Mozilla Firefox 83 Is Now Available for Download with HTTPS-Only Mode, Improvements

Mozilla Firefox 83

The Mozilla Firefox 83 web browser is now available for download on Linux, macOS, and Windows systems ahead of its official launch tomorrow, November 17th, 2020.

The biggest new change in the Mozilla Firefox 83 release appears to be a new security feature called HTTPS-Only Mode, which is implemented in Preferences, under the Privacy & Security section. It provides a secure and encrypted connection between your web browser and the websites you visit, even if they don’t use HTTPS.

By default it’s disabled, but when enabled, the HTTPS-Only Mode will upgrade all your website connections to use Secure HTTP (HTTPS). The good news is that it can be used in all windows or only on private windows.

Another interesting change is support for the WebRender feature to work on Intel laptops with older drivers, as well as on systems with Intel Gen12 GPUs, thus making Firefox more snappier on these hardware.

Firefox now also supports AcroForm to allow users to fill in, print, and save supported PDF forms. Users will also be able to view suggestions of their search terms when selecting a search engine at the bottom of the search panel, as well as to search the Web with your favorite search engine directly in the address bar.

Among other changes, Firefox 83 brings a new “Print selection” context menu item, a new fresh look to the PDF viewer, new VPN card and banner in the Protections Dashboard to make it easier to use a VPN solution for protecting your privacy, as well as a new shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+B) to open the Bookmarks toolbar.

Moreover, the HTTP authentication prompt dialogs now use a tab-modal instead of a window-modal, a new option was added in about:preferences to allow you to disable control of media via keyboard, headset and virtual interface, and newly added buttons at the bottom of the search panel lets you search bookmarks, history, and opened tabs.

Some Picture-in-Picture improvements are also present in Firefox 83, such as support for keyboard shortcuts to fast forward and rewind videos, and the presentation user interface has been updated to make it clear which devices or displays are being shared when you’re presenting your screen on a video conference in Firefox.

For web developers, Firefox 83 brings support for CSS conic gradients, the ability to toggle highlighting of the overflow by clicking on the “scroll” badge for scrollable elements, and a major update to Mozilla’s SpiderMonkey JavaScript JIT engine that introduces a new MIR builder based on compiling CacheIR to MIR.

Codenamed Warp, the new JavaScript JIT engine is enabled by default in Firefox 83, making the web browser faster under certain situations. For example, Google Docs will now load up to 20% faster, according to Mozilla.

If you can’t wait until tomorrow’s official launch, you can download the Firefox 83 binaries for 64-bit and 32-bit systems, as well as the source code, right now from Mozilla’s FTP servers. Of course, if you have Firefox installed from your distro’s repositories, you should wait until it’s available there before upgrading.

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