December 5, 2020

Firefox 83 releases: Introduce HTTPS-Only mode, improve page loading performance by 15%

3 min read

Mozilla officially released Firefox 83. This version has made a major update to the JavaScript engine SpiderMonkey and improved the speed of the browser. The page load performance has increased by 15%, the page response has increased by 12%, and the memory footprint has been reduced by 8%.

Firefox 83 replaces a part of the JavaScript engine to better compile and display the website, while also improving security and maintainability.

Firefox 83 officially introduced the HTTPS-Only (only open HTTPS) mode. After opening this mode, the browser will establish a completely secure connection with each website. Whether you click on the HTTP link or manually enter the HTTP address, Firefox will automatically replace the HTTPS page. If the visited website does not support HTTPS, Firefox will alert the user. You can turn on this mode in the settings.

Changelog

New

  • Firefox keeps getting faster as a result of significant updates to SpiderMonkey, our JavaScript engine, you will now experience improved page load performance by up to 15%, page responsiveness by up to 12%, and reduced memory usage by up to 8%. We have replaced part of the JavaScript engine that helps to compile and display websites for you, improving security and maintainability of the engine at the same time.
  • Firefox introduces HTTPS-Only Mode. When enabled, this new mode ensures that every connection Firefox makes to the web is secure and alerts you when a secure connection is not available. You can enable it in Firefox Preferences.
  • Pinch zooming will now be supported for our users with Windows touchscreen devices and touchpads on Mac devices. Firefox users may now use pinch to zoom on touch-capable devices to zoom in and out of webpages.
  • Picture-in-Picture now supports keyboard shortcuts for fast forwarding and rewinding videos: use the arrow keys to move forward and back 15 seconds, along with volume controls. For a list of supported commands see Support Mozilla
  • When you are presenting your screen on a video conference in Firefox, you will see our improved user interface that makes it clearer which devices or displays are being shared.
  • We’ve improved functionality and design for a number of Firefox search features:
    • Selecting a search engine at the bottom of the search panel now enters search mode for that engine, allowing you to see suggestions (if available) for your search terms. The old behavior (immediately performing a search) is available with a shift-click.
    • When Firefox autocompletes the URL of one of your search engines, you can now search with that engine directly in the address bar by selecting the shortcut in the address bar results.
    • We’ve added buttons at the bottom of the search panel to allow you to search your bookmarks, open tabs, and history.
  • Firefox supports AcroForm, which will allow you to fill in, print, and save supported PDF forms and the PDF viewer also has a new fresh look.
  • Our users in India on the English build of Firefox will now see Pocket recommendations in their new tab featuring some of the best stories on the web. If you don’t see them, you can turn on Pocket articles in your new tab by following these steps.
  • For the recently released Apple devices built with Apple Silicon CPUs, you can use Firefox 83 and future releases without any change. This release (83) will support emulation under Apple’s Rosetta 2 that ships with macOS Big Sur. We are working toward Firefox being natively-compiled for these CPUs in a future release.
  • This is a major release for WebRender as we roll out to more Firefox users on Windows 7 and 8 as well as on macOS 10.12 to 10.15.

Fixed

  • This release also includes a number of accessibility fixes:
    • Screen reader features which report paragraphs now correctly report paragraphs instead of lines in Google Docs
    • When reading by word using a screen reader, words are now correctly reported when there is punctuation nearby
    • The arrow keys now work correctly after tabbing in the picture-in-picture window
  • For users on macOS restoring a session with minimized windows, Firefox now uses much less power and you should see much longer battery life.
  • Various security fixes

Download