A few years back, Mozilla brought the WebExtensions API to Firefox, making it possible for Chrome-made browser extensions to function (if at all) on Firefox. With some modifications to extension support, Firefox 109 is now available.
End of 2020 saw the launch of Manifest V3, a new platform for Chrome extensions from Google. With the intention of making browser extensions safer and less resource-intensive, a fundamental modification has been made to how they work. It affected content blocks like uBlock Origin, and some users and extension developers saw some public outages as a result of some APIs being replaced with weaker replacements. The timetable for deleting outdated Manifest V2 extensions from the Chrome Web Store was postponed by Google last month.
The primary update in Firefox 109 is initial support for Manifest V3 extensions on desktop platforms. This implies that extensions made for more recent versions of Chrome and Microsoft Edge should continue to function in Firefox, but Mozilla is keeping some functionality and will continue to support older extensions for the foreseeable future.
We agreed to implement Manifest V3 support for add-ons, retaining a high level of compatibility to encourage cross-browser development, Mozilla stated in a blog post. In other crucial areas, including security and privacy, our ideals, however, require a different approach. We made the decision to deviate from Chrome’s implementation in a few specific places and add our own, uniquely Mozilla-inspired features. Thus, Firefox’s implementation of Manifest V3 will offer cross-browser extension interoperability in addition to significantly better privacy and security measures and increased compatibility with mobile extensions.
In addition to Manifest V3, Firefox 109 for desktop also removes Colorways and includes a number of security changes. HTML date and time input fields now have keyboard navigation capability. To match the functionality of other macOS web browsers, on Mac, pressing Control or Command while scrolling the page with a touchpad or mouse wheel now scrolls the page instead of zooming.
There are some beneficial updates in Firefox 109 for Android, however it isn’t particularly interesting. In full-screen video mode, swiping will no longer activate the address bar. Additionally, a pinned site can now be deleted with an undo button, and search engines now correctly update themselves following a language change. Bug fixes include one that affected video calls made with the H.264 video codec. There are also a few more improvements.
If you don’t already have Firefox 109, you should do it as soon as possible on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android. The Google Play Store, Apple App Store, Microsoft Store, and the official website of Mozilla all provide Firefox downloads.