We've entered a new year, and 2021 is the year Firefox gets a long-overdue makeover. The design refresh goes by the name of Proton, and in the coming months you'll be able to try out what is not just a new look, but also a user experience improvement.
While it is some time until the Proton design rolls out to the stable version of Firefox that most people are using, you can expect Mozilla to give sneak peeks in the Beta, Developer and Nightly builds rather sooner. So, just what do we have to look forward to?
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A previous new design for Firefox went by the codename of Photon, but this was way back in version 57 of the browser. The upcoming (and similarly-named) Proton redesign is due for release when Firefox 89 lands in mid-May. Among the areas of the browser that are getting an updated look are context menus, the menu Firefox menu, as well as infobars and more.
Tabs are also in line for a number of key changes including new grouping options, and a new vertical alignment when the browser is running in compact mode. Design mockups also show that Firefox's context menu is getting a dark look, and the address bar is also getting an overhaul. As it is very early days, however, it is entirely possible that what is released later in the year will be rather different.
New year, new look
As we mentioned previously, there is currently no way to test out the Proton look as it is still undergoing internal development with Mozilla. However, if you are using the Beta, Developer or Nightly build of Firefox, there is a setting you can change to ensure that you get access to the revamped interface as soon as possible:
- Launch Firefox and pay a visit to about:config
- Search for browser.proton.enable
- Configure the setting to true
- Restart Firefox
It is impossible to say exactly when you will see anything new, but with the setting enabled you can be sure to clamp your eyes on the new look as soon as it is possible to do so – and this should be well before the planned May rollout to the stable branch.
- Check out our guide to the best browsers
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Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 20 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.
Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.
Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.