Mozilla has released Firefox 20, and for the first time you can open a private browsing window without closing every tab that’s currently open in your browser. Firefox 20 adds support for per-tab private browsing.

Firefox 20 Private mode

Private browsing lets you surf the web without your browser saving your history, cookies, or other data. This lets you look up information of a sensitive nature without worrying that you’ll forever be inundated with advertisements about fungal infections, shop for birthday presents without alerting your spouse, or do… other things. There’s a reason many folks refer to private/incognito mode as “porn mode.”

For as long as Firefox has offered a private browsing option, the web browser has saved all of your open tabs so that as soon as you exit private mode all of your web pages will reload. But now you don’t have to close a tab just to open a new private tab.

The new feature is available both in the desktop version of Firefox and Firefox for Android.

Firefox 20 for PC also includes a new Download Manager which lets you view downloads by tapping a button in the toolbar. You no longer have to switch to a new window just to see a list of downloads. And you can now close frozen plugins without crashing the web browser.

The Android app also now supports additional devices… including phones and tablets with ARMv6 processors.

via The Mozilla Blog


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7 replies on “Firefox 20 lets you open a private window without closing all other tabs”

  1. This would be more exciting if Chrome and IE 10 didn’t already handle private browsing that way, and if Opera didn’t do them all one better, letting you mix private and non-private tabs in the same browser window.

    1. Can you optional make the private tabs or windows isolated from each other in Chrome, IE or Opera?

      In Firefox, all private tabs and windows share the same set of cookies and data. They’re deleted upon exiting private browsing. Do any of these other browsers maintain independent browsing states? For example, you log into Gmail in one tab. When you open a new tab, that new tab won’t be logged into Gmail.

      1. I’m uncertain for the others, but as for Opera, if you log into G-mail in one tab, other tabs you open will also be logged in, except for private tabs. Private tabs store the cookies independently and are erased upon closing the tab.

        Regular Opera user, just has so many more feature

    2. “letting you mix private and non-private tabs in the same browser window”
      I very much need this, as the most recent ‘upgrade’ of our e-mail system and its web portal at work killed my ability to be logged into both my account and our department’s group account simultaneously (in the same browser window, so I can see new mail alerts from both accounts without switching focus). I may have to switch to Opera if they’re the only ones who do this.

  2. Are private tabs related? Before, all tabs were related. For example, I log into some site using the private window. Make a new tab and that tab is also logged into that site. Only when you exit and re-enter private browsing will the info be deleted.

      1. private tabs in Opera are isolated, but I’m not sure about the other web browsers out there

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