Now they’re on a 4 week release cycle, a new month brings a new Firefox update. This time around the team at Mozilla is treating us to Firefox 78 and with it have brought some fairly significant changes. So, what’s new?
Firefox 78’s headline feature is the Protections Dashboard. It includes consolidated reports about tracking protection, data breaches, and password management. From the Dashboard you can sign up for Mozilla’s breach alerts to find out if your passwords have been leaked, you can view a report and see how many tracking attempts have been blocked, and the Dashboard also encourages you to sign up for Firefox’s password manager application Firefox Lockwise.
Mozilla have made some tweaks to how Firefox interacts with system screensavers, meaning now your screensaver will no longer interrupt WebRTC based video calls if you’re using Firefox. Mozilla have also disabled DHE-based TLS ciphersuites along with TLS 1.0 and 1.1 (and added two more GCM SHA2-based ciphersuites in their place), this will go a huge way in pushing any sysadmins stuck in the past to upgrade any servers that don’t support TLS 1.2, since sites will now load with an error. 78 will also allow users to enable an experimental flag to have Firefox support client certificates stores on macOS or Windows, Firefox is known for using its own certificate bundle and ignoring anything installed directly onto Windows or macOS so this is a welcome optional feature.
Mozilla have added Picture-in-picture support to the Extended Support Release/ESR version of Firefox (finally!). 78 brings with it some accessibility improvements too, with better support for the JAWS screen reader and a fix for screen readers sometimes incorrectly switching to document browsing mode.
Firefox will now offer recommendations from Pocket to all UK users, this can be disabled but with Microsoft Edge partnering up with Pinterest, Opera pushing a tonne of services like Facebook and Twitter in their sidebar on seemingly every launch, and Firefox now partnering with Pocket and pushing it out by default web browsers may start going back to the good ol’ days of being full of bloatware.
From a system requirements perspective, Firefox 78 is the last major version to run on macOS 10.9-10.11, and on Linux Firefox now needs GNU libc 2.17, libstdc++ 4.8.1 and GTK+ 3.14 or newer versions.
78 also includes: a refresh option in the uninstaller, new features for Firefox 78 (Extended Support Release/ESR) brought over from the fast release cycle version
You can learn more here at mozilla.org.