Firefox 53.0 release: find out what is new

The official release date of Firefox 53.0 is April 19th, 2017. Mozilla will release Firefox 53 on that day on its website, and through Firefox's automatic update system.

The new Firefox 53.0 release is important for a number of reasons. First, because it does not support a number of operating systems anymore. Second, because of the dropping of Firefox Aurora from the release cycle. You find details about these changes below.

Only Firefox Stable and Beta systems are updated on this release day. Firefox Stable is updated to 53, and Firefox Beta to 54. Aurora is not updated and removed soon, and Nightly is not updated to stay on version 55 to fill the gap that the removal of Aurora left. Firefox ESR 52.1 and 45.9 are also available.

Executive Summary

  • Windows XP, Windows Vista, 32-bit Mac OS X, and Linux support for processors older than Pentium 4 or AMD Opteron, are no longer supported.
  • Windows XP and Vista users on Firefox 52.x will receive security updates for another year, but no feature updates anymore.
  • Firefox Aurora is removed from the release cycle.
  • Firefox ships with two new compact themes (dark and light).
  • Compositor process enabled on qualifying Windows systems.
  • New legacy add-ons are no longer accepted on AMO.

Firefox 53.0 download and update

firefox 53.0 release

Firefox is configured to check for and download updates automatically. You can run manual checks for updates with a tap on the Alt-key on your keyboard, and the selection of Help > About Firefox from the menu bar.

The About Mozilla Firefox window checks for updates, and either downloads and installs any update it finds automatically, or on user request.

Direct download links for Firefox installation files:

Firefox 53.0 Changes

Firefox Aurora is out

firefox developer editon termination

We talked about the end of Firefox Aurora already here on Ghacks. Mozilla decided to remove the Aurora channel from the release cycle. The organization plans to migrate existing Aurora users to Beta eventually, and move features from Nightly to Beta directly in the future.

A special Developer Edition will be made available, based on Beta but with the same tweaks that the current Developer Edition ships with.

You can read more about the change by following the link above, or by visiting the FAQ page on the Mozilla website.

End of support for several operating systems

Firefox 53 won't support the following operating systems anymore:

  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista
  • 32-bit versions of Firefox on Mac OS X.
  • Processors older than Pentium 4 or AMD Opteron on Linux.

Mozilla plans to support the last working version for XP and Vista for some time going forward though. Users are migrated automatically to Firefox ESR, the Extended Support Release version of Firefox.

Mozilla plans to support XP and Vista versions of Firefox at least until September 2017. The organization plans to reveal the date supports end at the time, and will base it on the number of users who are still using XP or Vista.

More information is available on the Mozilla Support website, or our article on the subject.

Quantum Compositor on Windows

firefox quantum compositing

Mozilla Firefox 53.0 ships with a new GPU Process (Quantum Compositor) on supported Windows devices which reduces driver related crashes by 17%, Direct3D related crashes by 22%, and Direct3D accelerated video crashes by 11%.

Machines need to match the following requirements:

  • Windows 7 SP1 or up.
  • Multi-process enabled.
  • non-blacklisted graphics card.

That's about 25% of users according to Mozilla. To find out whether that is the case for your device, do the following:

  1. Load about:support in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Check for the entries GPUProcessPid and GPIPRocess under Diagnostics.

Compact Dark and Compact Light themes

compact themes firefox

Firefox 53.0 ships with two new themes that resemble those found in the Developer Edition. Compact Dark and Compact Light are available under Appearance on the about:addons page.

Simply click on the enable button next to one of the themes to activate it. The themes do away with the curved tabs, and change a couple of other interface elements on top of that. Also, Firefox has an official dark theme now that it ships with.

Set default Referrer-Policy

network http referer

Firefox users may set the default Referrer-Policy in Firefox by editing the network.http.referer.userControlPolicy preference. Basically, what the policy does is determine which referrer information should be included in the Referer header.

  1. Type about:config in the browser's address bar and hit the Enter-key.
  2. Confirm that you will be careful if the warning prompt appears.
  3. Search for network.http.referer.userControlPolicy. Set the value to one of the following supported values:
    • 0: no-referrer -- no referer information is included.
    • 1: same-origin -- referer will only be sent for same-origin requests.
    • 2: strict-origin-when-cross-origin -- full URL when a same-origin request is made, send origin for HTTPS to HTTPS requests, and no header to a less secure destinations.
    • 3: no-referrer-when-downgrade (default) -- Referer is sent from HTTPS to HTTPS, but not from HTTPS to HTTP.

The default is used whenever sites don't specify a Referrer-Policy. (see Bug 1304623)

Permission notifications changes

firefox-doorhanger notifications new design

The design of permission notifications that Firefox displays when websites request access to features such as the location has changed.

The dialog wont go away automatically anymore when you click somewhere on the page or switch tabs.

Other Firefox 53.0 changes

Developer Changes

Firefox 53.0 for Android

Out-of-process media decoding

Firefox 53.0 and newer versions of the Firefox browser for Android will handle media decoding out-of-process for improved performance on multi-core systems. (See Bug 1333323)

  • Right to Left language support (Arabic, Urdu, Hebrew and Persian).
  • Portrait mode supports two column tabs in the new version.
  • You may long-press on search suggestions to remove it from the browsing history.

Firefox 53.0.2

Firefox 53.0.2 was released on May 5th, 2017 to the stable channel. It features the following fixes and changes:

  1. Form validation errors and date picker panel visibility changes (1341190)
  2. The non-standard showDialog argument to window.find is now ignored (1348409)
  3. Security fixes

Firefox 53.0.3

Firefox 53.0.3 was released on May 19th, 2017 to the stable channel. The new version of Firefox ships with two fixes and one change:

  1. Fixed hangs when a proxy with NTLM authentication is used (1360574)
  2. Fixed "excessive resource usage" from the "captive portal detection service" (1359697)
  3. Bump preloaded security information expiration times (1364240)

Security updates / fixes

Security fixes are published after the release of Firefox 53. We will update the article once Mozilla publishes the update.

  • CVE-2017-5433: Use-after-free in SMIL animation functions
  • CVE-2017-5435: Use-after-free during transaction processing in the editor
  • CVE-2017-5436: Out-of-bounds write with malicious font in Graphite 2
  • CVE-2017-5461: Out-of-bounds write in Base64 encoding in NSS
  • CVE-2017-5459: Buffer overflow in WebGL
  • CVE-2017-5466: Origin confusion when reloading isolated data:text/html URL
  • CVE-2017-5434: Use-after-free during focus handling
  • CVE-2017-5432: Use-after-free in text input selection
  • CVE-2017-5460: Use-after-free in frame selection
  • CVE-2017-5438: Use-after-free in nsAutoPtr during XSLT processing
  • CVE-2017-5439: Use-after-free in nsTArray Length() during XSLT processing
  • CVE-2017-5440: Use-after-free in txExecutionState destructor during XSLT processing
  • CVE-2017-5441: Use-after-free with selection during scroll events
  • CVE-2017-5442: Use-after-free during style changes
  • CVE-2017-5464: Memory corruption with accessibility and DOM manipulation
  • CVE-2017-5443: Out-of-bounds write during BinHex decoding
  • CVE-2017-5444: Buffer overflow while parsing application/http-index-format content
  • CVE-2017-5446: Out-of-bounds read when HTTP/2 DATA frames are sent with incorrect data
  • CVE-2017-5447: Out-of-bounds read during glyph processing
  • CVE-2017-5465: Out-of-bounds read in ConvolvePixel
  • CVE-2017-5448: Out-of-bounds write in ClearKeyDecryptor
  • CVE-2017-5437: Vulnerabilities in Libevent library
  • CVE-2017-5454: Sandbox escape allowing file system read access through file picker
  • CVE-2017-5455: Sandbox escape through internal feed reader APIs
  • CVE-2017-5456: Sandbox escape allowing local file system access
  • CVE-2017-5469: Potential Buffer overflow in flex-generated code
  • CVE-2017-5445: Uninitialized values used while parsing application/http-index-format content
  • CVE-2017-5449: Crash during bidirectional unicode manipulation with animation
  • CVE-2017-5450: Addressbar spoofing using javascript: URI on Firefox for Android
  • CVE-2017-5451: Addressbar spoofing with onblur event
  • CVE-2017-5462: DRBG flaw in NSS
  • CVE-2017-5463: Addressbar spoofing through reader view on Firefox for Android
  • CVE-2017-5467: Memory corruption when drawing Skia content
  • CVE-2017-5452: Addressbar spoofing during scrolling with editable content on Firefox for Android
  • CVE-2017-5453: HTML injection into RSS Reader feed preview page through TITLE element
  • CVE-2017-5458: Drag and drop of javascript: URLs can allow for self-XSS
  • CVE-2017-5468: Incorrect ownership model for Private Browsing information
  • CVE-2017-5430: Memory safety bugs fixed in Firefox 53 and Firefox ESR 52.1
  • CVE-2017-5429: Memory safety bugs fixed in Firefox 53, Firefox ESR 45.9, and Firefox ESR 52.1

Additional information / sources

Now Read: The state of Mozilla Firefox

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Firefox 53.0 release: find out what is new
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Mozilla Firefox 53.0 Stable was released on April 19, 2017 to the public through the web browser's automatic update functionality, and on Mozilla's website.
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Responses to Firefox 53.0 release: find out what is new

  1. Tony April 19, 2017 at 7:46 am #

    Would love to see more bugfixes included. Important bugfixes got pushed to later versions.

  2. Firefox April 19, 2017 at 8:48 am #

    LOL! This compact themes looks so ugly like some 12 year old kid made it in 5 minutes.

    • firmaak April 19, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

      Thankfully, it's subjective. I prefer the dark theme to the one firefox ships with currently.

    • tortino April 20, 2017 at 5:20 pm #

      well I like them!

    • Sano May 2, 2017 at 8:06 pm #

      I love the dark one.

      Is it just me, or did Firefox just got faster ? I went from 51 to 53 and it feels smoother and all. I did have E10S enabled already.

      I don't think the GPU process is supposed to have such an effect, is it ?

  3. vosie April 19, 2017 at 9:06 am #

    "End of support for ... Windows XP"
    "New legacy add-ons are no longer accepted on AMO."

    In other words, Firefox got cancer and is now dying. The expected death of Firefox is 2017 November.

    • Appster April 19, 2017 at 9:49 am #

      While I agree with you regarding XUL/XPCOM add-ons, you really can't blame Mozilla for ending support for an OS that has been unsupported for three years now.

    • firmaak April 19, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

      No other browser supports XP. You should be grateful for the ESR, otherwise you'd have to stay on IE.

    • John April 19, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

      Agreed. November is when I officially switch to Vivaldi and begin using something other than Firefox for the first time in 14 years. If they somehow magically include the functionality of all the "legacy" add-ons I'm using, I'll consider staying. Otherwise…

      • Timvde April 19, 2017 at 6:15 pm #

        So you expect Vivaldi to magically include the functionality of all the legacy add-ons you're using? It's not even close for me :/ Your best bet is probably staying on 52 ESR for the near future, and hoping that the WebExtension situation improved by then.

      • www.com April 20, 2017 at 6:08 am #

        What Timvde said. Why wait until November. Do you really think they'll delay ending XP support then?

        Make your change now if you truly want to be committed to what you say. Otherwise it's all vaporware.

    • Anonymous April 20, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

      For XP whiners.

  4. Appster April 19, 2017 at 9:47 am #

    @Martin: Firefox 45.9 ESR is out as well.

  5. Clairvaux April 19, 2017 at 9:51 am #

    "New legacy add-ons are no longer accepted on AMO."

    What does that mean ?

    • Martin Brinkmann April 19, 2017 at 10:25 am #

      Developers may no longer submit new add-ons if they are not WebExtensions.

      • Clairvaux April 19, 2017 at 11:09 am #

        Ah, thanks. It's this AMO thing that got me off board, but I've googled it now.

  6. Julien April 19, 2017 at 10:42 am #

    Hello!
    About the Quantum compositor, how can we know which graphics cards are blacklisted?
    'Cause I don't have this function in FF 53, while i'm using an Intel HD graphics 4600 chip.
    (otherwise I have win 8.1 and e10s enabled)
    Thank you!

  7. Tom Hawack April 19, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

    As always with Firefox updates I've uninstalled present version to proceed to a clean install.
    Firefox 53.0 does not start. At all. Task Manager confirms.
    I created a new dummy profile with Firefox Profile Manager : Firefox 53.0 starts.
    Hence, the culprit is in my profile. In a user.js setting? No idea. Odd. never encountered this before.
    Back to Firefox 52.0.2 with restored backuped profile (in case FF53 would have modified whatever).
    Investigating.

  8. pd April 19, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    The rapid release finally catches up ... was wondering how long it would be before we saw a release with fewer new features than those taken away.

    A dialog that can't be ignored? OMGawd, it's back to the future! Can't wait for all the 'usabiilty' heroes to bitch about that. After all, in their eyes, even something as critical as security can't "get in the way" of a user's precious right to have anything and everything load/run and potentially have it's way with users who are all highly computer literate.

  9. Anonymous April 19, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    >> Use of a separate content process for file:// urls (See Bug 1323700)

    browser.tabs.remote.separateFileUriProcess is still "false"
    Bug 1323700 is about "copy full CSS path" option

    >> Search added to large select fields in Firefox.

    dom.forms.selectSearch also dose not enabled in release.

  10. Stechy April 19, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

    These new themes are not as bad as I was expected. I deactivated CTR and TMP to test them and I was pleasantly surprised. They are compact and quite usable, especially on my laptop where I gain some vertical screen; I'm not a GUI fanatic, so if it's practical it works for me. When CTR will die I see a chance to go forward with the black compact theme, BUT only if TMP will become a workable WE... (the tabs are a nightmare in usability without TMP)

    • John April 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm #

      Stetchy: All indication are that we will lose most if not all TMP functionality in Firefox 57. I found that Vivaldi has built-in support for most of the TMP features I use so I'll be making that switch come November.

  11. TelV April 19, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

    I think they should rename the themes "Compact Invisible" since the font is almost the same colour as the background which makes it almost impossible to read unless you happen to have 20/20 vision.

    Thank God for NoSquint Plus for use on sites which use the same inane colour combination.

  12. Debbie Kearns April 19, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but Firefox 53 and 45.9.0 are STILL not released yet! I'm very worried. When will these stable versions be released? :(

  13. Mozinet April 19, 2017 at 7:30 pm #

    It's GPUProcess and not GPIPRocess.

  14. Tom Hawack April 19, 2017 at 7:49 pm #

    Just discovered why Firefox 53 wouldn't run as I mentioned here earlier : the culprit is an add-on and its name is StartupMaster. Be sure to remove it before installing Firefox 53 because removing it afterwards won't allow changing the password.

    I really like StartupMaster. Why doesn't Firefox propose this add-on's functionality? The user is asked for his master password on Firefox start, so obvious.

  15. Debbie Kearns April 19, 2017 at 7:55 pm #

    Well, at least the Firefox versions are released, but no sign of Firefox 52.1.0 version yet.

  16. XenoSilvano April 19, 2017 at 10:27 pm #

    I am currently using a portable version of Firefox 53, neither 'GPUProcessPid' or 'GPIProcess' appear on the 'about:support' page

  17. Tim April 20, 2017 at 12:48 am #

    "Media playback on new tabs is blocked until the tab is visible."

    Unfortunately this isn't working for me on YouTube.

    • Xahid April 20, 2017 at 10:08 am #

      yes, the whole youtube is blocked.
      and I can't figure out how to enable media playback?

    • Anonymous April 20, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

      Get YouTube plus and disable autoplay.

  18. FiredFixx April 20, 2017 at 8:16 am #

    - OLD 2012 carry over Notes To Self -

    if you want to modify the "Default Skin" moz says start here: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Tech/XUL/Tutorial/Modifying_the_Default_Skin (it doesn't ****ing work but what the heck it's official, even though they killed the Borders, Language and Culture. heh)

    Where's this UserChrome.css editor in Firefox located? Oh that's right it's not. Yet it's referred to still all the time. So use the plugin ChromeEdit Plus (for how long if that URL goes down again? okay then softpedia, then wayback, but still point is Moz failure, should be IN the browser like about:config about:Userconfig.css + no reboot == dead horse pipe dream)

    Also if your looking for stuff to put in Userchrome.css it's going to be pretty much a BLACK ART.

    How about another WYSIWYG editor? or something, Netscape was better in this respect, todays fox even the stupid View Page Source context = rotten stuff. For how many years?

    There is only xul and xul is now dead at moz's house. Ironic considering after a decade I finally starting to LEARN xul.. OR at least enough to take apart some xul;s and make em work on palemoon. Yeah unscheduled maintenance without a tech manual. THATS ME

    stacking my golden modified xul's and joined the church of palemoon

    off to /dev/null the programmers that talk smack.

  19. Tom Hawack April 20, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

    Firefox 53 is indeed a major release; IMO the first true step towards what is announced for Firefox 57.

    I've spent half-a-day testing it and my conclusion, considering my system, my established Firefox environment with its 70+ add-ons, my requirements is that I will remain using Firefox 52.0.2.

    I don't know what's behind the scene and what is constitutive of officially declared enhancements but here I'm not convinced. And, as I said, I've spent hours testing. Something ain't right as far as I'm concerned.

    A major issue is the impossibility to trigger the FIPS mode (Options / Advanced / Security Devices / Enable FIPS).
    I like the FIPS mode, it's hardly ever mentioned on the Web, maybe because considered as obsolete, outmoded. remains it's a great tool IMO to enhance a user's privacy provided he uses Firefox built-in password manager together with a master password. This issue itself is major for me.

    Then we have, simply put, the user's experience, like driving a new car, the first impressions. Mine aren't very good. Startup is slower, rendering isn't as swift as with FF52, I encountered oddities with pages including about:blank frames in their pages... it's just weird.

    Not for me. If this is tomorrow's Firefox first model then I'm bound for ESR. Yet, I'll wait and see what FF54 has to propose : : if things improve it'll be FF54, otherwise the way will be to ESR not to mention Pale Moon which is now a true possibility for me.

    My feeling is that Mozilla is concentrating on WebExtensions and Electrolysis, less on side effects and less even on the fundamentals of a browser. It's been said and repeated and looks like I'd agree, moreover with this FF53 experience.

    • tortino April 20, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

      Hi, it's first time I heard about FIPS, so I checked in the options page in Firefox 55 Nightly, and I see a FIPS option.
      Can you kindly explain me what is missing in Firefox 53 because I didn't undestand.
      Thanks in advance.

      • Tom Hawack April 20, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

        Hi tortino,
        I didn't say anything was missing, I wrote that this FIPS mode wouldn't trigger to enabled in Firefox 53. I experienced a message of the form "Unable to enable FIPS, please close the page and try again". That's all and that's the problem.

        FIPS requires a strong master password already in place, SSL3.0 disabled, minimum TLS1.0 enabled. Those conditions were in place as well. FF53 just wouldn't set the FIPS mode, and I don't know why.

        FIPS is more then enhancing the passwords encryption. For instance a user won't be able to access a whatever https site if he hasn't entered first his master password (sort of Firefox login).

        I have an add-on which calls an https server when FF is launched. If FIPS is enabled and the master password hasn't been provided the connection won't initiate. That's nice but bothering on startup, which is why I use an add-on called StartupMaster which asks the user for his master password at the very opening of Firefox. Happens that this add-on fails with FF53 as well : to summarize, with FF53 neither FIPS nor the StartupMaster add-on .. maybe does this explain partially my disappointment with FF53, even if, as I explained, there was more to it than that FIPS issue.

    • tortino April 20, 2017 at 7:15 pm #

      Hi Tom,
      thanks for your explanation! I just added a master password and tried to enable FIPS on my firefox 55 but I got an error, maybe the same error you got.
      Probably it's this bug: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1337950
      Thanks.

      • Tom Hawack April 20, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

        Great, providential link you publish here, tortino. Most appreciated. Gives substance to my experience.

        The bug was reported for Firefox 53.0a2, I confirmed with FF53 and you with FF55 Nightly.
        Reading the comments on Bugzilla leaves little hope for FIPS being corrected but the debate does illustrate the fact that it should be or otherwise removed, and the argument for keeping it is that several companies care for it.

        No idea. My feeling is that it will be removed.

        Fortunately I always advance with backups because otherwise I would have experienced the loss of my passwords as described on Bugzilla. I did indeed experience the total inability to even open Firefox 53 (as I described yesterday here above) because moreover Master Password was handled by the add-on I mentioned, 'StartupMaster' ... when at the time I didn't know the immediate culprit was 'StartupMaster' to later on discover that FIPS itself was concerned. That was quite a day : I have 70+ add-ons and I can tell you that trying to find the reason why FF53 doesn't start at all in those conditions wakes you up more than a power-coffee :)

        Well, thanks again for this link/info. At least I understand better and, well, as we say 'sometimes) understanding helps to forgive!

      • Tom Hawack April 21, 2017 at 11:39 am #

        I've shifted from Firefox 52.0.2 to Firefox ESR 52.1 (clean install as always) and all is fine. I don't encounter the Firefox 53 issues I mentioned previously and I have the security updates in place. Et voila. Tranquility until Q1-2018.

  20. Jose April 21, 2017 at 1:01 am #

    Now when you minimize a Tab the media stops playing so you can no longer Multi-task and listen to the playback or use tab preview while working or checking emails. :(

    Anyone know how to Disable this feature and put the tab back to the way it was before so it still plays while minimized?

  21. Anonymous April 21, 2017 at 3:44 am #

    GPU-process requires Win7 SP7 and this update actually https://www.microsoft.com/en-US/download/details.aspx?id=36805

  22. Daniel April 22, 2017 at 1:06 am #

    upgraded to 53.0 after 52.x. In 53.0 my right click context menu is hidden but still there and does actions if i click on the screen. The don't subscribe notification on this website also seems to do something but be hidden under the firefox window. This is in a fully updated win 10 system

    • Daniel April 22, 2017 at 1:27 am #

      "Fixed" by closing World of warships which was in my background. All context menus like bookmarks, right click or website click boxes were being shoved behind that application. Had never happened before with FF and WOWS.

  23. George April 22, 2017 at 2:01 am #

    The beginning of the end - to be concluded with Firefox 57.

  24. Robert Ab April 23, 2017 at 10:22 am #

    Do you know if/when Firefox or any other browser will support 1080p Netflix movies in Win7?
    https://help.netflix.com/en/node/23742
    Currently, all major browsers support in Win7 only 720p.
    IE11 uses Silverlight 5 to play 720p in Win7 (IE11 plays 1080p in Win8.1 and Win10 using HTML5 player).
    Firefox and Chrome support max resolution 720p in Win7, Win8.1, Win10 (HTML5).

    • George April 23, 2017 at 2:42 pm #

      You got it backwards. It's not the browsers that don't support Netflix, but the other way round.

      If Netflix themselves decide -as they currently do- to only work properly with a few particular configurations that doesn't include yours, then dumping Netflix is the sensible thing to do, unless you like them (or anyone else) dictate you how to use the Internet and what kind of software/hardware you should be using.

  25. xxx April 23, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

    Martin,

    You forgot to change Firefox version the "Recent Updates" in the right sidebar.

    Just my reminder. :)

  26. Kubrick April 23, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

    Just installed firefox this english sunday morning and it runs superbly here on linux.

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