Here is what is new and changed in Firefox 81.0

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 22, 2020

Mozilla released Firefox 81 Stable and Firefox ESR 78.3 to the public on September 22, 2020. The new versions of the Firefox web browser are available via automatic updates and also as direct downloads.

Firefox development channels have received updates as well. Firefox Beta and Developer versions move to version 82, Firefox Nightly to 83, and Firefox for Android is updated to version 81 as it follows the stable channel release scheme.

Check out the Firefox 80 release notes in case you missed them.

Executive Summary

  • Firefox 81 introduces many new features on the desktop and for Android.
  • Firefox 68 ESR installations will be upgraded to Firefox 78 ESR automatically as the former has reached end of support.
  • Firefox 82 Stable, Firefox 82 for Android and Firefox 78.4 ESR will be released on October 20, 2020.

Firefox 81.0 download and update

firefox 81 browser

The release date of Firefox 81 and Firefox 78.3 ESR is September 22, 2020. The update is pushed via its automatic updating functionality to devices it is installed on; this is an automated process.

Users who don't want to wait can open Menu > Help > About Firefox to run a manual check for updates. The interface that opens displays the currently installed version of Firefox as well.

Users may also download the new version from Mozilla if they prefer that.

The following pages list direct downloads for supported Firefox channels (will be available later on September 22, 2020)

New features and improvements

firefox 81 theme alpenglow

  • Firefox users from Austria, Belgium and Switzerland who use the German version of the browser see Pocket recommendations on the new tab page by default in the new release. To disable these, load about:preferences#home and turn off Recommended by Pocket on the page that opens.
  • Firefox users from the United States and Canada can use the browser to save and manage credit card information; the information can be auto-filled once saved.
  • The new Firefox release supports AcroForm; Mozilla plans to integrate PDF filling, printing, and the saving of supported PDF forms in future versions. PDF Viewer has a new look as well.
  • Firefox supports media controls in the new release to control audio and video playback with hardware control buttons on keyboards, headsets and other peripherals.

firefox extension control passwords

  • A new theme called Alpenglow is now available. It is more colorful than the default dark and light themes. You can change themes by loading about:addons and switching to Themes in the sidebar.
  • Logins and Passwords under about:preferences#privacy highlights now if an installed extension has control over the "Ask to save logins and passwords for websites" setting.
  • Fixed a bug on Windows for ESR releases: "On Windows, when loading a LNK file via a local file, the link was not redirected to the target".
  • Installing Firefox MSI via Intune will default to a Per-Machine installation instead of Per-User now.
  • The native HTML audio and video controls received screen reader accessibility fixes.
  • New iconography for Picture-in-Picture mode.
  • On bookmark imports, the bookmarks toolbar is automatically displayed in Firefox.
  • Firefox may display XML, SVG and WEBP files now when they are opened in the browser, e.g. from a local source.

Firefox for Android

Firefox for Android has been updated to version 81 today as well. The new version is being rolled out via Google Play to all devices earlier versions are installed on.

  • The homepage displays the most visited sites (up to sixteen sites in four rows). Users can toggle the display off under Settings > Customise > Show most visited sites
  • Firefox focuses the address bar automatically when a new tab is opened in the browser; this saves a tap as it was necessary previously to active the address bar before an address could be entered.
  • Optional feature to close tabs automatically after a certain time of inactivity. Check out our full overview of the automatic tab closing feature in Firefox for Android here.
  • Firefox users can now swipe to the left or right on the address bar to switch tabs.
  • New option to disable the auto-completion of addresses in the address bar. The new option is available under Settings > Search > Autocomplete URLs.
  • Firefox 81 for Android displays downloads in a chronological list and supports external download managers.
  • The login manager supports multiple logins for the same domain. Firefox displays a prompt if more than one login is saved in the browser for a site.
  • Firefox users who did not disable the master password in Firefox 68 or earlier prior to the migration to Firefox 79 or later, could not access their saved passwords anymore. Firefox 81 includes an option to restore the passwords by entering the master password that was used in the older version of the browser (should be displayed on the homepage "looking for your logins").
  • Link to the Android notification settings under Settings > Notifications to allow or deny certain types of notifications of the browser.
  • WebRender support extended to Adreno 5xx graphics processing units with the exception of Adreno 505 and Adreno 506.
  • Collections feature is promoted on the startpage if the user has not created a collection already.
  • Firefox Search widget uses a dark theme if a dark theme is used on the Android device.

Developer Changes

  • Error messages provided by the menus.create API are "more meaningful" now.
  • Firefox now accepts non-standard Content-Disposition headers with a unquoted filename containing spaces
  • Firefox UA string will contain Intel on ARM-based Macs and 10.16 on macOS Big Sur
  • The <iframe> element's sandbox attribute now supports the allow-downloads token.
  • Worker scripts with wrong MIME type will be blocked from loading with Worker() or SharedWorker()

Known Issues

none listed.

Security updates / fixes

Security updates are revealed after the official release of the web browser. You find the information published here after release.

Additional information / sources

Here is what is new and changed in Firefox 81.0
Article Name
Here is what is new and changed in Firefox 81.0
Mozilla released Firefox 81 Stable and Firefox ESR 78.3 to the public on September 22, 2020. The new versions of the Firefox web browser are available via automatic updates and also as direct downloads.
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  1. Peter Newton said on September 29, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    The Install for Firefox in Linux, is very different from the install in Windows, the cleaned up version in Linux, does not have a copy of User agent.exe for example.

    The format of a Firefox install in Linux is also completely different. Before it is issued, a lot of the offensive content, which privacy minded users object to, will be removed.

    My point is, that an application like a browser, used in a commercial OS, will be a commercially orientated browser also, throw the two together, and you have a telemetry nightmare.

    This problem is hugely mitigated in Linux, and with appropriate hardening, and the use of security devices, can be eliminated almost completely.

    1. Iron Heart said on September 30, 2020 at 9:10 am

      @Peter Newton

      One has to look at the browser and the OS separately. Lumping everything together leads nowhere. Some people have to use Windows because their software isn‘t available elsewhere.

      1. Ron said on October 1, 2020 at 8:03 am

        Ever heard of Virtual Machines?

  2. guest said on September 29, 2020 at 5:18 pm
  3. anonymous said on September 29, 2020 at 2:51 am

    In Firefox 81 they removed the preference to disable accessibility sites from accessing your browser. Why?

  4. Peter Newton said on September 28, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    I find it ironic that the very people complaining about telemetry and privacy invasion, are more than likely Windows users.

    Surely, it would make more sense to START, with an operating system which is more secure and customisable, rather than to expect total privacy out of the box, using a commercial OS.

    Its completely contradictory.

    Using Windows with Firefox IS going to be a telemetry nightmare, where as, using Firefox on a different OS, allows an install of a very different version of Firefox. In addition you can go further and use the option to harden it. A security hardened OS using a security hardened browser.

    Perhaps the real issue here is the fact that people continue to use that privacy invasive Windows product, expecting to achieve maximum privacy.

    Silk purse and sows ear comes to mind.

    1. Iron Heart said on September 29, 2020 at 8:40 am

      @Peter Newton

      The “very different version of Firefox” which you are talking about is Waterfox and can be installed on all the major operating systems.

      1. Ron said on October 1, 2020 at 8:05 am

        Waterfox….wasn’t it sold to a advertising company?

      2. Iron Heart said on October 2, 2020 at 11:41 pm


        Yes, but no negative impact on the project (yet). Still leagues more private than Firefox by default. Plus, Mozilla (developer of Firefox) is being funded by Google, the biggest advertising company in the world. So if ownership alone is already a negative, you also have to drop Firefox for the very same reason.

      3. ffox said on October 12, 2020 at 8:30 pm

        Funny, Iron Heart only has a problem when an advertising company contributes money based on a search engine deal to Mozilla, but is happy to promote browsers actively developed by advertising companies such Waterfox and Chromium. How inexplicable. Such a mystery.

  5. Anonymous said on September 25, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    I am still waiting for Firefox 81 on Ubuntu 20.04 (Sept. 25). Come on, Canonical!
    It should be a regular update.

  6. worried said on September 24, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    FF81 damaged a multirows solution i was using, i think it has to do with a [new?] little square at the right of the tabs that can be clicked to drag the FF window, now i have to ctrl+tab pg down/pg up to move tab by tab, but i can’t see in any way all the open tabs…

  7. ULBoom said on September 24, 2020 at 3:00 am

    When I feel like it, I may install 78 ESR. 68 works fine except for the weird autoplay/not autoplay/sometimes autoplay thing that was introduced a few rev’s back.

    Back to the SOS browser bullshit; one would expect that at some point the compulsively posting “experts” would evolve beyond blasting, in random order, the same few repetitive factoids.

    Fish or cut bait?


  8. guest said on September 23, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    The “profile_count_XXXXXXXXXXXXX.json” in the “C:\ProgramData\Mozilla” folder is not more telemetry secretly added. It is just duplicating the same clientID you already have stored in your profile datareporting state.json file.

    The change is related to and The state.json file was also updated with the ecosystem client id which is not used if one has opted out.

    Pants will probably have more info at

    1. ULBoom said on September 24, 2020 at 3:02 am

      Good! Some research done.

      Where did Pants go? The Thoren version posted “No” recently.

  9. John said on September 23, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    NEW CREDIT CARD AUTOFILL?: Has anyone got it working. I’m in the U.S. using the English version of Firefox, and I don’t see the checkbox in the Forms & Autofill preferences to store credit card information. Does anyone else see it?


  10. michel said on September 23, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    Is not that I’m a fan of any browser but simply put you can tweak FF a lot more with add-ons and config to the point where Brave seems laughable in comparison to the privacy you can achieve with FF. There is a reason TOR is built on it.

    1. Iron Heart said on September 23, 2020 at 9:12 pm


      Tor is built on Firefox simply because the project predates Chromium. There is no inherent technical reason why Tor couldn’t use Chromium, they are just sticking with what they have until Firefox is no longer being developed (presumably). It’s also worth noticing that Tor is a heavily modified version of Firefox (somewhat akin to how Brave is a modified version of Chromium, just to an even more extreme degree in case of Tor), implying that the default Firefox configuration if woefully inadequate in the eyes of the Tor project.

      You also seem to be unaware of the fact that in Chromium, you have to toggle many things behind the scenes, at the backend code level, because Chromium doesn’t have a user-facing configurator like about:config. The Brave team implemented many privacy improvements behind the scenes that are just not accessible by the user for the aforementioned reason. Brave is disabling various fingerprinting vectors and randomizes others, gets rid of prefetching, has implemented a good referrer header policy, a sane cookie lifetime policy, just to name a few examples. It is superior in all those aspects when compared to Firefox, you have to configure Firefox heavily to achieve the same privacy level which Brave already provides out of the box.

      It is true that one can configure Firefox to an even more insane degree, but then you are entering into the territory of “I don’t care whether or not the websites I want to use break!”… The Brave team is already configuring all the stuff they can, short of making the user experience miserable. One can read about it in their public documentation.

      1. ffox said on October 12, 2020 at 8:33 pm

        “You also seem to be unaware of the fact that in Chromium, you have to toggle many things behind the scenes, at the backend code level, because Chromium doesn’t have a user-facing configurator like about:config.”

        You can’t even give Firefox credit when they get things right. Such a shill.

  11. Sebas said on September 23, 2020 at 2:36 pm
    1. Anonymous said on September 24, 2020 at 10:41 am

      Edge doesn’t have to do anything,Microsoft just pushed it out every windows 10,8 & 7 computer.
      Isn’t it kind of un lawful for Microsoft to do that without the end user to first agree to Edge’s user agreement & terms of service.It is the reason I uninstalled after it was automatically installed on Win7 through windows update.

  12. Sebas said on September 23, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    The problem with Iron Heart sometimes is how he brings his message. @Iron Heart if I may suggest, just stay civil, and don’t give in to a tendency to get a bit.. obsessed, when posting.

    Howver much I agree with you, that tendency make people justly uncomfortable.

    I you take the time to edit your post on the above mentioned points, before actually posting, then your invaluable contributions about Brave will get through much better. And will be more willingly be read by others here. At least that is my estimation. I could be wrong, but that is my gut feeling.

    I hope you do not read this as a post to condemn you or, even worse, to be arrrogant.

    Because there are some people here who regard you as the expert all things Brave. I certainly do. Your thorough knowledge, your tips about settings, flags, extensions are all much appreciated. One of the reasons I continue to use Brave with confidence, because Brave forum is less helpfull as your contributions here, for me.

    For some reason Martin still largely neglects Brave. His choice, but imo gacks net would certainly attract more people if he did. And the other side of the coin is that the insightfull info you give about Brave here, will just get more important.

    You know I am not exactly a Firefox fanboy. On the contrary. Have a nice day. And thanks again for the tips you gave me personally.

    1. Iron Heart said on September 23, 2020 at 4:34 pm


      Hey, I am just tired of all the BS spewed around here. I’d just like to rest. Apparently going against a certain narrative (FiREfoX dA bEsT BrOwSa) is impossible here, unfortunately. That’s what the people desperately want to believe, though especially in terms of privacy and security, it’s a highly doubtful claim at best. Disagreeing with the mainstream opinion here is a hard field to plough, I can tell you that much. More than once I have considered just quitting or switching to the Firefox camp (at least in terms of comments, no way I’d use this as a browser) because that would restore some inner peace, and some order to this comment section. There is a certain group of people here who won’t tolerate any criticism of Mozilla, no matter the content, or so it seems to me.

      I also believe that whatever style I apply to my comments, even if I were to sugarcoat them to the utmost… It just wouldn’t be enough for those people. They have a problem with me criticizing their favorite toy in the first place, not with how I do it. The latter seems to be a secondary concern at best. They want to see me gone from this comment section, and I am about to grant them their wish. Debunking their nonsense and fending off their attacks is just tiresome and highly repetitive, attrition is setting in. I’ve seen it all by now, always the same comments, nothing new in the west. Even the ad hominem attacks they throw my way are nothing new or particularly creative anymore.

      Thank you for your kind words, glad to hear that some of my comments were useful to you. I don’t even think that my skill level is above average; all I do is keeping up with the news, asking others for their opinions (not here, elsewhere) and applying their suggestions to my own setup, indirectly also extending my skills in the process. The thanks has to go to them, I am just paying attention and compiling various ideas into a new setup of my own.

  13. Jim said on September 23, 2020 at 9:12 am

    So Iron Heart likes to pretend he knows his facts and is truthful. He also claims he isn’t a troll, but we all know otherwise.

    Let’s see if Iron Heart’s recent claims are factual or truthful.

    Let’s take a quick moment to examine Iron Heart’s “alternate facts” from this thread:

    Boyd, referring to Firefox, wrote:

    “Still leaps and bounds better than Chrome will ever be.”

    Then the troll Iron “Alternate Facts” Heart just had to chime in with:

    @Boyd Crowder

    Said no one, ever.

    Source: Market share.

    First of all, Mr. Truthful claims that no one said this. Yet, Boyd just did. Strike one.

    I’ll say it too: “Firefox is still leaps and bounds better than Chrome for my values and preferences.”

    That’s strike two, Mr. Truthful.

    Hundreds of millions of people use Firefox instead of Chrome despite Google pumping their browser by bundling it with other software. That’s strike three, Iron Heart.

    Iron Heart, you do not speak the truth, and repeatedly claiming that you do doesn’t make a word you say true. It just makes you an even bigger liar and a troll.

    That’s three strikes, Iron Heart. You’re out.

    1. Vivaldi_IsNowBetter said on September 23, 2020 at 1:15 pm

      Jim, please realize that Firefox is not only competing with Chrome, which is objectively worse, but also with Opera, Brave and Vivaldi and they continue to get better.

      1. ffox said on October 12, 2020 at 8:21 pm

        What nonsense. All the “competing” browsers you name are Chromium based, which prop up Chrome’s web dominance. Firefox is Chrome’s only competition, the so called “browsers” you are referring to are fancy Chrome wrappers.

  14. doubtful said on September 23, 2020 at 7:11 am

    I hate everything about v78 ESR. I was shocked when my Firefox ESR was automatically updated to v78. I have policies.json denying updates and even in registry. Is there any viable way to block this from auto updating? For now i have deleted helper.exe and updater, whatever ive done disallows the update to complete, but every time i restart i get an update error and the Firefox redownloads the update again. So is there any hope?

    1. Iron Heart said on September 23, 2020 at 8:21 am


      Blacklist the URL from which the update is fetched in your router or the HOSTS file of your operating system.

  15. Jim said on September 23, 2020 at 4:04 am

    Martin, why do you continue to let your site go downhill by allowing trolls like Iron Heart to keep posting?

    It results in many of us being less interested in visiting gHacks or recommending it to others.

    Personally, I’ve removed the link to gHacks from my website where I recommend tech blogs as a direct result of frequent complaints about what has happened to your site.

    It’s a waste of everyone’s time to have to sift through all the obvious trolling to read any valuable comments.

    1. Anonymous said on September 26, 2020 at 12:13 am

      The Mozilla community is one the most toxic and intolerant in the open source world, and assiduous at silencing inconvenient truths about how anti-user Firefox has become under the influence of their Google’s yearly half billion dollars.

      Typical example, telling people that Mozilla considered Web Bundles non-harmful (proof here ? Censored:

      Here you don’t have the censorship button, so Jim, you will have to learn to live with the facts and not in the Mozilla PR reality, or just leave.

    2. BlankPoint said on September 23, 2020 at 7:10 pm

      Well you can just ignore his comments if you don’t like what Iron says. That’s what I do, I mean Firefox is terrible for anything, for how they support censorship and add more and more telemetry but naive people believe in the “pro privacy” blabla talk from them. It’s like when people fall for all these IMs or apps on their phone only because they add the buzzword “encryption”.
      But others will not care about it and think Firefox is amazing because Chromium is dominating and we “need” an alternative and blabla.
      So you are not being more useful than Iron Heart if you attack him instead of just ignoring him and giving your whatever view on Firefox.

      I mean, what’s worse… be a weak person and complain about some users posting whatever the hell he can or just ignore him and don’t make the comment section worse by enabling some dumb “discussion”.

      I mean just look what you caused, a column of dumb comments only because you complained and want censorship on a person that is not saying anything wrong, he is just stating his opinion like anyone else and he is responding to people’s comments. If people want less from him, they can just ignored him, and then he will not post anything to you or anyone not wanting to read him.

      Many ways to ignore him, but you would rather be weak and complain like if he killed your dog or burned your hands with some internet ‘bytes’ words. Internet sensitive people… what a surprise /s

    3. Anonymous said on September 23, 2020 at 2:20 pm

      Jim, if you want to get rid of Iron Heart’s FUD here, just add this to your static filters in uBlock Origin: Heart said)

      Iron Heart is gone.

      1. Emence said on September 24, 2020 at 1:14 am

        this is better xD
        https :// CJCMDxV.png

      2. Incorrect url? said on September 28, 2020 at 8:29 pm

        “Hmm. That address doesn’t look right.

        Please check that the URL is correct and try again.”

      3. Anonymous said on September 26, 2020 at 2:23 am

        For a community claiming to support privacy and to want to make the internet a “safe space”, Mozilla is well-versed in harassing privacy activists for years long with loads of hate.

      4. akg said on September 23, 2020 at 5:37 pm

        @Iron Heart
        I enjoy reading your comments .they are really very informative. Ignore the fanboys ,who can not digest the true facts. Btw what are your opinion about waterfox current from privacy point of view?

    4. Karl said on September 23, 2020 at 11:41 am

      “results in many of us being less interested in visiting gHacks or recommending it to others.”

      Many? No. But you can speak for yourself of course. I do not consider commentators like Iron Heart are trolls, I think people like IH helps the discussion going, have more than once provided useful tips and tricks for both Firefox users and others, and the ongoing discussion is also a constant reminder for all of us, firefox users or not, to not swallow everything that the web browser developers throw at us and keep thinking critical about what they do and the decisions and changes they make to the browsers.

      “I’ve removed the link to gHacks from my website where I recommend tech blogs as a direct result of frequent complaints about what has happened to your site.”

      Why should anyone but you care about that. It is your blog and you can pick what to recommend/link to and not. I don’t think Martin will obey to so called “complaints” from other bloggers. And why the heck would your website visitors “complain” to you when gHacks readers can post in the comments section here at gHacks if they have any problems. Maybe you should focus on improving your own website and try to make it as popular as gHacks instead of trying to drag gHacks down your hole. Why don’t you post a link to your website so that we all can see what it is about and that it actually exists.

      “have to sift through all the obvious trolling to read any valuable comments.”

      What you call trolling are part of the valuable comments, not meant to be sift through, they are meant to be read.

      @all Keep discussing, keep agreeing and disagreeing, it keeps the comments section going and alive.

      1. stefankeys said on October 19, 2020 at 9:12 pm

        On top of being full of telemetry it no longer has the powerful add-ons it once had. The reason I hate firefox is because it bears the name of a once much better browser which had great extensions like Tab Mix Plus and Pentadactyl and a sensible UI (tabs below the URL bar, a status bar, live bookmarks) and now it is just a Chrome clone with as much telemetry if not more. How can you not hate firefox knowing what it once was?

        Now I use Brave but it is honestly nowhere as good as Firefox used to be before quantum and the ugly failure which was australis.

    5. Xibula said on September 23, 2020 at 11:18 am

      It’s not North Korea like r/Firefox.

      1. Anonymous said on September 29, 2020 at 2:02 pm

        Xibula thinks: “It’s not North Korea like r/Firefox.”

        North Korea is one of the places on Earth that are not ruled by Google or other evil giant corps. That’s even the whole point of it. Look it up.

      2. Iron Heart said on September 30, 2020 at 9:11 am


        Have you ever actually considered moving to the picturesque place?

    6. m3city said on September 23, 2020 at 9:29 am

      I concur. Used to read comments under MB’s articles on Firefox. Now there are lots of rants by Iron Heart. He/She has some points, but the thing is… well it’s trolling, and one sees it clearly. Not in its worst (aggressive, obscenic, idiotic form) but still. Whatever the news is, then there is Iron Heart talking how bad FF is. Irrelevant to article most of the time. And if one argues with him/her, then there is even more ramblings, completely argument-proof. And he/she retaliates in other comments to the ones he had a spat before.

      However I have no clue if anything should be done. There is free of speech here, and this sir/madam evidently likes to use it, sharing strong beliefs on how FF bad is. I just wonder – why? I don’t like google and chrome due to many reasons but don’t feel the urge to spill it under every news post.

      1. Iron Heart said on September 23, 2020 at 9:43 am


        With all due respect, from previous encounters with you I know for a fact that you are just yet another Firefox proponent who dislikes differing opinions or criticism of what appears to be your favorite software.

        The problem here is not me, the problem is you guys being unable to cope with the fact that not all people singing the praises of Firefox here. Your inability to deal with differing opinions leads to name calling, and nonsensical posts to which I just reply because I will have none of it, not because they are of such great quality that I necessarily feel compelled to reply.

        I am also not a “troll”. A troll is someone just hating on something for the sake of pleasure, with no facts to back it up (emotional statements). “FF is shit!” is trolling, “Firefox is problematic because of anti-feature X” is criticism. You deliberately conflating the two in the hopes that this will lead to my removal won’t change that. What angers you so much is precisely the knowledge that there is some background to my comments, if I were indeed a “troll” as you claim, I would have been driven from this comment section long ago.

        PS: Originally, I just wanted to debunk the nonsensical comment “no one cares about Chrome”, because no matter what you think of Chrome, this is just factually incorrect. Me debunking it led to several nonsensical comments attacking me, which I had to reply to because I won’t have any of it. So the multitudes of my replies, which I never planned to write, was caused – among others – by YOU. You are literally complaining about the very thing you are responsible for. It’s rather easy: Stop pestering me with nonsensical replies, so that I don’t have to reply in turn.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on September 23, 2020 at 10:45 am

        These arguments are getting us nowhere. I think that as much as you are calling others Firefox proponents, fanboys or fans, you could be called Firefox opponent.

        If you would not just focus all of your attention on Firefox, others would probably find your commenting more enjoyable and useful (which it is at times, and not at other times), and it would look less like a personal crusade of yours.

      3. Anonymous said on September 23, 2020 at 7:34 pm

        I’ve read many comments from Iron Heart on subjects that are not Firefox threads. But, on subjects that are about Firefox (This subject on this thread is “Here is what is new and changed in Firefox 81.0” after all), shouldn’t one expect comments (both pro and con) on Firefox?

        Also, for the few people here that always complain about Iron Heart, these are the same people that complain that you posted about “X” windows utility (and they don’t use Windows so you shouldn’t post about that, etc. You should keep posting these…It is easy enough to skip the threads one is not interested. Also, you should continue to let Iron Heart post, it is easy enough to just skip his replies if one is not interested.

      4. Iron Heart said on September 23, 2020 at 4:16 pm

        @Martin Brinkmann

        I happen to write so much about Firefox because it is given a whole lot of undue credit. Chrome? Everybody knows that Google Chrome is spyware, there is not a whole lot one has to say about anymore. But in the case of Firefox, a whole lot of false claims regarding its privacy level swirl around here, that are clearly based on Mozilla marketing. So, that being the case, this is thing I’ll debunk as someone who is interested in online privacy as a topic.

        It’s also not a “personal crusade”, perceived as such or otherwise. If Mozilla would respect user privacy, I’d be totally willing to sing more friendly tunes, but as it stands, I just cannot. I used to advocate Firefox in the 2000s as there were little to no scandals, or anti-privacy actions on Mozilla’s part. This has been changing radically for years now, which is why I no longer recommend it. The problem is, the narrative didn’t change, Firefox is still the pro-user, pro-privacy browser, even though that is very far removed from the real situation in 2020.

        People more enarmored with the brand than with actual pro-Firefox arguments, don’t like to see it criticized because their own narrative is being challenged by me and others in that case. Their inability to deal with differing opinions in an appropriate and fair manner is what is plaguing this website, not the presence of differing opinions by itself.

        Also, if anything, I am far too kind when it comes to Firefox. For example, I hardly if ever talk about Mozilla misusing it as a propaganda platform for some time now, even though it’s true and would put Firefox in a very bad light if that was the topic discussed most by me. I am being merciful in that I only talk about the rampant telemetry, included trackers, the Normandy backdoor, scheduled telemetry tasks, Pocket’s questionable privacy level, and so on. It could be worse, and a realistic discussion of Firefox would in fact see heavier criticism.

        I have nothing against Firefox as a brand, or Gecko as a rendering engine (I don’t see the need to reinvent the wheel, but that doesn’t make Gecko bad per se). It’s the spyware components I take issue with, so I wouldn’t call myself a Firefox opponent, I’d call myself a “Firefox’s spyware parts opponent” because that would be more exact. But if we consider to be the spyware components to be a pars pro toto representing the entirety of Firefox, then I guess one could call me a “Firefox opponent” (though as said, I am not dead set on anything, if Mozilla changes for the better, so will my perception of them).

        I know that my opinion is non-mainstream, but it is legitimate as it’s based on sources and should at least be tolerated as such. The endless discussions with fanboys (yes, fanboys, i.e. fanboy = brand over everything else, facts be damned) are not exactly a goal of mine and are just annoying. If people were more tolerant, less prone to censorship, and less fond of set narratives, gHacks would be a better place.

      5. ULBoom said on September 24, 2020 at 2:43 am

        Understand what sophistry means?

        But, but, but, but, but what I really meant was…

      6. Iron Heart said on September 24, 2020 at 10:45 am


        Sophistry isn’t exactly my field. I mean what I say, you can either like it or not.

      7. Vivaldi_IsNowBetter said on September 23, 2020 at 1:10 pm

        Iron Heart is one of the most helpful commenters here. If I wanted to read nothing but praise for this subpar browser I’d go to reddit, HN or, BN, BC or any other news source. This is the only mainstream website where you can learn what Mozilal is actually doing, thanks to both your work Martin and commenters like Iron.

        The new disclaimer, about rudeness not being tolerated, doesn’t sadly bode well for this place. This is what killed many a website. If people need a safe space because they are so weak that contrary opinions make them anxious, they will force you down a slippery slope.

      8. Anonymous said on September 26, 2020 at 10:45 pm

        @Vivaldi_IsNowBetter: “Iron Heart is one of the most helpful commenters here.” It is true. I read his comments and try to learn. Iron Heart don’t like current situation of Firefox and he uses some other browser and he has own personal way to say opinions. I use Firefox (I don’t think that I am a fan). Criticizing (even justifiable) can be annoying especially with the same nickname.

        Please, assume good faith and do not concentrate on argumentum ad hominem.

      9. plushkava said on September 25, 2020 at 1:36 am

        I concur. With all due respect to Martin, who is a good writer, it is the ongoing commentary of those that retain the courage of their convictions that have me coming back to this site. Further, I find it curious that those that would have posters such as Iron Heart be de-platformed purport to speak for everyone.

        I am reminded of the words of Asimov: “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”

      10. m3city said on September 23, 2020 at 10:00 am

        @Iron Heart
        I feel like you missed the point and motive on my post. You read selectively (eg what I said about your trolling, and what you responded), and are quick to label people (“yet another Firefox proponent”) in a lower class of dull, stupid shills/mozilla fanboys. In other, better written words. And that’s the second thing that bothers me – not your strong opinions on why FF is bad, but attacking other ppl here for their opinions.

        The first one is still the same – you spill FF hate under every news post. Trust me – no one cares. And no human likes to cope with all time moaners and negative ppl. It’s simply unhealthy. Thats why I block your comments out of vision for most of the time:)

      11. Iron Heart said on September 23, 2020 at 10:16 am


        I don’t spill hatred against Firefox at all, ever. I criticize it, and since people tend to give it more credit than it actually deserves (especially in terms of privacy), that angers some of them. I don’t hate it, I just point at its suboptimal privacy level. Hate to me is something irrational, unfounded. Not true for any of my comments.

        I know that you are a Firefox proponent from previous encounters with you, so that you do not care about my comments is natural, especially if you prefer to be ignorant regarding the real state of Firefox as of 2020. I can’t keep you from living in ferry tale land, that is your prerogative after all. However, denying facts is not something I’ll give you a pass for.

        And then again, if you do not care about my comments, why do you harass them? I can do without that, how about you?

    7. Iron Heart said on September 23, 2020 at 7:44 am


      The “troll” Iron Heart merely busted a completely nonsensical statement (“nobody cares about Chrome”) which has nothing to do with reality. If you can’t deal with reality, then that’s clearly not my fault.

      I know people who agree with me and those who disagree, as is normal and expected. However, disagreeing with me doesn’t justify you in calling for a ban, after all I don’t do that to others, either. “Ban Iron Heart or we (Who is “we”?) leave!” is an old one and is proven incorrect by you reappearing again and again despite your remark.

      I take it the Mozilla fans become desperate because someone dares to challenge their narrative, because in the end they have little substance behind their claims. Going down the ad hominem route with all the usual “troll” monikers is just the logical next step… Sad, but expected.

      To make it clear to you once and for all:
      I do not mind you or your ilk disagreeing with me. If anything, I consider your disagreement to be a knightly accolade. Goes to show that I am not easily convinced by marketing, while you are, and you will defend it as if your life depended on it.
      Martin has no reason to ban me based on the gHacks comment guidelines, and a random person in the comment section demanding my removal for unrelated reasons (intolerance, inability to deal with differing opinions) is unlikely to change his mind all of a sudden. Knowing this, if you are intolerant, if you are unable to enter into discussions or to deal with criticism, if you want to read false positivity about Firefox because all criticism is being banned, I suggest you take a closer look at r/firefox and consider moving there.

    8. Anonymous said on September 23, 2020 at 7:42 am

      Just out of curiousity, why do you call Iron Heart a troll? He has provided sources for his claims, but if you don’t like him for showing people how Firefox isn’t as privacy-friendly as people want it to be, yeah, he is a big troll. Maybe Martin should delete every comment that provides proofs that Firefox isn’t as private and secure as people want it to be, then we would have the perfect place for you to recommend on your website.

  16. Mothy said on September 23, 2020 at 1:11 am

    Still not a fan of the ESR 78.x branch (from using it at work) so plan to stay on ESR 68.12 for the foreseeable future on my personal systems as updates are disabled via policy templates in Win7 and 8.1 Pro Group Policy. I just don’t need any of the new features of the newer branch nor care for the revamped address bar or the new enhanced tracking options and protections dashboard or various other smaller tweaks. Also, while it can be disabled the installation of a system task grinds my gears! That kind of crap should never be done for a web browser. Now you have to worry about it being re-enabled after updating. Wish they’d just slow down the development cycle, cut the feature bloat and instead focus on security fixes and stability!

  17. Anonymous said on September 23, 2020 at 12:28 am

    That new theme is disgusting.

  18. dmacleo said on September 22, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    man I hate that alpenglow theme. I use thematic to rotate themes so can’t just disable it and never see it.
    do have thematic set to rotate every minute so the horror is short lived.

  19. Vivaldi_IsNowBetter said on September 22, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    More profiling in telemetry? profile_count_[hash].json was added to %ProgramData%\Mozilla and contains a “profileTelemetryIds” value.

    It’s a very scummy move to put this file there, instead of in the user profile folder. Almost nobody will look there.

    1. SpywareFan said on September 23, 2020 at 11:18 am

      Yes, Mozilla is disgusting, but Vivaldi is not better, it’s just another son of spyGoogle.
      All releases after 68ESR are PUP.

  20. ShintoPlasm said on September 22, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    As long as they don’t fix the tab reload bug (, there’s no point in even bothering with this ‘refreshed’ version.

  21. dmacleo said on September 22, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    ug before the login/password change both FF and (eg) roboform could coexist and work together.

  22. Benjamin said on September 22, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    What i miss ks a table like listing for all passwords and logons at once inkl. the meta information belonging to said information. I hate clicking on every single item to get to the information…

  23. White said on September 22, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Very detailed post. 👍🏻

  24. Tony said on September 22, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    Be sure to turn off the forced telemetry task in task scheduler, if you’re running Windows 10. The main updates restore the task.

    1. Yuliya said on September 22, 2020 at 7:59 pm


  25. asd said on September 22, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    New Telemetry? What is this new file I am seeing “profile_count_XXXXXXXXXXXXX.json” in the “C:\ProgramData\Mozilla” folder?

  26. Ol Geeza said on September 22, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    Aaaaah yes, Firefox. I remember Firefox. I thought it became obsolete and faded away ages ago. Who knew.

    1. Boyd Crowder said on September 22, 2020 at 7:16 pm

      Still leaps and bounds better than Chrome will ever be.

      1. No Thanks, MSNBCIAGooglesoft said on September 23, 2020 at 1:50 am

        More features than Chrome and it isn’t Google spyware, but I wouldn’t say performance is better overall. Firefox’s video and javascript performance is still slower in the real world. Test it on graphics-heavy sites like Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook.

      2. Iron Heart said on September 23, 2020 at 7:28 am

        @No Thanks, MSNBCIAGooglesoft

        Are you sure about that, mate? Firefox promotes Google Search and Mozilla literally bundles a Google Analytics tracker with Firefox on Android. They also whitelist Google trackers from the internal tracking protection. Not to mention that Mozilla depends on Google completely financially.

        But hey, whatever floats your boat. Some Chromium-based browsers like Ungoogled Chromium, Brave, or Vivaldi allow less Google spying than Firefox does.

      3. Sebas said on September 23, 2020 at 1:38 pm

        @Iron Heart. Edge also allows less spying from Google.

      4. Gold Turd said on September 23, 2020 at 5:19 pm

        Because Windows 10 does the majority of spying.

      5. Anonymous said on September 23, 2020 at 7:00 am

        “It isn’t Google spyware”


        Google is the only reason Firefox is still somewhat alive, the company provides more than 90% of Mozilla’s revenue. Firefox is the browser that comes with most telemetry enabled by default out of the box. Feel free to test that with mitmproxy, Fiddler Classic, or whatever you prefer, if you personally want to see it’s Google spyware in fact. Oh, and while we’re at it, Firefox users can enjoy the newly introduced telemetry – profile_count :)

      6. Iron Heart said on September 22, 2020 at 9:01 pm

        @Boyd Crowder

        Said no one, ever.

        Source: Market share.

      7. Anonymous said on September 23, 2020 at 3:30 pm

        ya cause market share is a great indicator of how good a product is cough IE6 cough ..

      8. Iron Heart said on September 23, 2020 at 3:57 pm


        IE6 hardly had any competition, unlike the situation in today’s market. Mobile wasn’t relevant back then, either. Yet another apples and oranges comparison.

      9. Marco said on September 22, 2020 at 11:36 pm

        @Iron Heart
        If you use Market share as a source for what is better then Brave and Ungoogled Chromium must be in big trouble.

      10. Iron Heart said on September 23, 2020 at 7:24 am


        Except they aren’t. Ungoogled Chromium is a hobby project and Brave Software is a small company which doesn’t need hundreds of millions of users to be sustainable. They do not insist on reinventing the wheel, they use Chromium as a base and therefore will remain compatible with websites as long as Google Chrome remains compatible. Firefox uses its own engine which is expensive to develop and needs a relevant market share in order for website admins to still consider it in their testing procedures. Apples and oranges, nice try anyway.

        Besides, Brave wouldn’t show up anyway, even if it had a big market share, because it is using Chrome’s user agent in order to identify itself for web compatibility reasons. Anyway, Brave is at least growing (in a market where other browsers are actually good, unlike Firefox which only had to beat the Internet Explorer 8 pest back in the day).

      11. Ron Fart said on September 22, 2020 at 10:10 pm

        @Iron Heart
        Market share shows that Brave does not exist.

      12. Iron Heart said on September 23, 2020 at 7:19 am

        @Ron Fart

        Yeah, because Brave is totally as old as Firefox and Chrome, and because it is entering into a market that is desperately looking for a new browsers, because the others don’t get the job done like Internet Explorer back in the day… Oh wait… Wasn’t that Firefox? Firefox grew because IE was just plain bad, it started to fail immediately when Chrome entered the market. And yes, if Chrome were indeed a horrible browser like ** it is portrait by some [Editor: please..}, its users would be looking for alternatives. But they don’t, go figure.

        Also, you don’t know what you are talking about. Brave uses Chrome’s user agent, so it wouldn’t show up in market share stats even if it literally had 50% market share. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

        PS: Brave is at least growing, how is Firefox’s growth these days?

      13. Anonymous said on September 23, 2020 at 9:28 pm

        I don’t care if market share of Brave is worse than other browser. I would have it if I would like its functioning. Of course some market share can indicate product’s future. So I haven’t strong opinion that browser x is absolutely worthless. It is good to have many options. Brave should exist and developed.

    2. computer said no said on September 22, 2020 at 6:46 pm

      The real fully themed firefox did.!

  27. Anonymous said on September 22, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    What’s Firefox for Enterprise 81??
    Is that a new ESR or an entirely different beast?

  28. Alex said on September 22, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    Did FF for Android reinstated support for all extensions and re-enabled about:config already?

    If not, not about to use it.

    1. John said on September 22, 2020 at 11:42 pm

      It has not, however Iceraven (Formerly Iceweasel, a close fork of Fenix Firefox) has allowed you to install any extension you want (Though some themes may not work) and given users access to about:config since it’s inception:

      1. Iron Heart said on September 23, 2020 at 7:48 am


        I second John’s advice here. Install an FF fork like Iceraven which allows about:config and more extensions, if you need them.
        Mozilla itself is unlikely to re-add about:config and to allow unlimited access to extensions beyond a curated list.

      2. akg said on September 24, 2020 at 8:49 am

        @ iron heart
        i enjoyed reading ur comments ,they are very informative . keep doing it ,don’t care about the fanboys.
        what is ur opinion about waterfox current from privacy point of view ?

      3. Iron Heart said on September 24, 2020 at 10:40 am


        Waterfox Current isn’t bad, they are getting rid of various Mozilla nonsense as we speak:

        I would definitely recommend it over standard Firefox.

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