firefoxCNET reports that during a talk at SXSW, Jay Sullivan, Mozilla's vice president of product, said that the company has no plans to release an iOS version of Firefox because of technological limitations imposed by Apple.

The nonprofit Mozilla, which pulled Mozilla Firefox Home from Apple's App Store in September 2012, is not currently building a version of its Firefox browser for iOS, nor does the company plan to, said Sullivan, speaking on a mobile browser wars panel at South by Southwest Interactive moderated by CNET Senior Reporter Seth Rosenblatt.

The sticking point for Mozilla is not being able to carry over its sophisticated rendering and javascript engines to iOS. Essentially, the organization doesn't feel like it can build the browser it wants to for Apple's platform, Sullivan told CNET.

Mozilla's stance on a Firefox browser for the iPhone is not new. In 2010, the company announced that it did not plan to create a standalone browser for the iPhone, citing the same technical and logistical restrictions that would prevent the company from creating an acceptable mobile experience via iOS.

Apple's Safari uses the speedy Nitro JavaScript engine exclusively, while restricting third-party browsers to UIWebView, which gives Safari a significant performance boost over other browsers.

Mozilla did create an iOS application called Firefox Home, which allowed Firefox users to sync Firefox history and bookmarks with a Webkit-powered web viewer.

The company also experimented with a stripped down version of Firefox called "Junior," which was designed to simplify the iOS browsing experience. That project has yet to see a public release, and Mozilla ended up removing Firefox Home from the App Store in September.

Other major players continue to compete with Safari, despite the imposed limitations. Opera has long had the Opera Mini browser in the App Store, and Google released a Chrome app for iOS last summer.

Top Rated Comments

nagromme Avatar
147 months ago
I agree with Mozilla. Open up the APIs and let the developers have at it. Benefits based on artificial constraints hurt everyone.
I've never jail-broken any of my iOS devices (although the temptation to do so grows every time I read an article like this one). ...
They know of the proprietary advantage Apple reserves for Safari, so as to make themselves look superior.

Why should Mozilla waste time with the cards stacked against them. Even more impressive is they spoke out and called Apple on it.
That's not the story. It's not an artificial constraint. (http://daringfireball.net/2011/03/nitro_ios_43)

Apple's Safari uses the speedy Nitro JavaScript engine exclusively, while restricting third-party browsers to UIWebView, which gives Safari a significant performance boost over other browsers.
Nitro (or a similar just-in-time compiler) in third party apps would mean they could put data into RAM and make it executable--a HUGE malware vector and source of risk. Unsigned native code can now run. The only reason Apple allows this risk in Safari is because they can work to keep Safari free of security flaws that would allow exploits. Apple can't control that in other apps, so they're not opening the door to such problems.

That's the trade-off: speed vs. security. Apple has found a good compromise I think, but yes, JavaScript will run slower in third party apps--in other words, at the same perfectly acceptable speed Safari did before Nitro (only faster because today's hardware is faster).

This doesn't mean it's not worth making a third-party browser. And it doesn't mean Apple should open up Android-style security holes.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bb426 Avatar
147 months ago
That didn't stop Google from releasing Chrome.

Innovation, people. Don't let a limitation stop you from working with all the resources you have.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MassiveAttack Avatar
147 months ago
iOS users lose yet again. As always Apple frowns upon their users having a choice.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
camnchar Avatar
147 months ago
I agree with Mozilla. Open up the APIs and let the developers have at it. Benefits based on artificial constraints hurt everyone.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
drwatz0n Avatar
147 months ago
That didn't stop Google from releasing Chrome.

Innovation, people. Don't let a limitation stop you from working with all the resources you have.

Firefox uses both a different Javascript and rendering engine than Safari and Chrome (which both use WebKit). It's not possible for Firefox to exist on the platform, with it's own Gecko rendering system, due to Apple's imposed restrictions. Don't compare Firefox and Chrome, it's two entirely different things.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thehustleman Avatar
147 months ago
It's a computer, the should be no restrictions that the user themselves didn't place.

Stop being a turd and open up
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 CarPlay Feature

iOS 18 Adds These 5 New Features to CarPlay

Thursday June 13, 2024 7:44 am PDT by
Apple did not mention CarPlay during its WWDC keynote this week, but iOS 18 includes a handful of new features for the in-car software. Overall, there is not a whole lot new for CarPlay on iOS 18, with changes seemingly limited to the Messages and Settings apps so far. Below, we recap everything new for CarPlay on iOS 18. New for CarPlay on iOS 18 1. Contact Photos in Messages App...
iOS 18 Wallet Feature

Here's What's New in Apple Wallet on iOS 18 for Event Tickets and More

Friday June 14, 2024 7:32 am PDT by
iOS 18 includes a handful of enhancements to the Wallet app on the iPhone, with new features for Apple Pay, Apple Cash, event tickets, and more. Below, we outline everything new for the Wallet app on iOS 18, based on information from Apple's press release and a WWDC 2024 coding session. Redesigned Event Tickets Event tickets have an all-new design in the Wallet app on iOS 18, complete...
maxresdefault

First Look at Messages via Satellite in iOS 18

Thursday June 13, 2024 11:29 am PDT by
Apple has been gradually expanding its suite of satellite connectivity features for iPhone, and iOS 18 brings a significant new one in the form of Messages via satellite. The feature allows users to send and receive iMessages and SMS texts, including emoji and Tapbacks, while out of range of cellular and Wi-Fi networks. CNET met up with Apple's senior director of platform product marketing,...
iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

You Can Give Siri a New Name With iOS 18's Vocal Shortcuts

Friday June 14, 2024 4:33 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 18 added a Vocal Shortcuts accessibility feature, and now that iOS 18 is available in a beta capacity, users have figured out that this option can be used to give Siri a new wake word. With Vocal Shortcuts, you can assign a custom phrase that Siri can understand to launch shortcuts and complete "complex tasks," and one of the shortcuts you can set up is an alternative for "Hey...