Firefox is getting a makeover starting with version 89 of the web browser, which rolls out today. The new user interface, previously known by its code-name “Proton,” brings new icons, a redesigned Settings menu, an updated design for browser tabs, and more.

Mozilla says the new design gives Firefox an easier to use, cleaner interface without as many redundant features and icons. But as with any major UI change, I suspect it’ll take some folks a while to get used to the new layout which may require hunting for some items that have moved to new locations.

Firefox 89 also, quite frankly, looks a bit more like Google Chrome than Firefox 88. The browser tabs are larger than before, and they now have rounded rather than sharp corners. And the drop-down action/setting menu options more closely resemble Google’s. It drops icons in favor of text descriptions, and places New Tab, New Windows, and New Private Windows actions near the top of the screen.

Unlike Chrome, though, there’s a bit of space between each browser tab. Mozilla says these “floating tabs” makes it more clear that tabs can be moved.

Mozilla has also updated the permission prompts, giving a cleaner, more modern look to the pop-ups that ask if you want to grant access to your camera and mic, for example.

Other changes in Firefox 89 include:

  • Updated notification system with messages that take up less space & non-essential messages have been removed
  • Media auto-play disabled by default
  • Total Cookie Protection is now always-on in Private Browsing Mode
  • Mac users get:
    • Elastic overscroll effect (a bouncing animation when you hit the bottom of the page)
    • Smart zoom (double-tap with two fingers on a trackpad or single finger with a Magic Mouse)
    • Native context menus with light and dark mode theme support

The new user interface is also rolling out to Firefox for Android and iOS devices, bringing new menus, tab design, icons, and typography, among other things.


via Firefox 89 release notes and Mozilla blog post

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8 replies on “Firefox 89 brings a new interface to Mozilla’s web browser”

  1. If I wanted google chrome, I would use it. But I don’t. I just upgraded to FF89 from FF72. Mistake! I am now experiencing several freeze ups every day. This is why I seldom upgrade as it usually wrecks things. I don’t want to use other browsers and I want to keep using Linux.

  2. Yet another business changing something drastically without so much as a by your leave. My computer froze and I needed to power down and restart. Start Firefox again and it is different.
    Change is always a security risk, especially when it occurs without warning. I need to ask – Was that an official change or some sort of attack. I already had to wonder what caused my computer to freeze. Was this part of the same attack.
    Change is a time waster, having to learn afresh what you were doing automatically before.
    I often have several Firefox windows open with tabs for different purposes, so “news” in one window, “searches” in another, “finance” in another. A quick scan of the destop used to show where the appropriate window was so that I could click on it. This was easy when tabs were in black as the tabs show up as a header to the window. Now useless since tabs are almost same colour as every other window and the search bar so visually merge together.
    As Jane Austen may have written “Badly done Mozilla”.

    1. At least you can fix the color issue with themes.
      I use Firefox ESR so things don’t change on me so rapidly and by the time they do there’s a few more fixes available.

  3. Didn’t we just have a UI overhaul last year with Firefox on Android? UI changes are tricky things to do and there will always be people who will find some changes annoying. So far, I’ve found most of Mozilla’s UI changes to be easy to adjust to. I expected to have some trouble on Android when they did their redesign after hearing some people complain, but I’ve never run into major obstacles. The adjustment to the tabs is probably clearer visually, and media autoplay being off by default is a wonderful thing. I remember getting rather annoyed by autoplay and looking for ways to disable it right around this time of year back in 2017. Nice to have one less hoop to jump through for once to get things the way I like them.

  4. Another attempt from Mozilla that shows they have no clue. If Mozilla users wanted Chrome then they would install it.

  5. They also hid the ability to select compact density behind an about:config preference because they don’t want to keep maintaining that.
    There’s no other reason for it, it was in a drop down menu that contained two other options for density which was also the only menu to change density, any arguments they made about “user engagement” are baloney.
    There’s nothing but complaints about these changes but Mozilla isn’t budging. I don’t think the developers are really being given a choice.
    …But I’m still using Firefox, because if you don’t, there’s nothing left but Blink and google will have (even) free(er) reign to implement standards that eliminate content blocking or tracking blocking or put DRM in images or enable further user abuse.

    1. I didn’t even know about the compact density feature. Now that I know of it, it’s when Mozilla plans on getting rid of it.

      Anyway, I’ve enabled it. Thanks. Let’s see how long Mozilla keeps it around.

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