Firefox 59.0 will be offered to the stable channel of the browser on March 13, 2018. It is the second major update after the release of Firefox 57.0 Quantum which introduced major changes across the board.
The release overview highlights all major and minor changes sorted into categories such as security or developer for easier accessibility.
All official channels are updated as well around the same time. Firefox Beta moves to Firefox 60, Firefox Nightly to 61, and Firefox ESR to 52.7.
- Firefox 59.0 features performance enhancements, new privacy settings.
- Work on WebExtensions APIs continued.
- Includes several security fixes.
- Firefox ESR 60 will be released in May.
Firefox 59.0 download and update
Firefox 59.0 is not yet available on Mozilla’s website or through Firefox’s automatic update system. Mozilla plans to release the update later today.
You can run a manual check for updates with a click on Menu > Help > About Firefox. This queries Mozilla’s server and reveals if updates are available. You may use the menu to download and install the updates then.
Direct download links for Firefox installation files.
Firefox 59.0 Changes
Firefox 59.0 includes a number of privacy enhancements. Users can load about:preferences#privacy and scroll down to the permissions section on the page that opens to control Location, Camera, Microphone and Notifications permissions.
A click on the settings button lists websites that you have allowed to access the feature and removal options.
Each page includes an option to block website and service requests automatically for that particular feature.
Useful if you don’t want sites to request the functionality or if you find the request prompts annoying. The options are not entirely new, but their placement in the Firefox preferences is.
You can check out our full overview of the options and the preference names here.
Firefox 59.0 includes other privacy enhancements. The browser strips the referer path in private browsing mode to block data leaks to third-party sites.
Basically, what it does is remove any data but the originating domain name from the referer.
Work on improving the performance of the Firefox browser continued, and the developers managed to improve performance in Firefox 59.0 in several areas:
- Firefox Home Page content should load faster now.
- Faster page load times by loading content either from the user’s hard drive or networked cache.
- Graphics rendering improvements for Mac Firefox installations (Off-Main-Thread-Painting, introduced in Firefox 58 for Linux and Windows)
- Drag and drop Top Sites elements on Firefox’s Home page and other customization options.
- Ecosia search engine available as an option in the German Firefox, and Qwant search engine in the French Firefox.
- Fix popup content on multi-monitor systems with different DPI settings.
- The Screenshot tool that is built-in to Firefox has new online capabilities.
- You can flip a switch to mark HTTP sites as insecure in Firefox.
Firefox 59.0 Issues
Firefox users on devices running Windows 7 may notice crashes if they use accessibility services. Mozilla investigates and suggests that users load about:preferences#privacy and check “Prevent accessibility services from accessing your browser” there to prevent the crashes until the issue is resolved.
- Cookie API supports first-party isolation mode and FPI cookies. Extensions can control cookie behavior.
- Experimental Tab Hiding API is available.
- Extensions can override proxy settings.
- IndexDB use no longer impacted by cookie settings.
- RTP Transceiver implemented to give “pages more fine grained control over calls”.
- Support for decentralization protocols dat://, dweb://, ipfs://, ipns:// and ssb://
- Support for W3C specs for pointer events.
- Theme API has new capabilities.
- Web Developer Tools improvements: network monitor shows a preview of the rendered HTML if the response is a HTML, sameSite column in Storage Inspector for Cookies, and more.
Firefox 59.0 for Android
- Mozilla added Firefox as an Assist App. Users on Android may long-tap the home button to start a search.
- Firefox 59 for Android supports HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) playback. This improves compatibility with video sites.
- Removed the about: page. Android users are asked to use the About Firefox dialog instead.
Security updates / fixes
- Top level navigation to date:// URIs is blocked.
- HTTP Auth dialogs can’t be triggered by cross-origin images anymore.
The next Firefox release day is May 8, 2018. Firefox Stable will hit version 60 and Firefox ESR is moved from version 52.x to 60.0. The upgrade ends support for legacy add-ons in the browser as Firefox ESR 52.x is the last official version of Firefox that supports the legacy add-on system.