Mozilla has officially brought multi-process support to the Firefox web browser. After debuting multi-process support in Firefox 48 beta a few months ago, the developers have dropped the beta label.
Firefox 48 is now available for download, and the biggest change is that it’s the first stable version of the web browser to use Mozilla’s new Electrolysis feature that uses separate processes for web content and the browser itself… which should keep individual web pages from making the whole browser freeze.
Note that not all users will be able to use Electrolysis on day one though.
Instead, Mozilla is doing a phased rollout. Today only about one percent of the people who install Firefox 48 will be using the new multi-process architecture. In the future Mozilla will roll it out to more and more users unless show-stopping bugs are found by the relatively small number of early users.
You can check to see if you’re included by typing about:support into the location bar of the browser, and then looking at the Multi-process Windows line to see if it says “1/1 (Enabled by default).”
Don’t want to wait for Mozilla to flip the switch for your browser? You can also force multi-process support manually.
Future versions of Firefox could expand multi-process support. Next up on Mozilla’s list is support for running add-ons in multi-process architecture. And by mid-2017, the developers hope to enable support for each individual web page to run as a separate process (you know, the way that Google Chrome already does it) so that problems with one web page won’t affect other pages.
Other changes in Firefox 48 for desktop users include:
- More suggestions as you type in the URL bar (the results view is also wider)
- The about:addons design has been revised
- Enhanced download protection from potential malware or potentially unwanted software
Firefox 48 for Android also has some new features including
- New audio and video playback controls
- Firefox will pause videos playing in the browser when you take a phone call
- Reading Lists have been put under the Bookmarks menu
- Synced tabs are now in the History pane
Among other things, that means a Reading List on your phone can be synchronized so that you can access the same list on your notebook or desktop.