Most Firefox components are set to auto-update whenever a new version gets released by Mozilla or an author of an extension, theme or plugin. This is true for the browser itself but also for add-ons and themes that you may have installed in the browser. While there are options to change that default behavior to install add-on updates manually instead, it is fair to assume that the majority of Firefox users use the automatic updates feature.
One of the issues associated with automatic updates, besides the obvious lack of testing on the end user system before it is applied to the productive system, is that it is relatively easy to miss update notifications. It is hard to tell what has been updated unless you will notice a difference in the user interface or behavior of the browser.
This is all going to change with the introduction of the recent updates log that Mozilla added to the most recent Nightly test version of the web browser today.
The recent updates list is a log that lists all recent changes made to the browser in regards to the browser's core, themes, add-ons and plugins. All of these different types of files are listed together on a single page so that you know exactly what has changed in recent time in the browser.
The update log looks a lot like the extensions listing on first glance and it provides you many of the features available in that menu. You can enable, disable or remove extensions and themes here for example. The list can only be sorted in chronological order, either with the newest or oldest updates on top.
The recent updates listing serves a couple of purposes in my opinion. First, it lets you find out what changed recently in the browser which can be helpful if you are troubleshooting issues that you are experiencing.If an add-on or the browser itself behaves different for instance, you may find out why in the update log. Second, it improves the overall security if you check the update log frequently to make sure nothing slipped by and got installed automatically.
The recent updates listing on the about:addons page is definitely a welcome change, especially if you combine it with helpful extensions such as Current Pushlog which highlights changes made during Firefox browser updates.
Update: As some readers have pointed out, the feature has been there in Firefox for quite some time (since Firefox 4 at least). You can display the extra menu on the extensions manager by clicking on the gear icon and selecting the view recent updates context menu item.
There is also an add-on available that displays more items there which can be really useful if you find the default listing insufficient.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.