Despite 2020 being a year like no other, Mozilla managed to stick to is monthly release schedule for Firefox (opens in new tab) and Firefox 84 is now available to download.
While Firefox 83 (opens in new tab) brought a number of security improvements, the highlight of the latest release is native support for macOS devices such as the new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini that all run on Apple's M1 chip (opens in new tab). According to Mozilla, Firefox 84 launches over two and a half times faster and web apps are also now twice as responsive.
If you've recently upgraded to an M1 Mac, you will need to fully exit and restart Firefox before upgrading to Firefox 84+ in order for the browser to run on the new architecture. It's worth noting that you can confirm whether or not you're using the Apple Silicon version of Firefox by entering “about:support” in the address bar and seeing that Rosetta Translated is showing up as “false”.
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In addition to supporting Apple Silicon, Firefox 84 is also rolling out WebRender, which makes rendering smoother and allows apps to run at 60 fps, to MacOS Big Sur, Windows devices with Intel Gen 6 GPUs and Intel laptops running Windows 7 and 8.
Firefox for Linux is also getting some upgrades as Mozilla has announced that it will ship an accelerated rendering pipeline for Linux, GNOME and X11 users for the first time ever. At the same time though, Firefox now uses modern techniques for allocating shared memory on Linux and this helps improve performance and increase compatibility with Docker (opens in new tab).
Finally, Firefox 84 is the browsers final release that will support Adobe Flash (opens in new tab) as official support for Flash will end on December, 31 of this year.
The latest version of Firefox also includes a number of security and bug fixes but Mac users with devices running Apple Silicon will see the greatest performance increases by far.
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