Illustration for article titled The Biggest Changes in Firefox 89Image: Mozilla

The recent one Firefox 89 update redesigns the browser’s desktop interface and introduces some welcome quality of life improvements and enhanced data protection. Mozilla based the updated user interface on user data and feedback, so hopefully the majority of users will be happy with the changes. That said, even if you like the new look, things have been rearranged and removed – and a few new settings added – so it may take a bit of getting used to.

To help you make the transition, let’s go over all of the updates in Firefox 89 you need to know. To try out these new features for yourself, install the latest Firefox update at Settings> General> Firefox Updates> Check for Updates on the desktop, or you can download the latest installer from the official Firefox download page.

Discover the new Firefox 89 tab bar

Illustration for article titled The Biggest Changes in Firefox 89Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

The biggest changes to the Firefox 89 user interface are how tabs appear in the browser and how websites behave while they are hanging in the background.

Open tabs now “float” over the URL bar, each with its own rectangle. Tabs look different, but still behave the same: you can click and drag open tabs to rearrange their order, or drag them outside the tab bar to open a website in a new Firefox window. Mozilla added new icons to indicate when a tab is playing audio, and the browser now automatically pauses media playback when you open a link in a new background tab. (Yes, even annoying auto-playing video ads.)

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You can now change certain tab and window functions – e.g. B. always switch to newly opened tabs by default – under Settings> General> Tabs and Settings> Home> New Windows and Tabs. There is also one “Personalize” Button on the New Tab page that lets you customize what you see when you open a new tab.

Other UI changes in Firefox 89

Mozilla has also optimized the main Firefox toolbar. The navigation buttons have been reduced to back, forward, and page refresh, and the three-dot “Meatballs” settings button has been removed, leaving the three-line “hamburger” button at the top right of the app as the primary way to open Settings.

Illustration for article titled The Biggest Changes in Firefox 89Image: Mozilla

Similarly, Firefox now consolidates browser notifications into a single pop-up “panel”. Instead of getting individual pop-ups every time the Zoom website asks you to access your microphone, webcam, and other permissions, they’ll appear in a single box.

Full cookie protection from Firefox 89 in private browsing mode

While the changes to the user interface are the standout updates, the browser also got a small but welcome privacy boost: the Total Cookie Protection Protection setting Now works in private browsing modewhich prevents websites you have opened in private tabs from tracking you even if you are browsing other sites at the same time. This off-site protection works by default in private windows as long as Total Cookie Protection is activated under Settings> Privacy & Security> Improved Tracking Protection.