Firefox, the 2nd most used web browser in the world has finally become available for Apple iOS devices.

As FileHippo reported back in September, the company behind Firefox, Mozilla had been trialing the app exclusively in New Zealand.

But it was only 2 years ago that Mozilla rejected the idea of a Firefox browser for iOS, unless Apple’s closed iOS environments were made more hospitable for 3rd party software, such as Mozilla’s Firefox.

Apple’s strict requirements meant that Mozilla were unable to use their own rendering engine, which was a major sticking point.

firefox for ios

 

Change of heart

The company though signalled it may have changed its mind in an announcement made last December, possibly in reaction to reduced market share on Android powered devices, and desktops.

Firefox for iOS does have a lot going for it. You can tell that Mozilla have put some considerable effort into the Apple version of Firefox. Among some of the more interesting features, are:

  • A private browsing mode that doesn’t share existing cookies or save your search history
  • Visual Tabs for easy multiple management of multiple tabs
  • Search Suggestions that will try to predict what you’re searching for

As we mentioned in our September report, PC and Android versions of Firefox use the Gecko engine to power Firefox. Firefox for iOS, utilizes WebKit instead. But you’d be pushed to notice any difference as a user.

Starting from the back

Firefox though will be up against it to gain popularity with Apple users. iOS already has Google Chrome, and Apple’s own safari browser is heavily entrenched as the default go-to web browser. Mozilla’s late entry into an already crowded market may leave it struggling to make up ground.

Firefox for iOS works well

That said, Firefox for iOS is a sleek and well-polished app, and is worthy of a try if nothing else. It’s certainly good news for desktop Firefox users who have patiently waited for years for Firefox to make the crossover.

If your Apple device is running iOS 8.2 or newer you can install and use Firefox for iOS, today.

The news was officially released on the Mozilla blog by Vice President of product, Nick Nguyen. He said:

“I hope you enjoy the first ever release of Firefox for iOS, and expect to see much more from us soon as we are going full speed ahead on continuously delivering new features. I’m proud of the team for getting us to where we are today and excited about where we’ll be in the future.”