Firefox 36 will be released to the public on February 24th, 2015 by Mozilla.
All Firefox channels are moved up a version on the release day which means that Firefox Stable installations are moved to version 36, Beta versions to 37, Developer versions to 38 and Nightly installations to 39.
Firefox Extended Support Release builds are also updated to version 31.5 on the day.
The easiest way to find out which version (and channel) of the browser you are running is to type about:support in the browser's address bar.
The page that is loaded displays various information about the browser including the current version and channel under application basics near the top.
Firefox 36 download and update
All Firefox updates are already listed on Mozilla's public FTP server. The updates are made available in two different ways to the general public.
Most Firefox installations will be updated automatically thanks to the browser's built-in update feature.
To check for updates manually tap on the Alt-key on the keyboard and select Help > About Firefox from the menu that opens up.
The second option to obtain the update is to download it from Mozilla once it becomes available on the site.
While it may be tempting to download the release early from the FTP server, last minute changes may invalidate it which can lead to all kinds of issues.
Firefox 36 Changes
Firefox 36 is a minor update in many regards but it includes several important changes under the hood that may impact functionality.
Full HTTP/2 support
This is an important addition to Firefox. HTTP/2 landed recently in its final form which needs to be integrated into web browsers so that users can benefit from it.
HTTP/2 is an update of the original HTTP protocol promising faster browsing, reduced bandwidth usage and secure connection improvements.
While Firefox 36 supports the final h2 protocol for negotiation, not all features of it are implemented in the version as Mozilla engineer Patrick McManus notes on his personal blog.
Partial Media Source Extensions (MSE) support
Partial support for MSE was added to Firefox to support native HTML5 playback on YouTube. A quick check on YouTube revealed that Flash is still used when available in Firefox 36 and that you need to request the HTML5 player if Flash is installed.
If Flash is not installed or if it is disabled, the HTML5 player is automatically used on the site. This implementation is limited to select video resolutions only. You may notice that the highest resolution available is 720p when you use the HTML Flash player on YouTube in Firefox 36.
This changes when you set the parameter media.mediasource.enabled to true.
- Type about:config in the address bar and hit enter.
- Confirm you will be careful if the prompt appears.
- Search for media.mediasource.enabled.
- Double-click the entry to set it to true.
Once done, higher resolutions become available on YouTube.
Flash's protected mode sandbox can be disabled on Windows
Protected Mode runs Flash Player as a low integrity process. While that is useful to most Firefox users, some experienced issues that they linked to protected mode.
You can disable the mode in the Firefox configuration. Mozilla plans to disable the mode completely in Firefox 37.
- Type about:config and hit enter.
- Find dom.ipc.plugins.flash.disable-protected-mode.
- Double-click the preference to set it to true.
The procedure disables protected mode in Firefox. You can verify that this is indeed the case by monitoring Flash process in the Task Manager. If you see plugin-container.exe in the task manager when Flash contents are running it is disabled.
Add-on compatibility changes
Several changes went into Firefox 36 that may affect add-on compatibility. What this means is that some add-ons may stop working completely or partially once you update the browser to version 36 of Firefox.
You find the list of add-on compatibility affecting changes on the official Mozilla blog.
- Pinned tiles on the new tab page are included in Firefox Sync.
- The -remote startup parameter has been removed from Firefox. It was used to execute commands in an already running instance of the browser (e.g. open a new url)
- Uzbek locale added.
- Insecure RC4 ciphers are no longer accepted if possible (link)
- 1024-bit RSA keys are phased out.
- The Crash Reporter is displayed when the shut down hangs.
- Connect Developer Tools and Firefox for Android using WebIDE (link)
- Promise rich output in the web console (link)
- Additional paste options in markup view (link)
- Support for meta name="referrer" added (link)
- EMCAScript 6 Symbol data type enabled by default (link)
- Improved ES6 generators (link)
Firefox for Android
The Firefox 36 for Android update shares the majority of changes with the desktop version of the web browser.
There are only two changes unique to the Android version:
- Maithili locale added to Android Lollipop devices
- New Tablet user interface. Additional information about the new tablet UI are available on this website.
Security updates / fixes
Mozilla releases information about security updates and fixes after the final version of Firefox has been available for some time. They are added as soon as they become available.
- 2015-17Buffer overflow in libstagefright during MP4 video playback
- 2015-16Use-after-free in IndexedDB
- 2015-15TLS TURN and STUN connections silently fail to simple TCP connections
- 2015-14Malicious WebGL content crash when writing strings
- 2015-13Appended period to hostnames can bypass HPKP and HSTS protections
- 2015-12Invoking Mozilla updater will load locally stored DLL files
- 2015-11Miscellaneous memory safety hazards (rv:36.0 / rv:31.5)
Additional information / sources
- Firefox 36 release notes
- Firefox 36 Android release notes
- Add-on compatibility for Firefox 36
- Firefox 36 for developers
- Site compatibility for Firefox 36
- Firefox Security Advisories
Now Read: Firefox Release Schedule