Mozilla adds pinch-to-zoom support and HTTPS-only mode in Firefox 83

Mozilla adds pinch-to-zoom support and HTTPS-only mode in Firefox 83

Mozilla has announced the release of Firefox 83, an update that introduces support for HTTPS-Only Mode. And, wait for it: pinch-to-zoom.

HTTPS-Only Mode will attempt to establish a secure connection to the website you’re visiting. That means if you click on an HTTP link or you manually enter an HTTP address, Firefox 83 will attempt to visit the site using HTTPS instead. If a secure connection can’t be established, Firefox will ask for your permission before connecting to the website.

Firefox noted that most major websites today support the HTTPS protocol, which offers better encryption between your browser and the website you’re visiting. But there are some websites out there that are still using the HTTP protocol. There are also millions of legacy HTTP links, so HTTPS-Only Mode in Firefox 83 aims to provide users with a more secure connection.

Firefox said that there may also be the rare instance when a website is available over HTTPS but includes resources within the website that aren’t available over HTTPS. As a result, some websites may not look right or will malfunction altogether. If this happens, users can easily disable HTTPS-Only Mode by clicking on the lock icon in the address bar.

Firefox 83 also includes pinch-zooming support on Windows and Mac. If you’re on a Windows device with a touchscreen, you can easily pinch-to-zoom on websites all you want. The same goes with touchpads on Mac devices. It’s a feature that’s been available in competing browsers for years, but better late than never.

There are several other features included in Firefox 83, including keyboard shortcuts for picture-in-picture mode, support for AcroForm, and support for Apple’s new M1 chips. Firefox 83 has also been pushed out to Android devices with support for several new plugins, including FoxyProxy, Bitwarden, AdGuard AdBlocker, Tomato Clock, LeechBlock NG, Web Archives, and Ghostery.

If you want a more secure browsing experience and you’re a Firefox user, then you should download the latest update now. You can view the full Firefox 83 changelog for desktops below.

Firefox 83 changelog:

New

  • Firefox keeps getting faster as a result of significant updates to SpiderMonkey, our JavaScript engine, you will now experience improved page load performance by up to 15%, page responsiveness by up to 12%, and reduced memory usage by up to 8%. We have replaced part of the JavaScript engine that helps to compile and display websites for you, improving security and maintainability of the engine at the same time.
  • Firefox introduces HTTPS-Only Mode. When enabled, this new mode ensures that every connection Firefox makes to the web is secure and alerts you when a secure connection is not available. You can enable it in Firefox Preferences.
  • Pinch zooming will now be supported for our users with Windows touchscreen devices and touchpads on Mac devices. Firefox users may now use pinch to zoom on touch-capable devices to zoom in and out of webpages.
  • Picture-in-Picture now supports keyboard shortcuts for fast forwarding and rewinding videos: use the arrow keys to move forward and back 15 seconds, along with volume controls. For a list of supported commands see Support Mozilla
  • When you are presenting your screen on a video conference in Firefox, you will see our improved user interface that makes it clearer which devices or displays are being shared.
  • We’ve improved functionality and design for a number of Firefox search features:
    • Selecting a search engine at the bottom of the search panel now enters search mode for that engine, allowing you to see suggestions (if available) for your search terms. The old behavior (immediately performing a search) is available with a shift-click.
    • When Firefox autocompletes the URL of one of your search engines, you can now search with that engine directly in the address bar by selecting the shortcut in the address bar results.
    • We’ve added buttons at the bottom of the search panel to allow you to search your bookmarks, open tabs, and history.
  • Firefox supports AcroForm, which will allow you to fill in, print, and save supported PDF forms and the PDF viewer also has a new fresh look.
  • Our users in India on the English build of Firefox will now see Pocket recommendations in their new tab featuring some of the best stories on the web. If you don’t see them, you can turn on Pocket articles in your new tab by following these steps.
  • For the recently released Apple devices built with Apple Silicon CPUs, you can use Firefox 83 and future releases without any change. This release (83) will support emulation under Apple’s Rosetta 2 that ships with macOS Big Sur. We are working toward Firefox being natively-compiled for these CPUs in a future release.
  • This is a major release for WebRender as we roll out to more Firefox users on Windows 7 and 8 as well as on macOS 10.12 to 10.15.

Fixed

  • This release also includes a number of accessibility fixes:
    • Screen reader features which report paragraphs now correctly report paragraphs instead of lines in Google Docs
    • When reading by word using a screen reader, words are now correctly reported when there is punctuation nearby
    • The arrow keys now work correctly after tabbing in the picture-in-picture window
  • For users on macOS restoring a session with minimized windows, Firefox now uses much less power and you should see much longer battery life.
  • Various security fixes

Developer

Web Platform

  • This release adds support for conic gradients in CSS, helping colors to smoothly transition as you spin around the center, rather than as you progress outward from the center.

About author

Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.