Firefox Focus is the lightweight, privacy-focused mobile edition of Firefox. Its goal is to help you “stay focused” by blocking annoying ads and trackers. It’s backed by the same company behind Firefox — Mozilla — a web with the slogan “Your life is your business. Not ours.”
According to the Firefox Focus page on GitHub “The new Firefox Focus automatically blocks a wide range of online trackers — from the moment you launch it to the second you leave it. Easily erase your history, passwords, and cookies, so you won’t get followed by things like unwanted ads.” Did it impress the privacy enthusiast inside you? Wait till you know about its amazing features in the following.
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Installing Firefox Focus
First of all, open the app store on your platform, then search for “Firefox Focus” and install it to try it yourself. If it’s not available and if you’re using Android, go to “mozilla.org/firefox/mobile” in your web browser. Then, click “Download the APK” under Firefox Focus and install the APK.
When I initially opened the app, I was amazed by its simplicity. Its homepage design — showing just a search bar — is inspired by the clean interface of Mozilla Firefox. But that’s not all. I was more amazed when I went on to check its Settings. It packs in various advanced privacy features that you can read about in the following.
Firefox Focus Features
Firefox Focus is an innovative web browser with many blessings, but of course, it doesn’t come without its curses. Let’s start first with its valuable perks.
Your privacy is auto-handled by this strengthened browser — from the time you start browsing to the moment you end your browsing session. Then, it deletes your browsing session right before closing itself, which includes any footprint you left behind by mistake such as cookies, local data or storage, etc.
Firefox Focus has a minimal number of settings — may be by design or by the virtue of it being a new browser. Nevertheless, you get just the options you need to secure your privacy. What’s more interesting? It offers some advanced options like stealth pages and fingerprint protection to fortify them as well.
The browser blocks all ads on the fly without any extra add-ons or extensions like AdBlock Plus. Since the feature is native, you can enjoy better speed with Firefox Focus. Additionally, its native block lists are provided by Disconnect, making them excellent at blocking almost all ads on each page or site.
Along with the ads, Firefox Focus also blocks all trackers by default. The list includes trackers from ad agencies such as Facebook Ads and analytics solutions like Google Analytics. So you can be sure nobody is following you around the web and tracking your browsing habits like form entries and searches.
Firefox Focus, thanks to its ad-blocking and tracking protection features, speeds up your browsing experience. Since it blocks most of the elements — especially the heaviest parts — of any web page, the browser requires fewer data to load from the web. Moreover, it uses less memory, thus more performance.
What Firefox Focus Lacks
No tabbed browsing
Firefox Focus doesn’t offer dedicated support for opening multiple tabs, i.e., you can’t create two tabs by entering URLs in the address bar. However, you can open links in new tabs, thankfully. It’s harder to use than Chrome or Firefox, but it’s a good trade-off if you’re looking for a private browsing experience.
Missing usual features
Although the browser is full of privacy features, it lacks the common features we look forward in a modern web browser. The list of exclusions includes no support for add-ons, bookmarks, night mode, etc. I also missed the back and tab switcher buttons along with no support for caching the opened tabs.
Proxy not supported
The browser doesn’t support adding a proxy for browsing the web in spite of its wide array of privacy features. That means you can’t hide your browsing and location data using a proxy in Firefox Focus. Fortunately, you can use a VPN, such as all VPN providers for Android and Orbot (Tor) in its VPN mode.
Focus vs. Other Browsers
Since we now know all about Firefox Focus, let’s compare its features with other browsers — especially the popular browsers. I will also compare it with the most secure browser on the planet — Tor Browser — along with its features.
Focus vs. Chrome and Firefox
Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are the most popular browsers with lots of features and superb performance. Firefox Focus is incomparable with them since it focuses on private browsing. Moreover, Focus is just three years old while the other two browsers are at least a decade old. Thus, it’s incomparable!
Chrome and Firefox are our everyday browsers, and we’re used to their features as well. When we don’t find them in Firefox Focus, we miss them. For example, these browsers have tabbed browsing, bookmarks support, and more. That said, you may feel uneasy at first, but it’s worth the given privacy features.
Firefox Focus vs. Tor Browser
Tor Browser is a browser built for privacy and security that is used by journalists and privacy enthusiasts worldwide. Although its mobile version is still in alpha mode, it includes superb privacy-oriented features. Its feature list is far greater than that of Focus and includes anti-browser fingerprinting features.
However, Firefox Focus is available for both Android and iOS, but Tor Browser is only available for Android (at the time of writing). That is why iOS users are happier with Focus in comparison to Android users (as you’ll see below).
What do the users say?
Firefox Focus is loved by thousands of its users (including me). While browsing its pages on the app stores, I saw people praising this lightweight browser. It is no doubt that it is rated 4.8 on the App Store and 4.4 on the Play Store. That’s not all, a lot of people also share useful insights as you can read below.
“I’m very happy with the app… Safari takes a long time to load certain pages… The phone would begin to overheat and the battery would drain… found Focus. The problem literally is solved… it is an excellent…“, said DNAisBuyingTime.
“This browser performs and delivers what it promises… you can delete all your history ,it blocks ads and google analytics,and it’s fast . There are some downsides such as you can only have one tab open at the time…“, said Alfred Tech.
“works well, good for private browsing. they should update it to allow opening new links in a different tab and also give the option of closing one or more tabs. it’s all or none right now“, wrote Saurabh Beedkar on the Google Play Store.
“I love this browser. Very stable and performance is great on mobile devices… you get built-in tracking protection.“, said Ketan Barve. Ashel Revy wrote “Excellent browser with privacy first approach. I set it up as default. Works really well & fast, but the feature set is very limited compared to the original Firefox.“
Should you switch to Focus?
You may switch to Firefox Focus if you like, but I will suggest not making it your default browser. What’s the reason? It lacks everyday features like tabbed browsing and support for bookmarks and passwords. That said, you may use it as your default browser if you can do without a browser’s usual features.
What is your opinion about Firefox Focus? Please write a comment below or post a tweet to @aksinghnet to leave your feedback. I’d like to hear from you.