Mozilla has big plans for Firefox for Android

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 4, 2018

Mozilla has put Firefox for Android into maintenance mode while it is working on something big for Android that it plans to release in 2019.

A message by Emily Kager on Twitter confirms that Mozilla's development team for Firefox for Android is putting most development resources into something that Mozilla won't reveal just yet fully.

The message on Twitter suggests that whatever is coming will be based on Android Components and that it will land in the next year.

Fennec will stay on Bugzilla but isn’t very actively being worked on right now, but Android Components will the basis of big things on Android in the next year!

firefox for android

Maintenance mode means that Firefox for Android will receive bug fixes and security updates for the most part; users should not expect a massive number of new features in the web browser for as long as it is in maintenance mode but Firefox for Android can be used just like before.

Firefox for Android received a number of important updates throughout 2018 so far. There was Quantum CSS in Firefox 60 which improved CSS rendering, support for HLS videos and progressive web apps, support for FLAC, permanent tracking protection, support for custom tabs, and a lot more.

Things calmed down with the release of Firefox 61 for Android which did not include a massive list of new features and the same will be true for Firefox 62 for Android and future versions that will be released in 2018.

While it is unclear what Mozilla has in store for Firefox on Android, it is clear that the organization bases it on Android Components.

Android Components is a collection of Android libraries to build browsers or browser-like applications. It is an open source project and it is quite possible that Mozilla is working on a new version of Firefox for Android based on Android Components.

One advantage of basing it on the collection of libraries is that Mozilla can use it for all of its browser projects for Android. The company has released and supports Firefox Focus / Firefox Klar, Firefox Rocket, and other Firefox-based apps such as Firefox for Firefox TV or Firefox Reality right now. The list of apps for Android is growing and unifying the backbone makes a lot of sense from a development point of view.

Sören Hentzschel speculates that the Android browser project Fenix could be the next version of Firefox for Android. He admits that there is no indication whether that is really the case, or if Fenix is  a demo or test project for Android components.

Android users who run Firefox right now can continue to do so as the browser will work just like before. Mozilla will patch bugs and security issues so that the mobile browser remains in a workable state.

It is unlikely on the other hand that the browser's marketshare will rise significantly in 2018 considering that it is in maintenance mode. Whether the release of a big update or an entire new browser will shake things up on Android remains to be seen.

Now You: which browser do you use currently on your mobile devices?

Mozilla has big plans for Firefox for Android
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Mozilla has big plans for Firefox for Android
Mozilla has put Firefox for Android into maintenance mode while it is working on something big for Android that it plans to release in 2019.
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  1. Daniel said on August 18, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    Neither Fenix nor Focus currently support Web Extensions. Its like Firefox’s one key-differentiator on Android.

  2. Anonymous said on July 9, 2018 at 4:35 am

    The constant rebranding only leads to fatigue and confusion among consumers. Moshilla should just stick to making a single lightweight browser.

  3. cethoss said on July 5, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    Earlier comments made me want to switch to Firefox on all my devices. Thank you guys with no historical consciousness whatsoever.

  4. John Fenderson said on July 5, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    “which browser do you use currently on your mobile devices?”

    I rarely browse from mobile devices, but what I do, I use Boat. I don’t recommend it, though, as I have not done a security audit of it.

    Android Firefox is so agonizingly slow that it is quite literally unusable for me.

  5. Ben said on July 4, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    FF since I want an adblocker.
    Working fine, I don’t have much issues with it.
    But you have to close it properly otherwise it will stay in the background and constantly stress your CPU and thus draining your battery.

  6. Future Perfect said on July 4, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Samsung Internet Browser has been much faster for me on Android than other browsers, as well as very easy to use. Also has ad and tracking blocking via extensions.

    1. Mike W. said on July 5, 2018 at 6:26 pm

      Ditto on a vote for Samsung Internet. I don’t own a Samsung device, but it works perfect for me on both higher end and lower end devices. Add on AdGuard and it is a great experience. Only wish it was from a more trustworthy company, but I don’t do much serious browsing on my mobile devices anyway.

  7. Daniel said on July 4, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    There is plenty on the Roadmap for Firefox for Android this year. No need to speculate.

  8. Frank said on July 4, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Who needs Firefox on Android when there’s Brave?

    1. John Fenderson said on July 5, 2018 at 7:50 pm

      People who want nothing to do with Brave, of course.

    2. Anonymous said on July 5, 2018 at 5:14 am

      Well, who needs Brave when there’s Firefox for Android?

      I don’t think, Brave offers the features that I can get in Firefox by installing extensions such as:
      – Dark Mode
      – Decentraleyes
      – Fennec TextWrap
      – I don’t care about cookies
      – NoScript

    3. Kwasiarz said on July 4, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      Can you install uBO in Brave? Yeah…

  9. Paul(us) said on July 4, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Mozilla Firefox.
    Even when its a bit simple like it is nowadays. But the add-on’s possibility makes up for a lot!

  10. joker said on July 4, 2018 at 11:49 am

    @Mk9 said


    I know, right? The guy should start his own blog where he can laugh about his own jokes whenever he wants without tagging sites like this with garbage.

  11. a said on July 4, 2018 at 11:47 am

    @ Anonymous said

    “I do not trust Mozilla anymore.”

    Who cares?

    1. Anonymous said on July 5, 2018 at 7:29 am
  12. ambph said on July 4, 2018 at 9:24 am

    servo based browser i believe

    1. Anonymous said on July 5, 2018 at 5:04 am

      Nah, Servo as a whole is far from ready and in fact might never get finished. It’s a research project and components from it have made their way into Firefox, which is the whole purpose.

      Just consider that Firefox is being developed full-pelt by Mozilla and they’re still behind on web-standards (just like any other browser is). So, they’d have to more than double their development capacity in order to be able to have Servo catch up.

      Which is to some degree remedied by sharing components, for example developments made in Firefox’s new CSS engine are going to fall through to Servo with almost no additional cost, and by being able to skip certain chapters of the internet, like ActiveX or Flash, but it’s still a massive undertaking to get Servo up to modern levels.

    2. mo said on July 4, 2018 at 3:28 pm

      That is what I am waiting for.

      Wonder what happened to Samsung/Mozilla collaboration mobile browser?

  13. user1823 said on July 4, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Conversation at Mozilla HQ (100 Marketing people, 1 dev):

    Dev: Guys, I’m looking at these Android Components, and it’s a bit overwhelming. I might need a couple of months to get into this.

    Marketing: That’s awesome. Let’s call it Maintanance Mode. Gary, put out a blog explaining Maintanance Mode. Stefan, head over to Reddit and do an AMA! We’ll give you 3 community managers. Barbara, we’ll send you around the world doing interviews, just take the private plane. This is the spirit of open source! We’ll save the web!

    Dev: Honestly I might not even get to finish this in 2018.

    Marketing: Emergency meeting! I see everyone in room 8.

    (after emergency meeting)

    Marketing: So we brainstormed and had a diverse and inclusive meeting where only women were allowed to speak and we decided that Emily will put out an obscure tweet where she promises something “big”. This will keep everyone excited.

    Dev: What are the plans for the actual browser?

    Marketing: What is a browser?

    1. pd said on July 4, 2018 at 2:38 pm


      Are you a former writer for Dilbert the TV series? I can see that very script being played out Dilbert style. Wally is the 1 dev, of course.

      Hopefully we’ll soon get Firefox Gruntmaster … 6000, soon.

      Unfortunatley though, you forgot to mention the ritual shaming of all white heterosexual males who ever a) held a position of leadership and an independant moral compass; b) wrote a single line of code for Mozilla. Apparently this is how the femeetings start.

      They end with the stabbing of voodoo dolls that resemble the eejiots who decided to invest millions into converting a browser engine to the 3rd mobile OS nobody needed, for all those ‘3rd world’ phones that apparently Android could never satisfy. All whilst a single-threaded, memory-bloated Gecko lost market share hand over fist.

      But I think we can all agree on the appropriateness of that.

    2. vq34t5q3 said on July 4, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      Exactly, Mozilla is too infantile.

    3. Anonymous said on July 4, 2018 at 2:18 pm

      It’s funny how people berate Mozilla for any decision they make and applaud Google when they make almost similar decisions, except in the case of user privacy, where every decision is berated.

    4. leo said on July 4, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      I wish there was an upvote button

    5. basicuser said on July 4, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      Made my morning. Thanks.

    6. Mk9 said on July 4, 2018 at 9:23 am


      1. user1823 said on July 4, 2018 at 11:29 am

        I don’t necessarily ask anyone to agree with my sarcastic comment, but those who are culturally aware should see the link between mozilla and feminist ideology as well as organizational inefficency and lack of action.

      2. Anonymous said on July 5, 2018 at 9:56 pm

        Do you work at Mozilla?

      3. John Fenderson said on July 5, 2018 at 5:17 pm


        In other words, people who don’t agree with you that there’s some kind of “obvious link” aren’t “culturally aware?” Nice condescension there.

  14. Anonymous said on July 4, 2018 at 8:06 am

    I do not trust Mozilla anymore.

    1. STech said on July 6, 2018 at 10:33 am

      … and so you use [Google] Chrome.. :)

      1. Anonymous said on July 6, 2018 at 11:14 pm

        Why I do not trust Mozilla anymore? because each time I update Firefox and I investigate the about:config I always find a new line with an url phoning to Mozilla, not in my user.js. Last time it was “datareporting.healthreport.infoURL” instead of “datareporting.healthreport.about.reportUrl”. Please tell me if it can be disabled in preference like said here: [ ] …because on my side even unchecked this pref was always marked “true”. About using “Google” as only alternative to Mozilla I prefer not to answer.

      2. Sylos said on July 9, 2018 at 5:11 am

        On my system, datareporting.healthreport.infoURL contains “”.
        Which, if you paste it into a new tab, you’ll see is their privacy policy.

        Technically not impossible to send analytics data to this URL and have the server shovel that away, but it’d be less work for them and completely invisible to users, if they just baked such a URL directly into the source code and didn’t have it appear in about:config.

        This is almost certainly what Chrome does. Don’t confuse not being able to see telemetry with it not happening. Telling you is pretty much completely voluntary.

        And in Firefox, it’s common practice in the about:config values that certain flags invalidate multiple other flags. For example setting
        datareporting.healthreport.uploadEnabled to false should invalidate this infoURL-value. As in logically invalidated, it’s now probably never getting used. But in case the user enables healthreporting again, you’d want to be able to show them the privacy policy and so you populate it during upgrades, if it’s not populated. This does not in any way mean that telemetry is happening, nor would a lack of such values popping up in about:config mean that telemetry is not happening.

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