Firefox for Android is getting a native PDF viewer
Mozilla is working on integrating a native PDF viewer in Firefox for Android. Firefox Nightly for Android users may test the PDF viewer already, but it will become available to all users eventually.
One of Firefox for Android's shortcomings right now, compared to Google Chrome, is missing support for opening PDF documents directly in the mobile browser; this deficit is being eradicated soon.
The basis for PDF viewing in Firefox for Android is the same that Mozilla Firefox for desktop operating systems has: the Mozilla-developed pdf.js application. The PDF viewer has been available for years for Firefox on Windows, Linux and Mac devices, and it is making its debut on Firefox for Android as well now.
Android users who run Firefox Nightly on their device may test the functionality already. It is not enabled by default, but can be enabled in the advanced configuration.
Here is how that is done:
- Load about:config in the Firefox Nightly address bar.
- Search for pdfjs.disabled.
- Use the toggle button to set the preference to FALSE.
This enables the built-in PDF viewer in Firefox for Android. Any PDF file that is opened in Firefox for Android is then loaded in the browser's PDF reader and not in an external application on the Android device.
Firefox users need to be aware that this is an early implementation of the feature. Some elements need to be adjusted to better fit the mobile user experience and it should be considered a work in progress at this time.
After all, it is disabled in Firefox Nightly, the cutting edge development channel of Firefox. Work will continue on the implementation in the coming weeks and months.
Mozilla has not yet decided on a target release version, but it is almost certain that it will see the light in 2023 in Firefox Stable for Android.
Firefox 108 for Android includes a new PDF related feature though. Users of the browser may save websites as PDF files when it is released next Tuesday.
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