Mozilla Firefox 83 comes with big JavaScript enhancements

The Firefox logo on a grey and purple background

Mozilla has announced the release of Firefox 83. Unlike Firefox 82, which was a modest upgrade, Firefox 83 includes some big improvements including improvements to the SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine which increases page load performance, page responsiveness and lowers memory usage.

With Firefox 83, Mozilla has decided to replace parts of its JavaScript engine. Aside from boosting the browser's security and making it easier to maintain, the changes increase page load performance by 15%, page responsiveness by 12% and reduces memory usage by 8%. You won’t need to do anything to experience these improvements as they come switched on by default in the update.

Another new feature is HTTPS-Only Mode. This is an optional feature that can be turned on in Firefox Preferences. As you can see from the name, this mode will ensure that all of your connections to websites are encrypted and secure giving you peace of mind when connected to a public network. If a website does not support HTTPS, you will be greeted by a ‘Secure Connection Not Available’ message. You do have the option to proceed to the website using only HTTP but the warning will let you know before you proceed.

Some other notable changes include pinch zoom support for Windows touch screen devices and touchpads on Mac devices, the directional arrows can be used to fast forward, rewind and adjust the volume in Picture-in-Picture mode, and AcroForm support has been added which lets you fill in, print, and save supported PDF forms.

The firm said that this release is big for WebRender as the rollout expands on Windows 7 and 8 as well as on macOS 10.12 to 10.15. Regarding Mac devices, the firm said that Firefox 83 and above will work on Apple’s new Silicon CPU using emulation under Apple’s Rosetta 2 that ships with Big Sur. Going forward, the firm will support the new processor natively.

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