded. Private Browsing with Tracking Protection blocks parts of Web pages that may track your browsing activity. SYNC FIREFOX ACROSS YOUR DEVICES- With a Firefox Account, access your history, bookmarks and open tabs from your desktop on your smartphone and tablet. Firefox can also remember your passwords across devices so you don't have to. INTUITIVE VISUAL TABS- Intuitive visual and numbered tabs easily let you find content for future reference. Open as many tabs as you like without losing track of your open Web pages. EASY ACCESS TO YOUR TOP SITES- Spend your time reading your favorites sites instead of looking for them. ADD-ONS FOR EVERYTHING- Take control of your Web experience by personalizing Firefox with add-ons like ad blockers, password and download managers and more. QUICK SHARE- Firefox remembers your most recently used apps to help you easily share contentTAKE IT TO THE BIG SCREEN- Send video and Web content from your smartphone or tablet to any TV equipped with supported streaming capabilities. Learn more about Firefox for Android: Have questions or need help? Visit support. mozilla. org/mobile- Read about Firefox permissions: mzl. la/Permissions- Learn more about what's up at Mozilla: blog. mozilla. org- Like Firefox on Facebook: mzl. la/FXFacebook- Follow Firefox on Twitter: mzl. la/FXTwitterABOUT MOZILLAMozilla exists to build the Internet as a public resource accessible to all because we believe open and free is better than closed and controlled. We build products like Firefox to promote choice and transparency and give people more control over their lives online.