Mozilla rolled out several new privacy features for the desktop version of Firefox today, including enhanced tracker protection and content blocking, a password manager, and new optional security extensions.
Some of these features will need to be enabled and configured for existing users, though people who download a fresh installation of Firefox should have most turned on by default. Either way, we detail all of the changes in the update, and how to enable them, in the section below.
Before we do that, though, here’s a quick refresher on how to update to the latest version of Firefox, which you’ll need to do in order to have access to the new features:
Click the three-stacked lines icon to open the Options window (or type “about:preferences” into Firefox’s address bar and hit Enter)
Scroll down to “Firefox updates” to see if there are any updates available. (The latest version is Firefox 67.0)
If you’ve chosen to install updates manually, you may have a prompt asking you to apply the update. Those who have them install automatically may not have to do anything here.
Click “Restart to update Firefox” to apply the update.
Now let’s look at the new features you’ll have available once the update is applied and you’ve restarted Firefox.
New security and privacy option shortcuts
This small change adds an easily accessible shortcut to all the new content blocking settings (detailed below) and all other privacy options. You’ll find it by clicking the three-stacked dots icon, then the “Content Blocking” Shield icon.
Enhanced cookie protection and content blocking
Firefox’s content blocking has been souped up, and will now block third-party trackers and cookies, which prevents them from keeping tabs on your browsing data. You can opt to have all cookies auto-deleted when you close Firefox as well.
The setting has a couple of preset levels of protection. “Standard” only blocks known trackers while you’re in Private mode, while “Strict” blocks all trackers and third-party cookies in all browsing modes. Firefox warned that the Strict mode could break some sites, though swapping between modes is easy. Users can also customise both the type of content blocked—such as cookies, trackers, fingerprinting, or crypto mining code—and set parameters for specific sites.
By default, new content blocking settings will be turned on for new users who are installing Firefox for the first time, and set to “custom” for new users, based on their existing content blocking settings. All users can find these settings by clicking the three-stacked dots icon, then going to Options>Privacy & Security, or the Content Blocking shortcut mentioned above.
New Firefox privacy extensions
In addition to the tightened content blocking security, Firefox now supports a few new first-party add-ons that can further aid in your browsing security and privacy
Lockwise on Firefox desktop
The desktop version of Firefox can now store and manage your passwords thanks to a new desktop edition of the Firefox Lockwise extension that has been previously released for Firefox mobile (iOS/Android).
This is helpful as it means users can now store our passwords and usernames without needing a third-party extension. The desktop and mobile Lockwise extensions will even sync up so that your saved logins can transfer between devices.
New Firefox Monitor dashboard
Firefox previously released a web tool, Firefox Monitor, that searches to see if your email addresses have ever been compromised in one of the numerous data breaches that happen every year. And now a new Monitor dashboard can be added directly to your browser, as well. The dashboard can monitor multiple email addresses at once, and will even send you alerts if any of your addresses appear to be compromised. You can sign up for Firefox Monitor and download the new dashboard here.
Facebook Container add-on
Lastly, Firefox now has a first-party “Facebook Container” browser extension. This basically quarantines Facebook away from your other browsing activity, keeping Facebook out of your data. With this installed, you will no longer see the Facebook share and like buttons on non-Facebook sites when browsing, even if your cookies are set to keep you signed into Facebook. A purple “fence” icon will be displayed whenever the extension is blocking Facebook social features. You can download the Facebook Container add-on here.