Web browsers aren’t known to be privacy-centric, however, things are pretty different with Firefox, and for good.
The browser holds tons of privacy-related goodies, all of which lead to a safe and private browsing experience. One of the best parts about this browser is that it is open source and hence anyone could have a look at its source code and check for any security vulnerability or other such related stats.
Although the browser weighs more on privacy, however, it isn’t it’s only USP. To begin with, you get nearly all the other features as to what Chrome has to offer. With that said, here are some of Firefox’s noteworthy features that you should be acquainted with.
The browser holds a pretty nifty functionality in the form of tracking blockers. For the unawares, trackers keep a tab on your online activities and collect the needed data that will help the third-party services further improve their services for you.
However, not everyone is ready to give their online activities to these trackers, and if you echo this feeling as well, then you could take a clue or two from Firefox’s tracking blocker feature.
Apart from that, it also blocks harmful scripts from being loaded. Adding to the list are cookies, crypto miners, tracking contents, and fingerprints, all are effectively dealt with by tracking blockers.
On that note, there are three different types of racking protection available in Firefox, let’s check them out:
- Standard: This is the default level applied by Firefox on every browser. It maintains an equilibrium as to how strongly it should block the trackers and how it will affect the normal loading of the websites. In order words, it maintains a balance between protection and performance. However, it doesn’t block most of the third-party trackers.
- Strict: As the name suggests, this model offers much stronger protection against trackers. It blocks nearly all the third-party trackers, cookies, and other related files as well. But there’s a slight downside attached to it as well. With this extreme blocking, you might face issues with some sites as they won’t be able to start up normally. So if you believe that site to be trustworthy, you could switch over to the Standard mode or choose the one given below.
- Custom: If Standard is too light for you and Strict goes away more length in blocking trackers, then you could try out the Custom Mode. It gives you complete authority over which of the components should be blocked and which shouldn’t be.
All these three modes could be accessed by going to the Settings menu and then selecting the Privacy Protection feature. Under Enhanced Tracking Protection, click on Manage Settings. From there you could now choose Strict, Standard, or Custom.
Email Breach Alert
This is one of Firefox’s more underrated features. In today’s time, with privacy issues at an all-time high, it is of paramount importance to keep a check on our accounts and emails.
However, despite your best attempts, it might happen that your email address has been compromised in a data leak. As and when that happens, Firefox does a pretty solid job of informing the user, that their email has been breached, and hence they need to take action at the earliest.
Similar to Chrome, Firefox also has cross-device supports for various platforms. These include Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac. On top of that, you get a pretty impressive sync feature that not only syncs all your data, passwords, bookmarks but even goes a great length in saving your last opened tabs as well. This way you could continue your work from a newer device right from the last stop point on your previous one.
Major UI Overhaul
Firefox brought the Quantum update with v57, and although now the browser stands at v76, it continues the excellent quantum era that the earlier version bought with itself.
Quantum was responsible for bringing quite a lot of new and improved features that the browser was in dire need of. There were new and updated UI designs. Fresh icon packs, and a new library section that stores all your downloads, synced tabs, and all the other activities that you carry online.
Taking it a step further, it made it possible to sync this library section with all your devices. Apart from that, Quantum also added some useful tools like the option to use Windows 10’s sharing tool and a screenshot editor as well.
While Windows Task Manager allows you to control the entire browser as a whole, Firefox has incorporated its task manager that allows you to have complete control over each tab.
First of all to access the task manager, open the browser, click on the hamburger menu and then select More followed by Task Manager. As soon as it opens, you could now see four different sections like Name, Type, Energy Impact, and Memory.
The first one simply lists out the name of all the opened tabs. Type denotes whether it is an add-on, an extension, or just a tab. The third one is Energy Impact which shows the processing power being used by the CPU as a result of each of these tabs.
Finally, you have the Memory section that denotes the RAM consumption by each of these tabs. All these sections combined and you could easily catch the culprit tab acting as the memory hogger. Furthermore, similar windows taskbar, it also shows subtask, i,e. tasks being carried out by each of the tabs. Subtasks usually include the subframes, trackers, and services.
However, unlike tabs, you can’t act on individual subtasks, at max, you could close the entire tab which will close its associated sub-tasks as well.
Delete Telemetry Data
There exist two different types of data: Telemetry Data and Technical Data. Before moving ahead, let’s first check out what these two types of data are all about.
Telemetry data holds all the interaction between the user and software, in this case, it spells out the data between you and Firefox. Right from the number of tabs you have opened, the type of tabs ou deal with, the time duration for which each tab was opened, are all contained inside this Telemetry Data.
On the other hand, the browser version number, the device on which it’s running, the device’s operating system and all your interactions with third-party plugins contain technical data. While the latter one doesn’t’ hold much personal information, it is with the former that might be a cause of concern for the privacy lovers.
In this regard, Firefox provides an important feature to delete all your Telemetry data to date.
- To do so, open the Firefox browser and click on the overflow icon.
- Select Options from the menu and then click on Privacy and Security from the left-hand side menu bar.
- Within that, click on the Data Collection and Use feature. Finally, untick the Allow Firefox to send technical and interaction data to the Mozilla option.
This is one department where Firefox stands toe to toe with the offering from Silicon Valley giants (aka Chrome). All the common, popular, and important extensions that you have used in other browsers are available for Firefox as well.
Right from Alerts, Downloads, Blogging, Bookmarks, Download Management to social, tabs, and security, there is a whole lot to check out.
Customizing your Firefox Browser
If you want to make Firefox tailor-made as per your needs and requirements, then there is a handy way to do so. Launch the browser and select the Add-ons manager options. Now from the left-hand menu bar, you can have full control over all the extensions, tons of preloaded and user-generated themes, and all the plugins as well.
There is also a Recommendations tab that will ease you out in personalizing the browser. Furthermore, you could also rearrange all the settings and options. This could be done by clicking on the hamburger menu and selecting the Customize option. Then drag and drop all the options to your preferred locations.
Likewise, when you open a new tab, there are some highlights in the new tab section. This is curated based on your search history and most visited sites. However, if they don’t suit your tastes, you could customize them by clicking on the three horizontal dots next to the Highlights keyword and selecting the Manage Section option. To deal with individual stories, click on that story’s three horizontal dots and select the Dismiss/Delete from the history option.
Bottom Line — Mozilla Firefox Overview
All in all, we could say that there are some serious level customizations available at hand, as far as Firefox is concerned.
But each browser has some caveats as well, as Firefox is no different. Although it does an excellent job of protecting your online privacy, it takes a backseat in other features.
Although there isn’t any considerable reduction in the number of non-privacy related features, it is enough to leave a handful of you disappointed, especially if you have used the Chrome browser before. The plethora of options that we have listed in Chrome could not make its way over to Firefox.
Though the usual UI tweaks, and support of tons of extensions all but covers it up for its lacking in other departments. But if you are a privacy freak and keep online privacy on top of your bucket list, then let’s admit it, a simple trade-off for “better privacy” in exchange for “ better features” is doable.
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