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A new version of the Firefox web browser is available to download on Windows, macOS, and Linux systems and, after a string of more modest release, I’m pleased to say this one chock full of changes.

Among the most notable Firefox 83 features is the inclusion of feature security-minded folks will want to take advantage of.

Perhaps inspired by web extensions like “HTTPS Everywhere” Firefox 83 comes with a “HTTPS-only” setting. Though disabled by default users can enable HTTPS-only mode in Firefox 83 and above from the ‘Network’ section in about:preferences.

Speed is another area that Firefox 83 sees enhancements in. The browser’s JavaScript engine has been fine-tuned to deliver a crop of performance improvements, including up to 15% faster page loading, 12% increase in page responsiveness, and reduced memory usage by up to 8%.

If you make use of Firefox’s handy ‘Picture-in-Picture’ feature —and if you don’t you should— you’ll be pleased to hear it’s learnt a new trick: you can use keyboard shortcuts to fast forward and rewind videos (press left/right arrow keys) to skip back/forward in 15 second chunks).

Firefox 83 Picture in Picture
Skip forward/back in PIP

If you don’t appreciate the inclusion of “Sponsored Stories” in Firefox’s new tab page there’s now a toggle to turn them off in about:preferences in the Home > Recommended by Pocket section. If you scroll all the way to the bottom you’ll also find a new option to hide player controls on PIP pop-outs too.

Users on Windows and macOS can use “pinch to zoom” in Firefox 83 with a supported touchpad, touchscreen, or trackpad. This is a feature Linux users have enjoyed for a while. While pinch to zoom does work on Linux it’s not the same experience as that on macOS and Windows. No plans on whether it’ll come over.

Finally, Firefox’s built-in PDF viewer supports AcroForm. This allows you to fill in and save supported PDF forms directly in the browser, no need to fire up a local programme to do it. To accompany the change the PDF viewer also has a slightly refreshed new look.

Firefox 83 AcroForm PDF Forms
Fill in PDF forms

Firefox 83 is free, open source software available to download from the official Firefox website for all major operating systems, including macOS 11 running on Apple Silicon.

Ubuntu users will receive Firefox 83 as a software update in the coming days (as will those using an Ubuntu-based Linux distro like Linux Mint, Zorin OS, elementary OS, etc).

Let me know what you think about the browser and its latest changes down in the comments.

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