Firefox 42 will be unveiled officially on November 3, 2015 by Mozilla. This guide walks you through the core changes and feature editions of Firefox 42 for the desktop and Android.
All other Firefox channels will receive updates as well on this date. In particular, this means that Firefox Beta will be updated to Firefox Beta 43, Firefox Developer Edition to version 44, Firefox Nightly to version 45, and Firefox ESR to version 38.4.
The information you find below covers only Firefox 42 and no version that is still in development. I suggest you check out our Firefox category here on Ghacks if you are interested in keeping an eye on future changes as we cover those regularly here.
Firefox 42 is a big update that brings along with it notable new features and the long awaited 64-bit version of the browser for Windows.
If you are running Firefox already you may use the internal update checker to download and install the new version. Please note that updates may not yet be available depending on when you are reading this post.
To check for updates tap on the Alt-key on your keyboard, and select Help > About from the menu that opens up.
This displays the current version of the web browser and whether an update is available. If it is, it may either be downloaded and installed automatically or manually depending on the update settings of the browser.
If you are new or want to download an installer instead, use the following links to do just that.
Special Case: Firefox 32-bit to 64-bit
You cannot upgrade a 32-bit version of Firefox to 64-bit directly. What you need to do instead is download and install the 64-bit version, and have it use the Firefox profile that you are using in the 32-bit version so that you don't lose any data in the process.
I suggest that you create a backup of the profile before you do that though to be on the safe side.
How do you know if you are running a 64-bit version of Firefox? Load about:buildconfig in the browser's address bar and check the "target" string under build platform. If you see "64 in the string you are running a 64-bit version of the browser.
The introduction of 64-bit stable builds are not the only important change in Firefox 42.
Private Browsing with Tracking Protection
Originally designed to come out with Firefox 39, Tracking Protection is finally launching in this version of the web browser.
It is an add-on for the browser's private browsing mode that blocks a selection of web trackers automatically in that mode.
To enable or disable it, load about:preferences#privacy in the browser's address bar and check or uncheck the "Use Tracking Protection in Private Windows" box on the Privacy page once it opens.
The effect? A comparison of the loading time of the top 200 Alexa websites came to the conclusion that load time dropped by 44% on average with Tracking Protection enabled. In addition, it reduced the average data usage by 39% and the number of HTTP cookies set on the system by 67.5%.
New Control Center with site security and privacy controls
A new shield icon is displayed under certain conditions in regular browsing and private browsing mode.
In regular mode, it will tell you if the connection to the site is secure or not. In private browsing mode, information about trackers found on the page and controls to disable the Tracking Protection feature are added.
Audio indicators and one-click audio muting
Audio indicators and muting options are finally available in all versions of Firefox. The browser indicates if audio is playing in any of the tabs open in it with an icon that it adds to the right side of the page title.
You may click on the icon to toggle the audio at any time to either mute the audio or unmute it. Please note that this won't affect playback of the media content on the page in any way though.
This can be very useful to indicate where audio is coming from, especially if it starts playing in the background, for instance when triggered by advertisement or an auto-playing video on a page.
Most changes made to the Android version are identical to those of the desktop version. This is true for Tracking Protection in private browsing for example or under the hood improvements.
The changes listed below are exclusive to Firefox 42 for Android.
Mozilla reveals security patches after the official release. We will update the review as soon as they become available.
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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.