Firefox 73.0: find out what is new in Mozilla’s latest release

Firefox 73.0 is the latest stable version of the web browser. The release date of the browser is February 11, 2020 (today at the time of writing).

The next major stable release of Firefox, Firefox 74.0, is scheduled to be released on March 10, 2020.

As usual, all Firefox channels will be updated when a new Firefox Stable version gets released. This means that Firefox Beta and Dev will move to version 74.0, Firefox Nightly to 75.0, and Firefox ESR, the Extended Support Release, to version 68.5.

You may check out the release overview for Firefox 72.0 here in case you missed it.

Executive Summary

  • Firefox 73.0 includes security fixes.
  • A global zoom option is now available to change the default.
  • Changes to High Contrast mode to make websites more readable.

Firefox 73.0 download and update

Firefox 73.0’s rollout starts on February 11, 2020. Mozilla will make the new release available via the web browser’s automatic update system as well as on its websites.

Firefox users may run manual update checks to get the release as early as possible (Firefox runs periodic update checks only). To do so, select Menu > Help > About Firefox.

The small window that opens displays the current version. By default, Firefox will run an automatic check for updates when the window is open to download and install new versions.

The following pages list direct downloads for supported Firefox channels (will be available later on February 11, 2020)

Firefox 73.0 Changes

Firefox 73.0 is a smaller release. It includes security fixes as well as two main new features that Mozilla highlights in the release notes.

Global Page Zoom default

firefox default zoom

Firefox users may change the zoom level of individual websites to improve accessibility. Up until now, this was only supported for individual websites.

While that provided flexibility, it made the process cumbersome if zoom needed to be changed on most sites in Firefox. Extensions like Fixed Zoom or NoSquint came to the rescue and were used by Firefox users to change the global zoom parameter.

With Firefox 73.0, it is now possible to change the default zoom in the preferences. Here is how you do that:

  1. Load about:preferences in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Scroll down to locate the Language and Appearance section on the page.
  3. You may change the default zoom from 100% to a value between 30% and 300% using the new setting. Additionally, you may check the “zoom text only” box to only zoom text but keep every other page element at the default level.

You may reset the zoom level at any time by changing the value of default zoom to 100%.

High Contrast Mode improvements

High Contrast Mode is an accessibility feature of the Windows operating system to improve readability. Firefox used to disable background images in that mode prior to the release of Firefox 73.0 to improve readability.

Starting in Firefox 73.0, Firefox will place a color block around text instead in High Contrast Mode to improve readability of text without removing the background image completely from the webpage.

Other changes

  • Firefox users may increase or decrease the playback speed of audio; the quality of these has improved in the new release.
  • Firefox will only prompt to save logins if a field in the login form was modified.
  • WebRender rollout to Nvidia graphics cards laptops that use drivers newer than 432.00 and screen sizes smaller than 1920×1200.

Firefox for Android

Firefox 68.5.0 for Android will also be released today. It includes “various stability and security fixes”. Mozilla plans to display a message to users to inform them about upcoming releases (changes).

Mozilla is working on a new Android browser that is called Firefox Preview currently. The organization plans to migrate users of the current Firefox for Android to Firefox Preview in 2020.

Developer Changes

  • To enable experimental WebExtensions APIs, developers need to set extensions.experiments.enabled to True from Firefox 74.0 on.
  • New requestSubmit() method of HTMLFormElement which “acts as if a specified submit button has been clicked”. The submit() method remains available as well.
  • The sidebarAction.toggle() function is now available for add-on developers to open and close the sidebar.
  • SVG properties letter-spacing and word-spacing work now.
  • You may negate searches (test and regular expression) with the – character in the web console.

Security updates / fixes

Security updates are revealed after the official release of the web browser. You find the information published here.

Additional information / sources

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