Firefox 56.0: find out what is new
Mozilla will release Firefox 56.0 to the Stable channel on September 29th, 2017. The new Firefox version will be made available to all users of the Stable channel.
The new version of the browser can best be described as a minor release in anticipation of the biggest Firefox release in history: Firefox 57.
All Firefox channels are or have been updated to a new release version. Firefox Stable to version 56, Firefox Beta and Developer to version 57, and Firefox Nightly to version 58. The Firefox ESR update brings the version to 52.4.
- Firefox 56 is the last Stable version of Firefox that supports legacy add-ons. Firefox 57 Stable will support only WebExtensions.
- Firefox on Android ends support for devices running Android 4.0.
- Firefox for Android does not support Flash anymore.
- The Firefox Page Shot tool is available universally now.
Firefox 56.0 download and update
Existing Firefox users who have automatic updates enabled in the browser -- which is the default setting -- will be updated automatically to Firefox 56.0 once Mozilla publishes it. Firefox does not check for updates in real-time though; you can run a manual check for updates by selecting Menu > Help > About Firefox.
Firefox displays the current version in a new window, and runs an update check to find out if a new version is available. This new version will be downloaded and installed automatically by default if that is the case.
Direct download links for Firefox installation files:
- Firefox Stable download
- Firefox Beta download
- Nightly download
- Firefox ESR download
- Firefox unbranded builds information
Firefox 56.0 Changes
Firefox's built-in Page Shot tool is available to all users of the browser now. The tool lets you capture part of a web page or all of it, and save it locally or online for easy sharing.
Check out our overview of Firefox Screenshots here. It explains how the tool works, and how you can disable it in case you don't need it.
Firefox preferences changes
Firefox 56.0 ships with a redesigned preferences interface that introduces new features and changes to it. You can load about:preferences to open the starting page of the Firefox options, or click on Menu and select Options from it to do the same.
One major change is the integration of a search field that you may use to find preferences quickly. Type cookies for instance, and you get all cookies related preferences displayed to you so that you may interact with them directly.
The preferences display four entry points instead of the larger number of pages in Firefox 56.0. You may load them using the following addresses:
- General: about:preferences#general
- Search: about:preferences#search
- Privacy & Security: about:preferences#privacy
- Firefox account: about:preferences#sync
We talked about the change back in early 2017 when it rolled out to Nightly versions. Basically, what the redesign means is that you do less clicking but more scrolling to go through all of the preferences.
Mozilla notes that it has updated descriptions to make it clearer how settings affect browsing.
Other Firefox 56.0 changes
- Firefox won't auto-play media anymore that is opened in a background tab.
- Hardware acceleration support for AES-GCM (most widely used cipher according to Mozilla). Performance improvements on all desktop systems.
- Safe Browsing protocol updated to version 4.
- Security improvements for verifying file downloads.
- Updates are roughly 20% smaller in size when they are downloaded via Firefox's built-in updating system.
- New Rust character encoding standard-compliant implementation.
- Form Autofill rollout to En-US.
Firefox 56.0 Issues
- Firefox may crash on startup if RelevantKnowledge adware is installed on the device. Remove it by running software such as AdwCleaner, Malwarebytes Free, or other security software.
- 64-bit versions of Firefox may crash on Windows 7 if Lenovo's "OneKey Theater" software is installed. Mozilla suggests to re-install a 32-bit version of Firefox to fix the issue.
- rel="preload" implemented to preload resources that can be cached. (bug 1222633)
- Intl API enabled on Android (bug 1344625)
- Firefox for Android does not support plugins anymore. (bug 1381916)
- URLs are encoded internally by Gecko using punycode to avoid encoding issues. (bug 945240)
- Firefox on Windows and on Mac OS X can be run in headless mode using the -headless flag. (bug 1355150 and bug 1355147)
- Lots of WebExtensions changes (see developer link in the resource section below for a full list).
- Support for <applet> has been dropped.
Firefox 56.0 for Android
Only a handful of changes in Firefox for Android, but they are major:
- Flash support is discontinued.
- Firefox for Android does not support Android 4.0 anymore.
- Performance and power consumption improvements for WebRTC through the use of hardware encoders.
- Support for WebExtensions improved.
Security updates / fixes
Security changes are announced after the official release. We will update the review when Mozilla publishes them.
- CVE-2017-7793: Use-after-free with Fetch API
- CVE-2017-7817: Firefox for Android address bar spoofing through fullscreen mode
- CVE-2017-7818: Use-after-free during ARIA array manipulation
- CVE-2017-7819: Use-after-free while resizing images in design mode
- CVE-2017-7824: Buffer overflow when drawing and validating elements with ANGLE
- CVE-2017-7805: Use-after-free in TLS 1.2 generating handshake hashes
- CVE-2017-7812: Drag and drop of malicious page content to the tab bar can open locally stored files
- CVE-2017-7814: Blob and data URLs bypass phishing and malware protection warnings
- CVE-2017-7825: OS X fonts render some Tibetan and Arabic unicode characters as spaces
- CVE-2017-7815: Spoofing attack with modal dialogs on non-e10s installations
- CVE-2017-7816: WebExtensions can load about: URLs in extension UI
- CVE-2017-7821: WebExtensions can download and open non-executable files without user interaction
- CVE-2017-7823: CSP sandbox directive did not create a unique origin
- CVE-2017-7822: WebCrypto allows AES-GCM with 0-length IV
- CVE-2017-7820: Xray wrapper bypass with new tab and web console
- CVE-2017-7811: Memory safety bugs fixed in Firefox 56
- CVE-2017-7810: Memory safety bugs fixed in Firefox 56 and Firefox ESR 52.4
Firefox 56.0.1 was released on October 9, 2017 to the stable channel. It comes with the following two changes:
- Migration of 32-bit Firefox users on 64-bit systems of Windows to 64-bit Firefox.
- D3D11 is blocked when Intel drivers are used on Windows 7 with partial AVX support.
A larger list of known issues has been posted as well that are not resolved yet:
- Fullscreen mode issues on Mac OS X High Sierra.
- Startup crash if RelevantKnowledge is installed.
- Audio playback may be disabled for Firefox for Windows users who run the browser over a Remote Desktop Connection (RDP). Mitigation here.
- Startup crashes on 64-bit versions of Firefox on Windows 7 with Lenovo's Onekey Theater software installed. Mozilla suggested to run 32-bit Firefox.
Firefox 56.0.2 has been released on October 26, 2017 to the stable channel. The new version fixes the following issues:
- A fix for a crash on shutdown.
- Fixes for crashes related to video on Windows 7.
- Correct detection for 64-bit GSSAPI authentication.
- Disable form autofill feature on user request.
Additional information / sources
- Firefox 56 release notes
- Firefox 56.0.1 release notes
- Firefox 56 Android release notes
- Add-on compatibility for Firefox 56
- Firefox 56 for Developers
- Site compatibility for Firefox 56
- Firefox Security Advisories
- Firefox Release Schedule
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