Mozilla Firefox 98.0: here is what is new

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 8, 2022
Firefox
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49

Mozilla released Firefox 98.0 Stable and Firefox 91.7.0 ESR on March 8, 2022. Firefox 98 gets the new downloading experience among other changes.

firefox 98

All Firefox channels get updated around the same time. Firefox Beta and Developer are moved to version 99.0, Firefox Nightly is upgraded to version 100.0, and Firefox for Android is also moved to version 98.0.

Executive Summary

  • Firefox 98.0 and Firefox 91.7 ESR fix security issues.
  • The new download behavior is enabled in the release. Note: "always ask" download actions will be reset.
  • Some Firefox users may have their selected default search engine removed from the browser.

Firefox 98.0 download and update

firefox 98.0

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Firefox 98.0's release date is March 8, 2022. Mozilla rolls out the update to all systems on that day. Firefox's built-in updating system should pick up the new version automatically once it is released (which may happen some time after the publication of this release guide).

Firefox users may check the current version and run a manual check for updates on all desktop systems by selecting Menu > Help > About Firefox. Updates that are found during the check will be downloaded and installed on the local system.

Here are the links to the official download repositories.

Firefox 98.0 new features and improvements

New Download flow

firefox download behavior

The main new feature in Firefox 98 is the new download flow of the browser. The core difference between the old downloading behavior and the new is that Firefox won't prompt users anymore when downloads are started. Firefox will start the download immediately, similarly to how Chromium-based browsers handle it. You can check out our guide on restoring download prompts in Firefox.

Here are the main changes:

  • The downloads panel is displayed automatically in Firefox 98 by default.
  • Downloads may be opened while they still download. They are started immediately after the download completes then.
  • File downloads are no longer put into the system's temp folder.
  • The downloads menu displays the following options: always open similar files, show in folder, go to download page, copy download link, delete, remove from history and clear preview panel.

Some Firefox users may prefer to display download prompts, and Firefox offers two options for that. The first enables prompts for specific file types.

  1. Load about:preferences in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Scroll down to the Application's group.
  3. Use the filter at the top to find a file type.
  4. Double-click on its action field to switch the action to "always ask".

Firefox will display a prompt whenever a file of the selected filetype will be downloaded.

The second option is found on the same page. Locate the Downloads section on the page, and switch the Downloads option from "save files to" to "always ask you where to save files".

Other changes

  • Firefox may remove default search engines from some user systems; this is only the case if Mozilla did not receive formal permission from the search engine operators to include their search engine into Firefox.

Developer Changes

  • The HTML element <dialog> is now enabled by default.
  • navigator.registerProtocolHandler() supports registering protocol handlers for FTP, SFTP and FTPS.
  • HTMLElement.outerText is supported.
  • WebVR API is disabled by default as it is deprecated.
  • Extensions that use webReqest are no longer started early during Firefox startup unless they use blocking calls.
  • userScripts.register supports cookieStoreId. Extensions may use it to register container-specific user scripts.

Enterprise changes

  • PKG for macOS reported that it did not support M1. This is fixed in Firefox 98 and will soon be fixed in Firefox ESR as well.
  • Some Outlook Web Access configuration fields did not work properly. This is fixed in Firefox 98, ESR coming soon.
  • PDFjs policy may now be used to disable PDF permissions.
  • WebsiteFilter policy did not block web pages properly that were displayed after a 301 or 302 redirect took place.
  • UserMessaging policy supports the removal of "more from Mozilla" in preferences now.

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.

Outlook

Mozilla Firefox 99 and Mozilla Firefox 91.8.0 ESR will be released on April 5, 2022. It is the last stable version of Firefox before version 100 is reached.

Recently Reviewed Firefox extensions

Recent Firefox news and tips

Additional information / sources

Summary
Mozilla Firefox 98.0: here is what is new
Article Name
Mozilla Firefox 98.0: here is what is new
Description
Mozilla released Firefox 98.0 Stable and Firefox 91.7.0 ESR on March 8, 2022. Firefox 98 gets the new downloading experience among other changes.
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Comments

  1. ShintoPlasm said on March 8, 2022 at 10:15 am
    Reply

    So the only main ‘features’ are anti-user, removing existing selections? Mozilla has sunk very low indeed since its original founding.

    1. Iron Heart said on March 8, 2022 at 10:26 am
      Reply

      3% market share…

      1. Typo said on March 8, 2022 at 3:14 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart

        Not:
        3% market share…

        Correct:
        3% market share.

      2. walker said on March 8, 2022 at 4:46 pm
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        the lower the better, you know

    2. computer said no said on March 8, 2022 at 5:45 pm
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      @shintoplasm.
      Mozilla sadly does not contain the founding fathers anymore and it shows with the cosmetic changes.
      it is very sad to see a once great customisable browser with the best complete themes on the planet being slowly destroyed by it’s “new” developers.

    3. R7 said on March 8, 2022 at 8:06 pm
      Reply

      How is better customization anti-user?

      Users literally get better choice to either auto download or ask to save like before. Before this there was no auto download for many filetypes. The bug itself where people asked what we got today was open for ~14 years!

      1. ShintoPlasm said on March 8, 2022 at 10:47 pm
        Reply

        Because they change existing user selections, that’s why it’s bad.

    4. ULBoom said on March 9, 2022 at 4:37 am
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      9% on desktop and increasing. Mobile doesn’t matter. Google has it locked in with Chrome and you can’t do anything about Safari on iOS.

      If mobile mattered, there would be competition from someone. There’s none.

      https://gs.statcounter.com/browser-market-share/desktop/worldwide

      If that dumbass 3% meme had any value, Eurofighter Typhoon would suck because there aren’t that many in the total of all similar planes. Dumb comparison especially since it’s been around longer than Firefox.

      Wait, they’re not the same at all, the comparison is trollpuke. Duh!!!

      Try this, too:
      https://www.reddit.com/r/coolguides/comments/gdmzjc/24_common_logical_fallacies/

      1. Frankel said on March 9, 2022 at 10:47 am
        Reply

        @ULBoom

        I’ll bite, how do you think the F-16, F-14 (with and without flaps down) and Especially in regard to thrust-to-weight ratio, RWR / datalink and 1/2-circle engagements?

      2. Iron Heart said on March 9, 2022 at 11:57 am
        Reply

        @ULBoom

        > Mobile doesn’t matter.

        Said no one during the last decade or so. When you do web development, you have to consider mobile, and since layouts are sufficiently flexible by now (usually no need to redo the entirety of the website for mobile again as it used to be), the reality is 3% market share of Firefox overall in terms of how a web dev would see it.
        Plus, mobile matters for sync reasons as well, it is an important feature. Firefox’s mobile version is and has been shit for more than a decade, but people are likely to use the same browser on desktop AND mobile because of sync, give this some thought.

        > 9% on desktop and increasing.

        It’s not increasing (rounding errors don’t count), and 9% now (down from 30% peak) is just moderately less shitty than their overall (realistic) numbers.

        > If mobile mattered, there would be competition from someone. There’s none.

        Blink and WebKit do compete on mobile. It’s just Firefox making no dent in this market even though it could, at least on Android. But you would need some kind of killer feature to make it happen. How about adblock by default for example (that is where Brave’s growth comes from on mobile), does the Google deal prevent that? :D

        > Eurofighter Typhoon

        Dumb comparison. Firefox can be downloaded free of charge by anyone with internet access. It’s not that low in market share because it is some kind luxury product, buddy, it is low because hardly anyone wants to use it, or sees any reason to switch to it.

        You should be happy that I am giving you the real talk here, the numbers don’t lie, they are the realistic indicator of Firefox’s performance over the last decade, no matter how much corporate propaganda Mozilla spouts. But then… not all is lost! Indeed, there are three areas in which Mozilla certainly still delivers peak performance:

        1) Annual CEO pay rise.
        2) Annually fired developers relative to the overall number of employees.
        3) Amount of talk about deplatforming, babysitting you through your web sessions, 100% protecting you from all kinds of wrongthink (lol).

        Hey, that is something, is it not? Three areas where Mozilla still outperforms all others, something to be proud of after all! And that is not trolling, btw, this is the harsh reality, and what you do is more or less cope.

  2. monkey butler said on March 8, 2022 at 10:38 am
    Reply

    Thanks Martin for posting and with such great details.

  3. Dumbledalf said on March 8, 2022 at 11:02 am
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    I don’t get why they keep changing the most visible parts of the UI, yet the History is still accommodated in an outdated sidebar from the 90s. And History & Downloads in a separate window. At least they could add options to display those in a tab.

    My explanation is that they don’t care and are doing these visual updates just to simulate that the browser is progressing, when in reality it’s just stagnating.

    1. ULBoom said on March 8, 2022 at 3:18 pm
      Reply

      You can view downloads in a tab by clicking on the show all downloads text in the download window. Tab remains until you close it. May depend on whether you have links set to open in a new tab in Settings.

      1. Dumbledalf said on March 8, 2022 at 4:21 pm
        Reply

        That is a workaround. It doesn’t fix the problem.

    2. Anonymous said on March 8, 2022 at 5:44 pm
      Reply

      the “outdated” sidebars and separate windows firefox uses are actually sortable and somewhat useful unlike the crappy history/downloads/bookmarks pages that chromium-based browsers use and are generally superior in every single way, so i’d prefer it if mozilla avoided butchering them for as long as humanly possible

    3. ULBoom said on March 9, 2022 at 4:40 am
      Reply

      Not a workaround, it’s how it works.
      Use it or not, IDK.

    4. Rex said on March 15, 2022 at 6:27 am
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      The oUtDaTeD sidebar allows you to browse history and/or bookmarks separate from whatever webpage you have open instead of the Chrome introduced retardation of replacing all standard desktop elements with tabs so you’re forced to focus on only one at a time, or open in a new window and keep switching between them. Preferences dialog? No, tab. Sidebar? Up yours, here’s a tab instead. It makes sense on mobile where screen space is at a premium and everything has to render with the same screen dimensions, not on a desktop where horizontal screen space is aplenty and people can actually do more than one thing at a time.

  4. Some1 said on March 8, 2022 at 11:33 am
    Reply

    Fixing what is not broken! What is the benefit of this new download behavior?!

    1. vgtz said on March 8, 2022 at 5:25 pm
      Reply

      Maybe they want to test how people react to drive-by downloads…

    2. Anonymous said on March 8, 2022 at 6:58 pm
      Reply

      because that is the way that Chrome does it. Bugzilla is full of comments from the developers stating that the only rationale for doing something is because Chrome does it. So the Chrome team is now the design authority for Fx.

      1. R7 said on March 8, 2022 at 8:09 pm
        Reply

        The bug where people asked for this was opened when Chrome came out 13-14 years ago and was nowhere near as used as it is today. Learn some history. Chrome is not the reason.

    3. R7 said on March 8, 2022 at 8:07 pm
      Reply

      Users literally get better choice to either auto download or ask to save like before. Before this there was no auto download for many filetypes. The bug itself where people asked what we got today was open for ~14 years!

      1. Anonymous said on March 9, 2022 at 1:33 am
        Reply

        @R7
        Do you want to auto download virus as well? You keep saying 14 years old bug without giving any source

      2. R7 said on March 9, 2022 at 8:26 am
        Reply

        https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=453455

        Mozilla cant protect users from their own stupidity. Those that were careless could download a virus with the old system as well.

  5. assurbani said on March 8, 2022 at 11:34 am
    Reply

    and “browser.download.improvements_to_download_panel” ??

  6. Tom Hawack said on March 8, 2022 at 11:39 am
    Reply

    I would have imagined an update from 97.0.2 to 97.0.3 for such a minor modification : hopping to 98.0 illustrates the absurdity of monthly updates, by their rigidity, by their formalism. You may need two major updates in a row and a minor update after three months. Check-list mentality prevailing on good sens. All that because Google does it for Chrome and that a version number shouldn’t be smaller than that of its competitors : as if that had an importance, as if what you look like prevailed on what you are. Damn stupid. Typically American and unfortunately increasingly European approach to fame.

    Anyway, Fly Robin Fly : updated of course. But without surrendering to the new file download process :

    // disable new file download opening behavior = Restore Firefox’s classic download (download prompt)
    pref(“browser.download.improvements_to_download_panel”, false); // DEFAULT=true

    1. John G. said on March 8, 2022 at 12:03 pm
      Reply

      I agree. This should be a minor update from 97.0.2 to 97.0.3 at least imho. This weird numbering versions are awful to describe the importance of what they are updating. Just like W10 to W11, for example, it should be W10.5 with greetings for releasing something. Thanks for the article! :]

    2. foolishgrunt said on March 8, 2022 at 8:18 pm
      Reply

      I mean really, shouldn’t we only be on like version 11 by now?

  7. motang said on March 8, 2022 at 2:17 pm
    Reply

    Thanks Martin for the great write up. The new Download is going to be very helpful for me in my line of work. Where I have to download the latest copies for published work and won’t have to click on open, etc.

  8. Yuliya said on March 8, 2022 at 2:33 pm
    Reply

    Oh wow. I have discovered something a few days ago :)
    chromium: https://i.imgur.com/3PQWeYk.png
    firefox: https://i.imgur.com/SxLUklc.png

    Do you see it? I’ll explain it anyway. This machine has an 11th gen Intel CPU. Firefox cannot do hardware decoding at all on this machine, therefore it decodes everything in software. I tried feeding it local files, AV1, VP9, H264, H265. Nothing. It cannot decode anything in hardware. I know for sure HW decoding works on CoffeeLake and older. How is this browser designed that basic features from older platforms, which worked, somehow are not fuctional on newer ones?

    Be advised, until Mozilla fixes this expect newer platforms to heat up, ramp up the fan rpm and poor battery life, if you decide to use Firefox to play any form of videos on any online platform.

    I have tried to force HW decoding as well from about:config, disable GPU blacklist, etc. Nothing works. This browser will not use HW decoding no matter what.

    1. Anonymous said on March 8, 2022 at 5:58 pm
      Reply

      on win7 my cpu usage goes up to like 50-60% or so whenever a 4k youtube video is playing, whether or not it’s running in firefox esr or ungoogled chromium and i have a fairly high end gpu + aero enabled, but then again i’m running a 6600k so…

      there’s also this ancient broken vsync bug on wangblows which apparently still hasn’t been fixed (https://www.vsynctester.com/firefoxisbroken.html) but that’s par for the course when it comes to mozilla

      1. matthiew said on March 9, 2022 at 4:15 am
        Reply

        Your comment peaked my interest so I did a quick test on my computer. On a 4K video Firefox jumped up to 39% CPU usage for a couple of seconds before settling down to 15-30%. I repeated the test on Chrome which jumped up to 52% before settling down to 20-30%. Ironically, Chrome’s peak CPU usage was while playing the ad before the video, which is only 480p resolution.

    2. Frankel said on March 9, 2022 at 10:53 am
      Reply

      @Yuliya

      That is because you misconfigured Firefox and disabled it. Maybe replace your busted profile. Mine does hardware decoding just fine. I even opened the same URL.

      Also your test is done wrong already by the fact that you did not even use the same resolution in both view ports. Maybe try full screen next time after fixing your misconfigured browser.

      I’d love to see the results, actually I know the answer already ;)
      As it works on my machine.

      1. Frankel said on March 9, 2022 at 11:06 am
        Reply

        Addendum: https://i.imgur.com/KEj91Ae.png

        gee whiz! exactly as I said, it works fine on correctly configured machines

      2. Yuliya said on March 9, 2022 at 12:07 pm
        Reply

        >gee whiz! exactly as I said, it works fine on correctly configured machines
        On your screenshot it is not. It says there it is not doing video decoding. It went into 3D clocks. There is no need for that for H/W video decoding. Please attempt to understand and educate yourself about what I’m actually talking about.

      3. Yuliya said on March 9, 2022 at 12:05 pm
        Reply

        Frankel, if I didn’t make it clear yet, that is on a clean profile, fresh install. No changes whatsoever. And as I stated, I know certainly it works on CoffeeLake and older, but fails on TigerLake and newer.

      4. Anon said on March 10, 2022 at 5:46 pm
        Reply

        Yuliya
        Check Performance tab in task manager. At the bottom there should be videocard section. Look there at overall usage and Video decoding.
        Looking at GPU engine column in Processes isn’t right. What it will show when process is using several profiles (3D, Video decode, Copy) simultaneously?

        Tested Nighly on Twitch. I enabled hardware decoding, and see that GPU engine column is showing profile with most usage. For 1080p60 on my machine it’s switching between Video decoding and 3D, most of the time showing 3D. After switching to 480p, it shows only 3D, because 3D usage % is higher than Video decode (50% vs 41%). But hardware Video decoding is working and I can see it on Performance tab.
        Firefox uses 3D for webrender. But that’s doesn’t mean it is hurting video decoding, they use different resources of videocard.

  9. fse said on March 8, 2022 at 10:40 pm
    Reply

    it didn’t reset my preference.. mine still says “always ask me where to save files”
    unless i misunderstood and you meant the bits that get reset is the big list of file extensions

  10. anonymous said on March 9, 2022 at 3:14 pm
    Reply

    “Load about:preferences in the Firefox address bar.”

    Or open “Settings”… Lol!

  11. loxia_01 said on March 9, 2022 at 5:27 pm
    Reply

    Question about new download behaviour:

    Say you want to download for example an xlsx or csv file and auto-open it with Excel without any intention to keep the file after closing Excel. It seems it is now impossible to prevent the file being saved to default download location. Am I correct here? If correct, the new download behaviour is not an improved one, but an impaired one.

    1. Ed D said on March 9, 2022 at 6:12 pm
      Reply

      This is correct. Firefox automatically downloads and saves the file to the Downloads folder. So if you actually *do* save it elsewhere with a different file name, you will now have the file in your Downloads folder *and* wherever you intended to save it – and the Downloads folder will of course have the original file name from the web site, which is probably useless.

    2. R7 said on March 9, 2022 at 6:25 pm
      Reply

      The file was saved before too. It was saved in temp folder. It was not displayed magicly from the ether.
      The change was made because people did not find their downloaded files.

      1. Ed D said on March 9, 2022 at 8:49 pm
        Reply

        Yes, that’s true, but being in a %temp% folder meant it was ignored by the opening application, and is more easily deleted automatically by system cleanups. The way it works now, if you open a pdf, for instance, in Adobe Acrobat Reader, and then name and save the file, Abode will show the Downloads folder as the default save location because that is where it opened the file from. This is not necessarily what is wanted, so you have to manually change the save destination – and the original downloaded file with its original file name will still be sitting in the Downloads folder, where it will need to be manually deleted if not wanted.

      2. loxia_01 said on March 9, 2022 at 9:40 pm
        Reply

        I have my TEMP folder on a RAM disk, so it is auto-cleaned every restart and having it saved to the TEMP folder also means I don’t have to manually clean the Downloads folder from files that is of no use.

        If they remove the revert config setting in future updates, a solution is to write a PowerShell script that take care of downloads for some file extensions. You can then convert the PS script to an exe application with PS2Exe, and can set that application to handle downloads for the specified extensions in Firefox.

      3. loxia_01 said on March 10, 2022 at 1:42 am
        Reply

        I tested a PowerShell script to download files and you actually have to end the script with an explicit “Remove-Item $HOME\Downloads\$fileName”. Even if I set an external script/application to take care of the download, Firefox seems to download the file to the default download location.

      4. loxia_01 said on April 13, 2022 at 11:56 am
        Reply

        I realized you can actually continue to download opened files to the TEMP folder just by setting the TEMP folder as default download directory. You can still download other files to the desired folder if you have “Always ask” enabled. So the new Firefox download behavior is actually an improvement.

  12. Count Von Thizzle said on March 9, 2022 at 6:04 pm
    Reply

    @ Firefox Ninja Martin, could you please point me in the right direction to fix this:
    Firefox about:config setting to “disable downloads drop down box from appearing automatically”

    The box appearing automatically and obscuring the page I’m trying to read is AAF (annoying as f34k!). I have the “Download Manger S3” extension installed and I don’t need this new behavior (with no “switch” in settings from Mozilla). As other users have noted in previous comments about Mozilla removing choices for users, they need to stop this behavior.
    Perhaps a comparison by you between the newest Firefox/Waterfox releases concerning what anti-user behaviors Firefox has recently implemented and what Waterfox chose not to include in their release? Martin & company, thanks for all your hard work and great reviews, CVT.

  13. bob said on March 11, 2022 at 5:06 am
    Reply

    The only option I cared about was the download panel displaying after each download.

    Easy to turn it off though.

    browser.download.alwaysOpenPanel=false

  14. patapouf said on March 11, 2022 at 11:17 am
    Reply

    firefox, windows, chrome …………. last version with new features!!
    Tech blogs on internet: Last version of firefox, windows, chrome….: How to disable new features of last version….

    Seriously?! Is something going wrong somewhere?

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