Firefox 16 What's New

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 22, 2012

Mozilla has just updated all Firefox channels, brining Firefox Stable to version 14.0.1, and moving the beta, aurora and nightly versions of the browser to versions 15, 16 and 17 respectively. As always, we will be taking a look at what's new in Firefox Aurora, which just moved to version 16. If you are a beta user you can check out what's new in Firefox 15 here.

Firefox Aurora is a development channel which means that some of the features described here may not make it into Firefox 16 Stable when it is released in about 12 weeks. It is also possible that features get changed in the development process.

Firefox 16 Aurora introduces two new features in the browser. First web app support for all supported desktop operating systems, and then VoiceOver support for Mac versions of the Firefox web browser which is turned on by default.

The browser's built-in PDF reader has been improved, with the release notes not going into details what these changes consist of.

We have previously mentioned that Mozilla did change the address bar highlighting in the list of suggestions once you start entering words into the urlbar of the browser.

firefox highlight search terms

The new incremental garbage collection in Firefox reduces the memory management intervals. Previously, garbage collection could range from being noticeable to almost looking like freezes in the browser with hundreds of open tabs. A pause of 500ms for instance felt almost like a freeze. The new incremental garbage collections splits those breaks or pauses into smaller chunks which are usually not noticeable at all. The new code is not yet feature complete yet, as it consists of two phases, mark and sweep, of which only mark is incremental in Firefox 16 Aurora.

Web developers benefit from a number of changes in Firefox 16 Aurora. This includes that CSS3 Animations, Transitions, Transforms and Gradients  are now unprefixed in the browser, and a handful of other changes which developers can take a look at by following the link in this sentence.

There is also a new developer toolbar that developers can activate with Shift-F2 (the original article says Ctrl-Shift-V or Cmd-Opt-V) which did not work in our Aurora version.

firefox developer toolbar

Other notable changes include:

  • Memory usage per tab has been added to the about:memory page
  • MD5 hashes are no longer accepted in X.509 certificates
  • The low latency codec for real-time communication Opus is now enabled by default.

No mentioning of features that Mozilla planned to release in Firefox 16 yet, but there is still time for them to show up.

Firefox Aurora users should have received the update to Firefox 16 by now. Everyone else can download the latest Aurora version from Mozilla's Firefox Aurora download page.


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  1. Yoav said on October 12, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I downloaded FF 16 but it does not restore previous sessions for me, so I reverted to previous version I had.

  2. jh said on August 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    looks awesome!

  3. justin said on July 22, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I am going to use firefox16

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