Here is what is new and changed in Firefox 81.0

Mozilla released Firefox 81 Stable and Firefox ESR 78.3 to the public on September 22, 2020. The new versions of the Firefox web browser are available via automatic updates and also as direct downloads.

Firefox development channels have received updates as well. Firefox Beta and Developer versions move to version 82, Firefox Nightly to 83, and Firefox for Android is updated to version 81 as it follows the stable channel release scheme.

Check out the Firefox 80 release notes in case you missed them.

Executive Summary

  • Firefox 81 introduces many new features on the desktop and for Android.
  • Firefox 68 ESR installations will be upgraded to Firefox 78 ESR automatically as the former has reached end of support.
  • Firefox 82 Stable, Firefox 82 for Android and Firefox 78.4 ESR will be released on October 20, 2020.

Firefox 81.0 download and update

firefox 81 browser

The release date of Firefox 81 and Firefox 78.3 ESR is September 22, 2020. The update is pushed via its automatic updating functionality to devices it is installed on; this is an automated process.

Users who don’t want to wait can open Menu > Help > About Firefox to run a manual check for updates. The interface that opens displays the currently installed version of Firefox as well.

Users may also download the new version from Mozilla if they prefer that.

The following pages list direct downloads for supported Firefox channels (will be available later on September 22, 2020)

New features and improvements

firefox 81 theme alpenglow

  • Firefox users from Austria, Belgium and Switzerland who use the German version of the browser see Pocket recommendations on the new tab page by default in the new release. To disable these, load about:preferences#home and turn off Recommended by Pocket on the page that opens.
  • Firefox users from the United States and Canada can use the browser to save and manage credit card information; the information can be auto-filled once saved.
  • The new Firefox release supports AcroForm; Mozilla plans to integrate PDF filling, printing, and the saving of supported PDF forms in future versions. PDF Viewer has a new look as well.
  • Firefox supports media controls in the new release to control audio and video playback with hardware control buttons on keyboards, headsets and other peripherals.

firefox extension control passwords

  • A new theme called Alpenglow is now available. It is more colorful than the default dark and light themes. You can change themes by loading about:addons and switching to Themes in the sidebar.
  • Logins and Passwords under about:preferences#privacy highlights now if an installed extension has control over the “Ask to save logins and passwords for websites” setting.
  • Fixed a bug on Windows for ESR releases: “On Windows, when loading a LNK file via a local file, the link was not redirected to the target”.
  • Installing Firefox MSI via Intune will default to a Per-Machine installation instead of Per-User now.
  • The native HTML audio and video controls received screen reader accessibility fixes.
  • New iconography for Picture-in-Picture mode.
  • On bookmark imports, the bookmarks toolbar is automatically displayed in Firefox.
  • Firefox may display XML, SVG and WEBP files now when they are opened in the browser, e.g. from a local source.

Firefox for Android

Firefox for Android has been updated to version 81 today as well. The new version is being rolled out via Google Play to all devices earlier versions are installed on.

  • The homepage displays the most visited sites (up to sixteen sites in four rows). Users can toggle the display off under Settings > Customise > Show most visited sites
  • Firefox focuses the address bar automatically when a new tab is opened in the browser; this saves a tap as it was necessary previously to active the address bar before an address could be entered.
  • Optional feature to close tabs automatically after a certain time of inactivity. Check out our full overview of the automatic tab closing feature in Firefox for Android here.
  • Firefox users can now swipe to the left or right on the address bar to switch tabs.
  • New option to disable the auto-completion of addresses in the address bar. The new option is available under Settings > Search > Autocomplete URLs.
  • Firefox 81 for Android displays downloads in a chronological list and supports external download managers.
  • The login manager supports multiple logins for the same domain. Firefox displays a prompt if more than one login is saved in the browser for a site.
  • Firefox users who did not disable the master password in Firefox 68 or earlier prior to the migration to Firefox 79 or later, could not access their saved passwords anymore. Firefox 81 includes an option to restore the passwords by entering the master password that was used in the older version of the browser (should be displayed on the homepage “looking for your logins”).
  • Link to the Android notification settings under Settings > Notifications to allow or deny certain types of notifications of the browser.
  • WebRender support extended to Adreno 5xx graphics processing units with the exception of Adreno 505 and Adreno 506.
  • Collections feature is promoted on the startpage if the user has not created a collection already.
  • Firefox Search widget uses a dark theme if a dark theme is used on the Android device.

Developer Changes

  • Error messages provided by the menus.create API are “more meaningful” now.
  • Firefox now accepts non-standard Content-Disposition headers with a unquoted filename containing spaces
  • Firefox UA string will contain Intel on ARM-based Macs and 10.16 on macOS Big Sur
  • The <iframe> element’s sandbox attribute now supports the allow-downloads token.
  • Worker scripts with wrong MIME type will be blocked from loading with Worker() or SharedWorker()

Known Issues

none listed.

Security updates / fixes

Security updates are revealed after the official release of the web browser. You find the information published here after release.

Additional information / sources

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