Firefox has long been the browser for power users, thanks in no small part to its vast extension library. These powerful addons let creative developers tweak the browser in awesome ways, but that kind of power also exposes Firefox to problems.
For a long time, Firefox’s addon system meant that a bad extension could cause issues in your browser, or even be malware posing as helpful.
To remedy this, the upcoming Firefox 57 is making a big switch. From that version on, Firefox will use addons that are similar to what Chrome uses — they can’t modify the browser’s code, so they pose less of a threat.
Old extensions will be called Legacy and won’t be supported come Firefox 57. You should check right now to see which of your extensions are headed to extinction so you can plan ahead.
I ran the numbers and of the 28743 Firefox extensions, 80% will not work with version 57.
— Steve Beaty (@drsjb80) September 4, 2017
First, make sure your browser is up-to-date by clicking the three-bar Menu icon in the upper-right of Firefox. Click the Help icon, then About Firefox to check for updates. You must have Firefox 55 or above for the browser to alert you to legacy extensions.
Once that’s done, visit Menu > Add-ons and make sure the Extensions tab is highlighted on the left side. Any extensions that say LEGACY after them don’t conform to the new standard. Mozilla has stated that as November approaches, it will suggest “suitable replacements” for addons that don’t see updates.
But you can get a head start on that now.
Check out the Are we WebExtensions yet? page for information on whether the developers of your favorite extensions are working on updating them.
If you need an alternative for one that’s not making the switch, check out this Google Sheet that the Firefox Reddit community has put together. It lists the status of addon ports and provides alternatives where possible.
Hopefully this won’t affect your use of Firefox too much. Most major extension providers should have no problem modernizing their offerings, while extensions that haven’t seen updates in a while will probably break permanently after this change. But in the long run, it will make Firefox stabler and safer.
Can’t live without your favorite extension? Why not give Opera a try instead?
How many Firefox extensions do you have installed right now, and how many of them are legacy addons? Do you have alternatives lined up for them? Tell us how this change will affect you in the comments!
Image Credit: MariMarkina/Depositphotos