A brand new version Mozilla Firefox is out, and it boasts a brand new look.

Firefox 89 refreshes its user interface with new colours, new tabs, new icons, new menus, new dialogs, new new tab page, new… Well, you get the idea 😉.

Mozilla says the new look makes Firefox easier to use as “redundant or less frequently used features” have been pruned from the UI, to leave only the most important navigation and configuration options in view.

Screenshot of Firefox 88 before the Proton redesignScreenshot of Firefox 89 Proton redesign
Slide to see the major differences between Firefox 88 and Firefox 89

Is everyone going to love Firefox’s new look? No! Indeed, the redesign has proven controversial from the off. The biggest draw on complaint is the “huge new tabs” which many liken to buttons. Some users find the amount of padding introduced in Proton to be ‘wasted space’ that makes the browser take up more screen space to show less.

And then there’s the old rug pulling; Firefox users were familiar with the location of their favourite settings and toggles may now need to go on safari to find their new positions or locations — or worse: learn to live with them being removed!

But broadly speaking, the revamp does what it sets out to do: reduce the visual complexity so that the browser’s key purpose — looking at web pages rather than window chrome — is in sharper focus.

The redesign reaches nearly every part of main UI, from the look of the tab bar and application menu, through to the permission prompts and request flows you see during specific actions.

We previewed the Firefox ‘Proton’ redesign back in February. Reader reception was lukewarm at best. But several months on and, here in its finished state, I’m pleased to say that a lot of the early rough edges are smoothened out.

It was Proton’s ‘floating tabs’ that most people disliked, and those are still here. Mozilla’s epiphany? Tabs with free space around them make it clearer to users that they can be detached, moved around, etc.

UI changes aside, Firefox 89 also comes with an improved private browsing mode (aka “Total Cookie Protection”), a major update to the browser’s built-in SmartBlock feature, and media auto-play is now (wisely) disabled by default:

Media will not autoplay by default

Firefox’s macOS users bag some exclusive goodies too, including smart zoom (either on a trackpad or with the Magic Mouse), native context menus, and elastic over scrolling effect when trying to go past the end or top of a web page.

Compact mode is now a hidden setting: set browser.uidensity to 1

Want to try Firefox 89 yourself?

Firefox is free, open source software available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. You download the latest release from the Mozilla website. Ubuntu users (as well as those on Ubuntu-based distros) can install this update using the Software Updater tool.

Are you a fan of Firefox’s new look? Let me know down below!

App Updates Firefox