Firefox for Android migration is about to begin - gHacks Tech News

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Firefox for Android migration is about to begin

Mozilla announced today that it will soon migrate Firefox for Android Nightly installations to the new Firefox Preview for Android Nightly version.

The organization has been working on a new mobile web browser for Android that is based on different technologies than the old. The new web browser will offer advantages over the old including better performance and faster updates according to Mozilla.

Mozilla revealed plans to migrate users of the classic Firefox web browser for Android to the new mobile browser in 2020. Nightly users would be migrated first before users of beta and stable versions of the Firefox web browser would be migrated later that year.

firefox preview android migration

The announcement reveals that the time has come for Nightly versions of Firefox. From next Tuesday (January 21), Nightly versions of the classic Firefox application for Android may be upgraded to the new Firefox browser for Android (which is called Firefox Preview currently).

Based on the previous 6 months of user testing and the positive feedback we have received, we’re confident that Android users will appreciate this new browsing experience and we’re very happy to announce that, as of Tuesday (January 21, 2020), we’re starting to roll it out to our existing Firefox for Android audience in the Nightly app.

Nightly users may be upgraded automatically depending on how updates are configured. If updates are configured to be automatic, Nightly will be migrated to the new version automatically. Firefox for Android Nightly users who don't want that to happen at that point, and there are valid reasons for not wanting to do so at the time of writing, can set updates to manual instead to prevent the migration for the time being. The new mobile browser is also available as a standalone download on Google Play.

Note: Some data will be migrated including open tabs, bookmarks and the browsing history. For passwords to be migrated, a master password cannot be used.

Probably the biggest blocker right now from the point of view of Firefox users is that the new browser does not really support extensions at this point in time. The new browser will support extensions, Mozilla revealed as much in mid-2019, but support will be introduced over time.

The ad-blocker uBlock Origin will be the first add-on that will be supported officially. Full support for WebExtensions comes in late 2020 according to Mozilla.

Closing Words

One of the distinguishing factors between Firefox for Android and Google Chrome is the former's support for extensions. The discussion whether the new Firefox would support extensions, and if so to what degree, felt agonizing.

Considering that extensions are important to many users, Mozilla should probably consider having extensions ready in the new stable version of the browser before it starts the migration.

Now You: have you tried the new Firefox for Android?

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Firefox for Android migration is about to begin
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Firefox for Android migration is about to begin
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Mozilla announced today that it will soon migrate Firefox for Android Nightly installations to the new Firefox Preview for Android Nightly version. 
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Comments

  1. Stv said on January 17, 2020 at 2:02 pm
    Reply

    Till they don’t touch the stable version i do not care at all.

    If they want to roll out before the extensions are not fully working like before i will blacklist Firefox in Aurora Store.

  2. Anonymous said on January 17, 2020 at 2:47 pm
    Reply

    > Considering that extensions are important to many users, Mozilla should probably consider having extensions ready in the new stable version of the browser before it starts the migration.

    I wanted to give Mozilla another chance for once and to believe them when they kept repeating that there was no extension support yet only because it was a beta version, suggesting that users would not be forcefully migrated before support is implemented. Well, surprise, they had lied again. They will migrate users to a browser without extension support. F you, Mozilla. You never stop finding new ways to disappoint your users. Here treating them like beta testers of an unfinished browser without consent, and treating extensions and customizability as a hindrance you’d like to get rid off instead of an advantage to cherish.

    1. Samanto Hermes said on January 17, 2020 at 5:20 pm
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      Mozilla is evil, but you are spreading FUD. Fenix will have support for WebExtensions, as can be seen on Github.

      1. Anonymous said on January 18, 2020 at 2:15 am
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        And calling a non-profit foundation “evil” isn’t spreading FUD? Fuck off with this shit. Get off your ass and submit some code patches it shut the hell up.

      2. Samanto Hermes said on January 18, 2020 at 5:25 pm
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        Donations to Mozilla Foundation are NOT used for Firefox development. This is fully managed by Mozilla Corporation.

        Mozilla is evil (and this article doesn’t mention the Cliqz episode): https://digdeeper.neocities.org/ghost/mozilla.html

      3. Anonymous said on January 18, 2020 at 3:26 pm
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        @Samanto Hermes

        This article here says that migration to Firefox Preview will start before extension support is fully implemented. I do no doubt that later extension support will be restored, although I am not yet 100% sure of desktop extensions will be supported because I don’t trust Mozilla, but this is not what I discussed. Read again.

        @ Anonymous from January 19, 2020 at 2:15 am

        Mozilla Corporation, the main structure that develops Firefox, is a for-profit (with a CEO paid $200 000 a month to ensure her loyalty to the Silicon Valley against us). Are you in the mood to work for free for them ?

        @ Lie

        That’s a point of view. Let’s see if stable users are migrated before full extension support.

    2. Lie said on January 18, 2020 at 4:37 am
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      Nightly users are Beta users. If you install Firefox Mightly, you should have known what you signed up for.

      1. arthur c. clarke said on January 19, 2020 at 9:26 am
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        Wrong, the Nightly is never a beta, it is an alpha. huge difference. Even the version numbers reflect that:
        73.0b
        74.0a

  3. survivor303 said on January 17, 2020 at 3:03 pm
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    i changed already to brave, because of mozillas lack of understand their users.

    1. Stan said on January 19, 2020 at 4:10 pm
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      + 1, Seems like a damn fine App.

      Brave’s the only other browser I’ve installed on Android, it’s my ‘default’ and I don’t feel the slightest need allow the stench of MitchellBakerology on my cell.

  4. Dave said on January 17, 2020 at 3:18 pm
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    I removed FF from my android when I learned switching off geolocation doesn’t actually turn it off.

    Last night actually, I emailed you about appending “-nomap” to my routers SSID to “opt-out” of geolocation. (dig into your FF settings on your phone, you’ll find it)

    The thing is, if it really works, that only leaves out my router, mozzilla is still tracking you everywhere you go in range of any other router and everyone knows how many of those there are.

    1. Samanto Hermes said on January 17, 2020 at 5:12 pm
      Reply

      Use Fennec F-Droid. The official Firefox for Android has third-party analytics that can’t be disabled, since they are served by blobs from Adjust and Leanplum. The official Fenix has Google Analytics blobs in addition to those.

      1. Samanto Hermes said on January 17, 2020 at 5:18 pm
        Reply

        Addendum: It’s a pity that custom user.js requires root on Android. Someone could make a fork removing code for telemetry (eufemism for surveillance).

      2. John Fenderson said on January 17, 2020 at 7:07 pm
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        @Samanto Hermes:

        Ugh, is that true? I guess I won’t be trying out Android Firefox after all.

    2. ULBoom said on January 17, 2020 at 7:48 pm
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      Phones can be located as long as you’re sending data to a cell tower, geo off or not. Same with access points and bluetooth if wifi is left on. “Location” in a network is different than geolocation, it’s a device’s connection point in the network. It’s easy to stop ads/tracking with paid apps and block IP with a VPN over wifi, but calls, or data, nope.

      Geo in browsers is for sending personalized ads, scraping user data, etc., typical stuff. Android geo (location) is another level of the same. Then apps all have location settings. All three are independent, leave google play running and you get ads/notifications even if off (updates can change settings), along with hundreds of MB of data transfer daily.

      Phones are ad servers that continuously search for your provider’s signals and they sell user data to Google, et al. Google was caught using triangulation data for phones with all location settings disabled. They admitted it, transparency, ya’ know, super rich monopolies can do whatever they want with their armies of lawyers holding regulators at bay.

      Tor has a clear warning to never use it with phones, no matter how well they’re secured, because, well, telecommunication devices that can make calls can’t be legally hidden. If phones are approached for what they are vs. a tiny computer, which they aren’t, their limitations are clearer.

      I’ve been online for 3 decades and all this tracking, “tech” turning into nothing but low life ad companies transferring money at a level users never see, at their expense, to serve inane replicating ads that no one reads is complete BS. But honestly, the data collected is so poorly analyzed and used, except for breaches, it’s virtually worthless in a few weeks. The initial value seems to be primarily in volume.

  5. John Fenderson said on January 17, 2020 at 6:32 pm
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    > have you tried the new Firefox for Android?

    I have not, but I’m looking forward to giving it a try — the last time I tried it, the performance was so abysmal that it literally made the browser useless. While I don’t use the new Firefox on the desktop because there are other options that are better for me, there are no browsers on Android (that I’m aware of) that are actually acceptable. I’m hoping that Firefox will be able to cross that bar.

  6. ULBoom said on January 17, 2020 at 6:50 pm
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    Agree that the discussions around extensions have been tedious but this announcement means exactly zilch about the release version migration, whenever in the next 11 months that happens.

    Nightly users may opt out of this alpha+ version.

    Ready, fire, aim…

  7. Carbonize said on January 17, 2020 at 7:55 pm
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    In my testing Firefox Preview sites poorly on HTML5test.com when compared to the normal version. But then Chrome scores really badly compared to other Chromium based browsers.

  8. svim said on January 17, 2020 at 8:19 pm
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    Wow, any time there’s a posting on anything relative to Mozilla, all the trolls come out with their opinions-are-facts comments.

    All I’m going to say is thank you Martin and everyone else at ghacks. Information is good and we all should soak it up to make our own decisions on what best fits our own particular needs.

    1. Iron Heart said on January 17, 2020 at 8:58 pm
      Reply

      @svim

      Mozilla is led by an evil hag who happens to quadruple her salary while market share is being quartered:

      https://twitter.com/BrendanEich/status/1217512049716035584

      She also happens to spit on the grave of an accomplished employee who has worked his ass off for her money mill, because she never forgave him for having a different world view:

      https://blog.lizardwrangler.com/2018/08/07/in-memoriam-gervase-markham/

      https://lwn.net/Articles/762345/

      You don’t need trolls to have a low opinion of persons like these, and they are in charge of Mozilla. Nice try anyway, but you should do better research on the people you are defending.

      1. truth said on January 18, 2020 at 11:22 am
        Reply

        Your inability to formulate criticism without invectives/slurs is harming your effort. Try again.

        Martin: Could you please remove abusive comments like the one I’m replying to here?

      2. Stan said on January 19, 2020 at 4:17 pm
        Reply

        Yep that’s the way ‘you people’ operate, like the brown shirts, FACTS about the toxic environment at Mozilla must be extinguished.
        Dissenters will be silenced.

      3. Dude without a suit said on January 18, 2020 at 12:21 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart: Yet you can ignore it. Act like an asshole as always.

      4. Iron Heart said on January 18, 2020 at 9:11 pm
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        @truth, Dude without a suite

        You have nothing but ad hominems directed against me in response? Sad state of affairs then, I guess. Being confronted with the truth results in you crying out for censorship, which is laughable. Why are you not defending moz://a anymore? Too ashamed?

      5. Dude without a suit said on January 21, 2020 at 9:31 am
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        @Iron Heart: and it’s near certainty that you only posts when the topic of Mozilla comes up just proves how much obsessed you are with them.

        I agree that Mozilla isn’t a saint and had do some shady shit, but your obsessiveness over it IS ANNOYING. As said before you can just ignore it. But no, you (and Yuliya) had to post in damn near every Mozilla thread. And you know what, at least having them as competitor is still better than Google and/or Chromium domination you prefer.

        Or: you’re annoying ass. Even if you’re argument is right. That’s an insult, not an ad hominem.

      6. Iron Heart said on February 21, 2020 at 11:32 am
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        @Dude without a suit

        > and it’s near certainty that you only posts when the topic of Mozilla comes up just proves how much obsessed you are with them.

        No, it proves that the Mozilla fanboys are relentless in their propaganda spreading and need a solid corrective, as always.

        > I agree that Mozilla isn’t a saint and had do some shady shit

        …and that’s still somewhat of an euphemism.

        > but your obsessiveness over it IS ANNOYING.

        If you find it annoying, feel free to ignore it then.

        > And you know what, at least having them as competitor is still better than Google and/or Chromium domination you prefer.

        They are not even real competitors. Google funds Mozilla, it’s a cartel.

        > you’re annoying ass. Even if you’re argument is right. That’s an insult, not an ad hominem.

        Oh come on, is that really necessary? Discussion should never sink to this level.

    2. Anonymous said on January 18, 2020 at 4:03 pm
      Reply

      “Wow, any time there’s a posting on anything relative to Mozilla, all the trolls come out with their opinions-are-facts comments.”

      Mozilla has recently asked Google officially to stop suggesting Youtube videos that claimed US imperialism had anything to do with Hong Kong protests. We definitely don’t want a world where the Silicon Valley dictates what opinions and facts are compatible enough with their interests to be allowed exposure, when it comes to defending US imperialism, the worst plague of our times. I don’t mind you disagreeing on how evil Mozilla is, but that shouldn’t go further.

  9. Anonymous said on January 17, 2020 at 10:43 pm
    Reply

    I’ve been using Preview for quite a while and have had no issues.

  10. Weeb said on January 17, 2020 at 11:25 pm
    Reply

    I’m still waiting for them to make it an option to reuse tabs when opening a new bookmark. It’s a pain in the butt to keep closing many multiple tabs everytime I want to switch to a new bookmark.

  11. Dave said on January 18, 2020 at 3:31 am
    Reply

    Current Firefox has extensions, which I love. It also has abysmal keyboard and mouse support, which I hate. Many chromium browsers on the other hand have excellent support.

    Preview Firefox, as of a few months ago, was also abysmal with respect to keyboard and mouse features… and of course still doesn’t support extensions.

    So I have doubts… but I have to be an optimist.

  12. Kim Cosmos said on January 18, 2020 at 8:29 am
    Reply

    Most of their current extensions are left to developers to tick the compatible with all platforms box – so they do. Consequently the majority of extensions are activated through the toolbar (there isn’t one) and so just don’t work. Mozilla could have automatically checked this with a simple submission script from the start but they never did. Why? Because only poor people surf the web on android.

  13. iAM tHAT iAM said on January 18, 2020 at 8:41 pm
    Reply

    I’m so confused!

  14. Frank Tillman said on January 19, 2020 at 1:09 am
    Reply

    FO Mozilla!

    What Android user gives a rats ass about your crap?

    1. Benjamin said on January 19, 2020 at 9:36 am
      Reply

      There are no alternatives to the mighty Google i.e. Alphabet corporation.
      No matter were on looks the foundations are with this one dystopic corporation.
      One could even say that today’s internet has way to much off this single corporation. At the top there is only a handful of individuals steering all that in fine cooperation with corrupted politicans around the globe.
      Some of them are having a meeting right now at the yearly WEF Davos place in the Swiss mountains

  15. JBC said on January 19, 2020 at 9:16 am
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    Firefox Preview is leaps and bounds better than any other browser on Android, I’ve been running the Nightly release-channel since it was introduced and I must say that the lack of extensions hasn’t bothered me, the built-in tracking-protection takes care of nearly all ads. Honestly, people crying over this browsers existance are the people who have never used, of if they have, they used the OG pre-alpha release and judged the thing on that…

    1. Yuliya said on January 19, 2020 at 9:20 pm
      Reply

      You don’t need to try out anything. The simple fact that it is using Gecko and whatever-Monkey (I’ve lost track after Ion or Iron, or whatever silly name their JS engine had lately) is an indicative of poor performance. Blink and V8 are far better optimised, faster, and much more power efficient, which on a mobile device, powered by a battery, it kind of is a big deal.
      Factor in mozilla’s hunger for data collection, and their false claims of user’s privacy care, and it’s a no-brainer to look somewhere else.
      On any field, today Chromium beats Firefox. Any. Privacy included.

      1. Dude without a suit said on January 21, 2020 at 9:18 am
        Reply

        @Yuliya: And Google’s TOTALLY better than to gather info, right?

        Stop with Chromium worshipping.

  16. Benjamin said on January 19, 2020 at 9:22 am
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    There is no option available at all to disable this update.

    about:config within Nightly does not offer such an option.

    I would prefer to use a parallel installation

  17. Anonymous said on January 19, 2020 at 9:23 pm
    Reply

    Great. Just what I need with the still present battery drain issue. If this doesn’t get fixed prior to the migration, I will have to switch to another browser :/ I do not want to.
    https://github.com/mozilla-mobile/fenix/issues/7743

  18. Anonymous said on January 24, 2020 at 12:04 pm
    Reply

    Hasn’t begun as 24

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