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(Update) Firefox 53 has been released.

(Update 20/04/2017): Firefox 53 has now been pushed to the stable channel. The browser is available on the three major desktop operating systems; Windows, Mac OS and Linux, as well as Android. The release notes for version 53 can be accessed here. Desktop users can download Firefox 53 here.

(Update 12/04/2017): It has been confirmed that Mozilla Firefox 53 will bring a new settings section, named "Performance". The options within performance allow the user to: turn on or off the UI animations; turn on or off prefetching and to specify how many processes Firefox itself is allowed to use. This is no doubt intended for laptops which rely on battery power or for low power PCs which can sometimes struggle due to power limitations.

After the recent release of the Mozilla Firefox 52, version 53 is now in beta. The new version includes several new features as well as some changes. One of the biggest introductions will be the new ‘compositor process’. It has been created to lower the number of device driver related crashes; however, it will only work on certain Windows machines. More on this process can be read here.

Another improvement for Windows users will be the option to select 32-bit or 64-bit versions in the Firefox installer. Other new additions include a reading time estimation when using the browser’s reader mode. Additionally, new themes will be introduced. “Lightweight” themes will be present in private browsing windows, while two “compact” themes, dark and light, will also be available.

Firefox 53 will also start blocking media playback on new tabs until the tab is opened, hopefully eliminating disliked auto playing videos. Permission notification will get a redesigned look so that they “cannot be easily missed”.

Finally, Mozilla is reducing the support for its browser. Windows XP and Vista will no longer be supported, while Firefox will be a 64-bit only application on OS X. Linux support is also being removed for machines running on processors older than the Pentium 4 and AMD Opteron.

The full release notes are available here.

Recommendation: Online service providers and developers are encouraged to start testing their products as soon as possible so that any bugs and vulnerabilities can be found in time.

To find out how Firefox is faring against its competition, and other important information, check out our new developer portal!


(article originally written 09/03/2017, last updated 20/04/2017)

Last modified on Thursday, 20 April 2017
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Sebastian Marcinkiewicz

Journalist and technology enthusiast specialising in smartphones and online security.

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