After a year of being in Beta, Mozilla finally updated the aging Firefox android browser. The update makes the jump from version 68 to 79. Apart from the cosmetic overhaul, there are several other features that let you create collections, share tabs with chrome, use different search engines in private mode, still no extension support though. With that said, here are the best Firefox Android tips and tricks.
15 Best Firefox Android Tips & Tricks
1. Top Toolbar
Firefox finally provides you the option to change the position of the toolbar. For example, if you have a large smartphone like Galaxy Note 10, it makes sense to have the address bar at the bottom but for a smaller device like Pixel 3, it’s unusual.
To move the address bar on the top, head over to the Settings menu, and tap on the Customize option. Under the customize menu, you will have the option to move to the toolbar to the top.
2. Quickly Open New or Private tab
The usual way to open a Firefox new tab is a bit tedious. First, you have to click on the tab number and then click on the “+” button on the tab overview page. But, here’s a quick way. Long-press the tab number and you would have the option to either create a “New tab” or a “New Private tab“. Additionally, there’s also an option to close the currently active tab.
3. Switch Quickly to Private mode
The new Firefox browser made it quicker to open Private mode. To switch to Private mode, tap on the “Eye Masquerade” icon at the top-right corner. You can switch between regular and private mode easily by tapping on this masquerade icon.
4. Inbuilt Ad Blocking
Firefox has introduced “Enhanced Tracking Protection” in the new version. It blocks third-party trackers, ads, and popups. However, by default, it’s set to “Standard” which means only trackers will be blocked. If you switch to “Strict” Enhanced Tracking Protection, it blocks more trackers, ads, and popups. In order to change the Enhanced Tracking Protection mode, head over to Settings > Enhanced Tracking Protection. On the Enhanced Tracking Protection menu, tap on “Strict“.
Do note, that Strict Enhanced Tracking Protection might cause few website functionalities to break.
5. Add Exceptions
You can add a few websites to the Enhanced Tracking Protection Exceptions. This makes sure you can see ads from your favorite website or creator. To do that, when you open a website, tap on the “Sheild” icon at the bottom and turn off the toggle beside “Enhanced Tracking Protection”. This will add the website to the Exceptions list and it’ll be able to load ads and trackers.
6. Switch Search Engines Temporarily
I have used Brave browser extensively on Android and one of my favorite options was the ability to set separate search engines for normal and private mode. There’s no Firefox equivalent but here’s a quick hack. When you tap the search menu to type, there’s an option at the bottom called “Shortcuts“. Shortcuts provide you the option to select a different search engine apart from the default for this search only.
This way, I use the DuckDuckGo search engine in private mode without switching my default search engine.
7. Sync Open Tabs
The new Firefox Android browser provides the option to synchronize open tabs with the Firefox desktop browser as long as you are signed in both devices. However, if you feel lazy, the new Firefox Android provides an option to scan a QR code and sign-in to your devices.
All you have to do is, visit “firefox.com/pair” on your signed-in device. In this case, let’s consider the Firefox desktop. The webpage will show you a barcode that can be scanned via your mobile Android browser.
To scan via the mobile Firefox app, just tap on “Settings” on the hamburger menu. The top-most option will be “Turn on Sync“, tap on it. Next, you will see the “Ready to scan” button, tap on it and you will have the QR code scanner pop up. Once you scan the QR code, it’ll ask for the permission on the signed-in device. Upon approval, you will be signed-in and synced with the mobile Firefox browser.
Once you have the sync on, you can find the opened tabs on both the mobile and desktop browser under “Synchronized tabs“.
8. Share Tabs to Chrome
If you have been using the Firefox desktop browser, you would have already noticed the handy “Send Tab to Device” feature. The exact same option isn’t available on Firefox Android. However, there’s an option that lets you share all open tabs at once. But, I typically use this option to share open tabs with Chrome.
You will have to install Chrome Android browser, sign-in, and turn-on sync.
To do that, tap on the tab number. Next, tap on the hamburger icon and select “Share Tabs”. On the share sheet, you will have the option to “Send Text to Your Devices”. This will share tabs URL as text to your Chrome desktop browser.
9. Open Links in Private
We all get those links in our friend’s group that you wouldn’t want a trace in your browser history. Hence, Firefox provides you the option to open links from other apps in Private mode. To do that, head over to Firefox settings, Under Privacy and security tab, tap on “Private browsing”. Next, turn on the toggle beside “Open links in a private tab”.
10. Allow Screenshots
By default, browsers don’t allow you to take screenshots in private mode due to privacy reasons. But, at times, you do need to take a screenshot while researching for medicines or remedies. Firefox provides an option deep down in settings to enable screenshots for Private mode. Under the Private browsing menu, turn on the toggle beside “Allow screenshots in private browsing“.
11. Background Video playback
The new version for Firefox might break background video playback for a few websites. For instance, YouTube. This is due to the Firefox Page Visibility API. A website might not play video if it’s not in full-screen or in the foreground. A workaround to this solution is to open webpages as “Desktop site“.
Firefox still doesn’t provide the option to use Extensions in the mobile browser. However, it does provide a few useful add-ons. For instance, the “Dark Reader” add-on forces every website to dark mode. You can find these add-ons under the “Add-ons” tab.
13. Turn off data collection
Firefox being a privacy-friendly company provides you the option to opt-out of data collection. You’ll find the “Data collection” option in the Settings menu under the “Privacy and security” tab. On the Data collection menu, you have 3 different toggles: Usage and technical data, Marketing data, and Experiments. Once you turn off these 3 toggles, Firefox won’t collect your usage and analytical data.
14. Auto-delete browsing data
Firefox also provides you the option to clear your browsing data once you exit the browser. The option is quite handy and works if you share your device with multiple people or children. The browser will automatically clear your history, log you out of websites, and close open tabs.
15. Firefox Lockwise
Firefox Lockwise is a separate Android app. It’s a password manager that works well with the Firefox browser and comes integrated with the desktop Firefox browser. If you use Firefox desktop, all your saved login and passwords are synced to the Firefox Lockwise app. This way, you have all your credentials at a single place and can be easily entered on to other apps.
These were some of the nifty tips and tricks for Firefox Android. In case you are confused between different variants of the Firefox browser, here’s a breakdown of all the Firefox Android browsers and which ones’ for you.
For more issues or queries, let me know in the comments below.