A new version of the venerable Mozilla Firefox web browser has been released.

Firefox 61 is a modest update. Performance improvements and bug fixes make up the bulk of the changes on offer, along with a set of tweaks to the user experience and interface.

Faster Tab Switching

Tab warming works by loading an inactive tab when you hover over it to make tab switching feel faster

Faster tab switching on Windows and Linux is the headline improvement in Firefox 61 under the cosy name of “tab warming”.

Tab warming works by loading an inactive tab when you hover over it and not, as before, only loading it when you directly click on the tab to switch to it.

A perceptual difference perhaps, but in my short play with it tab warming does seem to make tab switching feel faster and more responsive.

Elsewhere, Mozilla makes it easier to add more search engines to Firefox as you come across them.

Just open the page action menu when viewing a website that provides an OpenSearch plugin, like Ecosia, pictured below, to access the new “Add Search Engine” option.

Adding search engine in Firefox 61

It’s now easier to add extra search engines and providers

Firefox WebExtensions developers get to take advantage of two new capabilities: 1) the ability to control what the browser does when you open or close a tab; and 2) the ability hide tabs from view (and unhide previously hidden ones).

Expect to see a number of extensions exploit these new features in the coming weeks.

Other changes in Firefox 61:

  • Quantum CSS improvements for faster page rendering
  • TLS 1.3 enabled by default
  • New Preferences section for customising home/new tab page
  • Access to FTP subresources has been blocked
  • New accessibility inspector
  • DevTool tweaks
  • Improved dark theme support
  • Improved bookmark syncing

Get Firefox 61

If you’re running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or another supported version you can install the Firefox 61 update right now. Just open the built-in Software Updater tool, check for updates, and then select the Firefox package.

If you don’t have Firefox installed you can get it from the Ubuntu Software app as a regular app or as a Snap package.

You can also download the latest version of Firefox as a standalone runtime for Linux — as well as installers for another operating systems — from the Mozilla website.