3 min read

Mozilla announced a major update to Firefox Focus, a free and open-source privacy-focused browser by Mozilla for Android, iOS smartphones and tablets, yesterday. Firefox Focus allows you to stay “focused” by automatically blocking ads and trackers. The new updates explore new features, revamped design, and GeckoView Technology behind Firefox Focus for Android.

New Features

There are three new features added in Firefox Focus, namely, home screen tips, search suggestions, and Siri shortcut for iOS users.

Home Screen tips

It’s good news for people who like to keep tabs on feature releases. Now, you can see the core functionalities of Firefox Focus on the start screen. This will provide an overview of the whole range of possibilities that your privacy browser needs to offer. More than that, this new addition will not interrupt the usage at all and will get automatically refreshed after every click on the Erase button.

All you need to do is just open the browser and a bunch of helpful feature recommendations will be presented in your preferred language on the start screen (Android). However, for iOS users, this feature is currently available only in the English language.

Search Suggestions

Search suggestions make the entire searching process more convenient. You can activate the feature by opening the app and select settings > “Search” > select the checkbox “Get search suggestions”.

Now, keeping in mind the privacy of the Firefox Focus users, you don’t have to share what you’re typing in the address bar with your search provider. The search suggestions feature has been turned “off” by default, so you can choose whether or not you want to turn it on.

Siri shortcuts for iOS users

Siri shortcuts have been added to the updated Firefox Focus. You can now set and open a favorite website, erase and open Firefox, as well as erase in the background using Siri shortcuts. Mozilla’s aim with this was to improve the Firefox Focus experience for iOS users.

Revamped Design

Visual design for Firefox Focus browser has been completely optimized for the recently released Android Pie. New icons, a customized URL bar, and a simplified settings menu make Firefox Focus easier to use. It also offers a consistent user experience.

New engine for Firefox Android users

Focus has been using Android’s built-in WebView all this time, but it has some limitations. WebView is not designed for building browsers. To add next-generation privacy features to Focus, Focus developers require deep access to the browser internals. This is why, they have opted for their own engine, Gecko.

Firefox Focus is now based on GeckoView, Mozilla’s own mobile engine, making it perfect for use in Android apps. GeckoView will help them leverage all of their Firefox expertise to build more compelling, safe, and robust online experiences. GeckoView will enable Mozilla to implement unique privacy-enhancing features in the future, such as reducing the potential of a third-party collection.

For more information, check out the official Mozilla website.

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Tech writer at the Packt Hub. Dreamer, book nerd, lover of scented candles, karaoke, and Gilmore Girls.


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