After beginning a rollout of a major new version of Firefox for Android in July, Mozilla has announced that the new app is now widely available in Europe, and coming to North American uses on August 27th.

Technically, the new web browser is Firefox 79. But Mozilla is calling it “Firefox Daylight,” since it represents a major design overhaul and user experience changes. It’s the first stable update to Firefox for Android since version 68 and incorporates a year’s worth of updates.

Firefox Daylight

The user interface has been changed so that tabs can be displayed on either the top or bottom of the screen. There’s support for grouping multiple tabs into collections. And there’s support for picture-in-picture video.

Mozilla has also added support for performing a voice search from the address bar. Enhanced Tracking Protection is set to strict mode by default. And there’s quicker access to Firefox Private Mode from the home screen.

Firefox for Android also now support Light and Dark themes and uses Mozilla’s new GeckoView mobile web engine, which the company says is faster and provides more flexibility in the development and release cycle.

But if you’ve been using an older version of Firefox for Android and making use of its support for third-party add-ons, you may want to disable automatic updates… because Firefox 79 only supports a handful of add-ons.

In fact, as Android Police points out, as of late July, 2020, only 9 add-ons are supported:

  • Dark Reader
  • Decentraleyes
  • HTTPS Everywhere
  • NoScript Security Suite
  • Privacy Badger
  • Privacy Possum
  • Search by Image
  • uBlock Origin
  • YouTube High Definition

Mozilla says more add-ons should be supported in the future. But Firefox 68 supported literally thousands of third-party add-ons, which means that “upgrading” to the latest version of Firefox could kill functionality for some users.

This isn’t a huge surprise to folks who’ve been keeping an eye on development of the open source web browser. Mozilla has been testing many of the changes incorporated in Firefox 79 in Firefox Preview and Beta browsers that had been available as separate downloads. But now that those changes are being incorporated into the stable version of Firefox, it means that more users are likely to get all the new features… and have support for extensions and other add-ons severely restricted.

If you’d like to avoid an automatic update, you can follow our guide for disabling Android app auto updates.

This article was originally published July 29, 2020 and last updated August 25, 2020.

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10 replies on “Firefox Daylight for Android brings a major design overhaul (and limited support for extensions)”

  1. “The user interface has been changed so that tabs can be displayed on either the top or bottom of the screen.”

    No. Hugely not. The user interface has been changed so that you can put the toolbar at the top or bottom; your tabs are no longer displayed anywhere while you are browsing a page. The ‘active tabs’ icon counter on the toolbar, which shows the number of active tabs, and in the last version could be tapped to show the active tabs in a grid, now opens to show the active tabs in a list, and it is buried on this screen that the ‘new page’ button was hidden, down at the bottom of the screen regardless of where you put the toolbar.

  2. Daylight has just been forced onto my android tablet. It is total rubbish, as many commenters have said. What other browsers do commenter recommend?

  3. Well cut and paste do not work!

    Some idiot thought black text with dark purple highight on grey would be a easy read in the address bar!

    I too think it is time to leave Firefox.

  4. Dude, Android Firefox 79 is totally unusable, the address bars sits at the bottom and when you want to type in it, it swaps to the top, this is really horrible. Can’t see bookmarks, can’t add to homepage. The guys or gals that keep changing firefox from one version to another must be low level interns with no UI experience, coz this is unbelievably bad.

  5. My tablet upgraded to 79 yesterday. I have used Firefox since near the beginning, but am now seriously thinking of using another browser as my default.
    I am no great computer/ tech expert and can only comment on how I find things, not in any great technical fashion.
    Bad points (for me):
    No dedicated forward or back buttons. Have to use tablets back button. To go forward have to press the three dots and then a forward arrow appears. Therefore, have to click twice not once which slows down navigation/ browsing.
    Open tabs are not shown as you browse. You have to press a button that then opens another page that has your tabs on. Again this is more fiddly, less convenient and slows down browsing.
    Is slower. Each morning I check various Email accounts and my mobile phone account. Usually takes about ten minutes. This morning closer to 25 minutes and I had to use another browser to check phone account as Firefox would not load page.
    One of the main websites I use is the online version of a newspaper. How the new Firefox now renders the page makes it almost unreadable, not so good when trying to read a newspaper. Adverts now appear after every few lines of text, never did before. Also had difficulty signing in to my newspaper account, but no problems when using a different browser.
    All in all for me Firefox is now almost unusable.
    I have thought of downgrading to an older version, but the Mozilla website says it is not possible to downgrade. Maybe I will just have to have a play around and see what happens…Nothing could be worse than it is now.
    Have also read that some features that are now missing will be restored in version 80. Can but live in hope!
    Maybe, its simply a case that Mozilla have sold their soul and are becoming like Apple, Microsoft, Google etc!

  6. HATE IT

    Cannot stand the new version – where’s my list of bookmarks and history as my launch page. FFS can’t they stop trying to be like Apple and treating everyone like dolts who need their hand held with an approach of “you don’t need to know about that”.

  7. Having automatic updates turned off doesn’t help. Firefox will still install the 79 update without your permission. Worse, version 79 secretly adds Wikipedia, Google, EBay, Bing and Amazon tracking browsers, slowing your system down, again without telling you or giving you an out. Even if you can disable them (they can’t be deleted), Firefox restores them at the next startup. I’m going elsewhere.

Comments are closed.