Firefox 53 brought great innovations, the new version fixes some minor problems. Mozilla faced security and data protection issues in the foreground with Firefox 53, the successor’s success is, however, more about appearance and operation. For example, Firefox 53 offers “Compact Themes,” displays the read-time and crashes more rarely, at least according to Mozilla. At first glance, the developers have again put a lot of effort into offering Firefox old users and newcomers something new. This is also urgently necessary. According to counting institutes such as StatCounter and NetMarketShare, Firefox [behind which, unlike Chrome or Edge, is a non-profit organization is running] is falling behind in the race. Good-Will alone is not enough.
Very fresh: Version 53.0.3
After the “big” update to version 53, which included many new features, Mozilla has now released another update of its browser with Firefox 53.0.3. The version does not bring any new functions, it only takes care of bug/fixes.
More stability, less energy hunger
Firefox 53.0.3 fixes the problem that when surfing by proxy servers sometimes websites could not be loaded. In addition, the new version avoids unnecessary network requests when finding WLAN hotspots, thus reducing the energy requirement and sucks less on the battery for notebooks. You can find further changes to the current browser in the Mozilla blog. Recently, Mozilla had patched a critical vulnerability in update 53.0.2.
Fresh designs for Firefox 53
Previously, Firefox had received two new designs with the big update to version 53; the “bright” and “dark” themes bring change to the standard design at the push of a button. These “compact themes” (“Compact Dark” and “Compact Light”) color the browser alternatively in light or dark color. Also, the rounded tabs and the transparency effect for tabs disappear in the background. The most striking feature, however, is that the respective active tab is colored blue. In addition, there are numerous minor adaptations that make Firefox appear fresher. The differences between the themes are shown by the photo-stretch. All of this is especially pleased for users who do not like the Australis design introduced with Firefox 29, apart from the fact that it significantly reduces the confusion with the Chrome browser.
Themes move in the foreground
With the help of themes, Firefox has always been able to adapt the appearance of the browser to your personal needs. But this was so far something that needed to be initiated by users, because a clearly visible indication was missing. If you now open the extension menu in the new version, you will find a link to the manufacturer’s theme overview under the option Appearance.
New: read time and download speed
If you regularly use the read mode of the browser, Firefox 53 is pleased to announce the estimated reading time for the article. In order to take into account the different reading speeds of the users, Firefox provides a variable reading time of, for example, 9 to 12 minutes. The Mozilla browser is also more communicative; since Firefox 20, it was based on an integrated download window, which informs about downloading files from the Internet. The current download speed was missing. The vendor has now introduced this feature in this update again. If you click on the blue arrow, you can see how many bits are flowing through the line.
Firefox update isn’t for every operating system
Users, who still rely on the Windows versions XP and Vista, will be disappointed. Mozilla has discontinued the support of the older operating systems and supplies Firefox 53 only for Windows 7 or newer Windows. Those affected should switch to a current operating system as soon as possible. Until then, use the ESR version (Extended Support Release) of Firefox 52, which the manufacturer is expected to provide until September 2017 with security updates. A change, as expected by Firefox users, is for users who use the browser on a computer with Apple’s macOS; Mozilla has killed the 32-bit version, now offers only the 64-bit variant. The installation file is now much smaller. Firefox users who have installed the 32-bit version on their Mac computer will automatically get the latest version of the update.
More fail-safe and modern add-ons
With the “Quantum Compositor” Firefox 53 gets an additional process for the graphics calculation. The developers promise by outsourcing the vulnerable process that Firefox runs much more stable. According to the figures, errors in the graphics calculation are responsible for around 10 percent of the browser crashes; plug-ins provide even more errors (18%.) With the release of Firefox 53, Mozilla is serious about denying the acceptance of extensions that do not support the new multi-process architecture of the browser. However, old extensions can be used, at least until the release of Firefox 57 towards the end of the year. After this, only add-ons that support the modern interface called “WebExtensions” are going to be allowed.
New search box and bookmark synchronization
A small improvement brings Firefox 53 to long selection fields. The new Firefox displays a search field for lists with more than 40 entries, which filters the list as it is typed. The developers also integrated the HTML5 player to play audio and video files. The new version is visually somewhat more modern and technically up-to-date. In addition, the bookmark synchronization has been revised to increase the reliability of this function. The service now registers changes during browser startup and during synchronization. In addition, customization allows Firefox to enable synchronization of bookmarks under iOS. The Android version of the browser is waiting this time with comparatively little new. The most interesting option is to display two tabs next to each other in the tab overview. This saves space and provides more overview.
With the innovations in Firefox 53, Mozilla proves that the team behind the browser is not burned on the ideals. With the many changes, the latest version makes you want more. New designs bring fresh wind into Firefox, and the eBook’s well-known ad reading is helpful for longer articles. The fact that the US manufacturer separates piece by piece from outdated extensions is only consistent with the lengthy work on the substructure of the browser.
Predecessor check: Firefox 52
With Firefox 52, the browser manufacturer again proved how important security and data protection is to them. However, the new features also showed the dilemma in which enlightened (Firefox) users are stuck; it is certainly welcoming that Firefox is now warning about Web sites that access data unencrypted. As long as the providers do not offer their contents in an appropriately secured way, users are only left to either not use the respective service or to take on the risk. It was gratifying that Mozilla accepted the concept of fingerprinting. Here, however, a simpler implementation would have been desirable; at least if the majority of Firefox users should use it. The end of the support for Windows XP was overdue; anyone who still uses the hopelessly outdated operating system on the Internet in 2017 is irresponsible.