BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Mozilla finally rolled out Firefox for iOS worldwide. The new browser can be downloaded on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch by accessing Apple’s App Store (on iOS 8.2 or later versions).
Before today, Firefox for iOS was available only in New Zealand – and even there, only as a public preview. If you’re wondering why New Zealand, it might surprise you to find that testing new apps and features in this country is a common practice. A small population that has English as their primary language makes up for a perfect test market.
When it launched the public preview in September, Mozilla explained that a smaller rollout to “a few more” countries will occur before the company’s iOS browser goes full public sometime later in the year. However, it seems the company skipped the second step completely and went straight to the worldwide release.
Users have already reported some interesting highlights on Firefox for iOS, such as the Intelligent Search which offers not only suggested search results, but also the choice of search providers. Private Browsing – a replica of Chrome’s Incognito browsing – gives users the ability to surf the Internet without saving history.
Moreover, there’s also the Visual Tabs feature which allows you to manage multiple tabs on the same screen, and Firefox Accounts which enables the export of your Firefox browser history, passwords, and bookmarks from desktop or Android to your iOS device.
Evidently, Mozilla suggests that Firefox be added to the dock on the bottom of your home screen, but if you don’t plan to use it as default browser, the “easy access” reason to do that fades.
Even though this is the first version of Firefox for iOS, Mozilla announced that users can expect to see “much more from us soon as we are going full speed ahead on continuously delivering new features.”
Letting go of its stubbornness is a big milestone for Mozilla. Back in 2013, the company refused to make its browser available to iOS, because Apple does not allow browser makers implement their own rendering engine.
However, it was not a smart move as it made Mozilla lose a lot of potential users – in four years, for example, Firefox for Android passed 100 million downloads. Even though Apple hasn’t changed its policy and Firefox for iOS could not use its own Gecko rendering engine, the company is ready to push its browser to anyone interested.
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