Firefox for Android migration is about to begin

Mozilla announced today that it will soon migrate Firefox for Android Nightly installations to the new Firefox Preview for Android Nightly version.

The organization has been working on a new mobile web browser for Android that is based on different technologies than the old. The new web browser will offer advantages over the old including better performance and faster updates according to Mozilla.

Mozilla revealed plans to migrate users of the classic Firefox web browser for Android to the new mobile browser in 2020. Nightly users would be migrated first before users of beta and stable versions of the Firefox web browser would be migrated later that year.

The announcement reveals that the time has come for Nightly versions of Firefox. From next Tuesday (January 21), Nightly versions of the classic Firefox application for Android may be upgraded to the new Firefox browser for Android (which is called Firefox Preview currently).

Based on the previous 6 months of user testing and the positive feedback we have received, we’re confident that Android users will appreciate this new browsing experience and we’re very happy to announce that, as of Tuesday (January 21, 2020), we’re starting to roll it out to our existing Firefox for Android audience in the Nightly app.

Nightly users may be upgraded automatically depending on how updates are configured. If updates are configured to be automatic, Nightly will be migrated to the new version automatically. Firefox for Android Nightly users who don’t want that to happen at that point, and there are valid reasons for not wanting to do so at the time of writing, can set updates to manual instead to prevent the migration for the time being. The new mobile browser is also available as a standalone download on Google Play.

Note: Some data will be migrated including open tabs, bookmarks and the browsing history. For passwords to be migrated, a master password cannot be used.

Probably the biggest blocker right now from the point of view of Firefox users is that the new browser does not really support extensions at this point in time. The new browser will support extensions, Mozilla revealed as much in mid-2019, but support will be introduced over time.

The ad-blocker uBlock Origin will be the first add-on that will be supported officially. Full support for WebExtensions comes in late 2020 according to Mozilla.

Closing Words

One of the distinguishing factors between Firefox for Android and Google Chrome is the former’s support for extensions. The discussion whether the new Firefox would support extensions, and if so to what degree, felt agonizing.

Considering that extensions are important to many users, Mozilla should probably consider having extensions ready in the new stable version of the browser before it starts the migration.

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