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Mozilla Planning to Release Firefox iOS App in the Future

firefoxMozilla's Firefox browser may soon make its way to iOS, according to a statement made by Firefox VP Jonathan Nightingale at an internal Mozilla event. Relayed by Firefox release manager Lukas Blakk and shared by TechCrunch, Nightingale reportedly told Mozilla employees "We need to be where our users are so we're going to get Firefox on iOS."

The statement about releasing Firefox for iOS marks a major shift in ideology for Mozilla, as the company has, in the past, repeatedly said that it would not offer a version of Firefox for iOS because of Apple's refusal to allow third-party browsers to use their own web engines. In 2013, then VP of product Jay Sullivan said that Moziila didn't "feel like it could build the browser it wants" on Apple's platform, and that it had "no plans" for an iOS version of Firefox.

One of the major points of contention for Mozilla was Apple's refusal to allow the Firefox browser to carry over its rendering and JavaScript engines to iOS, as Apple imposes strict restrictions on third-party browsers and limits them to the company's own JavaScript engines. Prior to iOS 8, this meant that third-party browsers were slower than Apple's Safari, but with iOS 8, Apple began allowing third-party browsers to take advantage of previously unavailable features like the JavaScript Nitro Engine.

An inability to provide custom web engines along with the lack of an option to set a third-party browser as the default browser makes it difficult for companies like Chrome, Opera, and Firefox to create satisfactory browsing experiences on Apple's platform. Though little is known about Firefox's plans for iOS at the current point in time, it is likely Mozilla will need to continue to work within Apple's limits.

Though Mozilla's Firefox browser for iOS will be subjected to Apple's restrictions, key Firefox features like accounts, customizable home panels, and data syncing will translate to iOS, helping Firefox users achieve a more seamless browsing experience on a range of devices.


Top Rated Comments

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22 months ago
Love FireFox. Can't wait!
Rating: 12 Votes
22 months ago
Bloatware, flash crashes, and never ending Firefox updates, yay! Seriously what version of Firefox are they on now? 39?
Rating: 10 Votes
22 months ago

I'm interested in seeing what over simplified, high-contrast icon FireFox for iOS will have.
Image (http://icons.iconarchive.com/icons/igh0zt/ios7-style-metro-ui/512/MetroUI-Browser-Firefox-Alt-icon.png)
Oh, jeez, I'm actually a fan of this one.


I'd tap it :D
Rating: 10 Votes
22 months ago

we don't care


Of course you don't. No one has ever accused Apple or its fanboys of being unbiased, or above hypocrisy.
Rating: 10 Votes
22 months ago

Bloatware, flash crashes, and never ending Firefox updates, yay! Seriously what version of Firefox are they on now? 39?


No, that's Chrome. Firefox is on 33.
Rating: 9 Votes
22 months ago

Given the issues Firefox has on OS X, I'm not overly excited about this.


What issues? It runs pretty much rock solid for me (FF Developer Edition).

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I also do not understand why people still shade Firefox. Its memory footprint has been optimized to the point where it is the most memory efficient browser you can run from the "big 3" (FF, Safari, Chrome).

It is extremely extensible and customizable, so you can make it yours. No other browser has even close to the amount of customization FF allows.

It protects your privacy and, if you don't like the default privacy settings, there's an add-on for that (ex: NoScript, Ghostery).

The sync feature works pretty damn well, second only to Google's imo. However, Chrome has been extremely bloated lately and taking up a lot of memory, hence my switch to FF.

It is not a perfect browser, but is way, way ahead of its competition. Safari doesn't exist on Windows, so I can't use it (unfortunately, I still have to use Windows at work), and I've pretty much ditched Google's alternative.
Rating: 9 Votes
22 months ago
I'm interested in seeing what over simplified, high-contrast icon FireFox for iOS will have.

Oh, jeez, I'm actually a fan of this one.
Rating: 9 Votes
22 months ago
Regarding Apple's policy as described in the article, specifically blocking 3rd party innovation, thus putting the OS integrated iOS browser at an advantage over non-Apple browsers. Isn't that precisely why, on the basis of competitor lobbying for anti-trust investigations, Microsoft was forced to break IE off from its Windows OS?
Rating: 7 Votes
22 months ago

How so? To set your default browser? Or to set dragged links to open with a certain browser (or apps). Such as:


I think he's referring to iOS apps..
Rating: 7 Votes
22 months ago
I don't have any problems with Chrome.
I wish Apple would allow you to set default apps, at least for a few applications.
Rating: 6 Votes

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