Firefox has announced a new mobile browser for iOS designed to safeguard your privacy online by blocking many web trackers, including analytics, social, and advertising by default.
In case this sounds familiar that’s because Mozilla originally launched a content blocker for iOS called Focus by Firefox in December 2015. The rebranded app still integrates with Safari to offer the iPhone’s default browser some extra privacy controls, but now also works as a no-frills browser for when you want to fire up a quick search and remain invisible.
The browser is pretty barebones, you are presented with a single search/URL bar and a Settings pane with simple sliders used to turn different types of trackers on and off. There is no support for tabs or any other menus, save for a prominent erase button at the top so you ca wipe your session manually — the session will also be erased if you close the app.
The company says that blocking trackers might also improve performance on certain tracker-filled sites. And for sites that don’e work correctly when certain trackers are blocked, Focus offers the option to fire up the page on Safari or Firefox.
The current situation with ad-blockers on iOS is that they are only allowed to work as add-ons that integrate with Safari — you open the ad-blocker app, tweak your settings, then enable the integration within Safari and rarely ever open the ad-blocker again. It’s not overly complicated but Nick Nguyen, VP of product at Firefox believes the setup is confusing and so they decided to integrate a barebones browsing experience into the app itself.
Mozilla says it will consider building a similar product for Android if the iOS version proves successful. Focus uses Disconnect’s open source block list, the same list as Firefox’s Private Browsing mode on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.