Firefox Is Now Global on iOS: How Does It Compare?

Sandy Writtenhouse 23-11-2015

In a much-anticipated, highly-awaited announcement from Mozilla recently, the browser maker declared the Firefox Web browser is finally available on iOS worldwide. Why it took so long, we are not sure, especially since it has been available on Android for quite some time.


But for those Firefox desktop fans who have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, this is good news. So, how does Firefox on iOS stack up against the other mobile browsers?


Basic Features

Not long ago, we took a look at Puffin and Dolphin in comparison to Safari Mobile Browsing: Are Puffin and Dolphin Better Than Safari? What could the mobile browsers Puffin and Dolphin have to offer that would make them better than Safari? Read More for those using iOS. All three browsers, as you would expect, contain the basic essentials you would need and Firefox is no exception.

By creating an account and logging in, you can sync across devices Stay in Sync: Access All Your Browser Data From Any Device How can you make the process of switching devices more efficient, so that you can easily pick up where you left off? Read More and access your bookmarks. You can enable private browsing, open multiple tabs easily, and share pages you are visiting. And, the same goes for the Opera Mini and Chrome apps. As you might expect, there are no surprises with any of these mobile browsers when it comes to the basics.

Browser Settings

In regards to the settings for Firefox on iOS, they pretty much compare directly with Safari Faster, Sleeker, Better: How To Switch From Chrome/Firefox To Safari Thinking about using Safari on your Mac, but worried you might lose features and bookmarks? Here's a quick guide to comfortably moving to Apple's web browser, without missing out. Read More and Chrome. You can choose your default search engine, block pop-ups, and clear your browsing history and cookies.


You can also adjust the saved password option and all settings in each browser are easily accessible. So, there is nothing earth-shattering when it comes to settings for Firefox; it has the basics you need.


Look, Feel & Customization

If you are someone who likes to have a personalized browsing experience that includes a wallpaper or color theme, then you will have to look beyond Firefox. Again, it compares more to Safari and Chrome in this sense as well, whereas, Opera Mini, Puffin, and Dolphin have more customization options for the appearance.



Opera Mini and Dolphin both offer a night mode and available themes to change the look and feel. Puffin goes a wee bit further by letting you pick a wallpaper for the main screen as well as a color theme that applies to the entire app. So, if you are one of those people who likes vibrant colors or cool backgrounds, then you will have to stick with Opera Mini, Dolphin, or Puffin over Firefox.


Standout Features

Nothing really stands out in the way of features for Firefox on iOS. When you open it, you will see your most recently visited websites and can access your bookmarks, history, and reading list quickly.

The only feature that really pops is that you can access tabs that are open on another device through the cloud, which could come in quite handy. Unfortunately, this did not seem to work as expected for me. Both my iPhone and iPad showed no open tabs on other devices even though I was logged into both with the same Firefox account and each device was synced.



As for the others, Puffin offers Flash support Use Puffin Browser To Play Flash Content On Your iPhone & iPad Whenever someone asks me to recommend an app that supports Flash videos on their iPad, I recommend Puffin Web Browser. Read More with a quality setting, social media and app add-ons, and floating buttons for an enhanced browsing experience. It even provides test and verification of your connection, Puffin system status, and printing and download options.


Dolphin also has a couple of standout features including Draw a Gesture which is basically a shortcut to your favorite websites or most-used actions accessed by drawing a letter or symbol. In addition, Dolphin has a QR code scan feature built right into the search bar which is convenient for capturing codes quickly when you are out and about.



Discovering Something New

If you use Opera Mini or Puffin, then you are familiar with the Discover options for your main screen. You can check out top news stories or specific categories such as entertainment, sports, or technology.

This may seem like a small feature, and maybe to many it is, but it is one of those little extras that both Opera Mini and Puffin offer. So, if you like to just browse and are not sure where to start or want to see top news stories when you open your app, this feature is great and not one that Firefox offers.


The Bottom Line

With all of this being said, Firefox is still a good browser for your mobile device, especially if you are a current user on other devices. The key is being able to access everything on your desktop and mobile devices that you need when you need it as far as Web access, and Firefox provides this.

It may not have big, standout features, little extras, or all the bells and whistles of other mobile browsers. But, as far as speed, reliability, and accessibility – so far so good.


Firefox for iOS is available for free, as are Chrome and Opera Mini [Broken Link Removed]. Puffin Web Browser is available for free and Puffin Browser Pro has a few more features and costs $3.99. Dolphin Web Browser is available for free and Dolphin Browser Pro also has a few more features and costs $2.99.

Are You Using Firefox on iOS?

Current Firefox desktop users would likely be the first to download the app for iOS. Is this you and have you done so yet? If you have, what are your thoughts on its features and how well it works?

Will you switch over from your current mobile browser Which Mobile Browser Do You Currently Use? [MakeUseOf Poll] There are plenty of mobile Web browsers out there to try, but which do you currently use for browsing on the go? Welcome to this week's MakeUseOf Poll. Read More to Firefox now? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

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  1. VlijmenFileer
    November 24, 2015 at 10:12 am

    "Why it took so long, we are not sure, especially since it has been available on Android for quite some time."

    Are you guys daft or so? This has been ALL over internet.

    Firefox first (and rightfully so!) decided against putting Firefox on iApple because iApple outright forbids other browsers in their iApple iStore!
    iApple only allows "browsers" based on their iApple iRendering iEngine. This means that any browser on iApple is basically a skinned version of the iDefault iApple iBrowser.

  2. Anonymous
    November 23, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    That's not Firefox. It's just another webkit browser with dubious access to Mozilla's online services. Mozilla compromised on getting its rendering engine. It's giving up on tab groups, proper extension support and the good-looking and functional UI it had prior to version 25.