Better late than never?
At long last, Mozilla has released its popular Web browser on iOS. That’s right: You can now browse the Web on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad using Firefox.
Firefox for mobile has been available since its release for the Nokia Maemo operating system in 2010. It’s also been offered on Android since 2011.
Also in 2012, Mozilla demoed an iPad version of Firefox codenamed Junior. But the app was never released.
It seemed apparent that Firefox would never ever make it to iOS. That is, until last year, when Mozilla hinted at its renewed plans to bring its browser to Apple’s mobile operating system.
The reason cited for the holdout was Apple’s policy restricting third-party Web browser developers from using their own rendering engines. This hampered Mozilla from building “the browser it wants to for Apple’s platform.”
It’s no surprise, then, that the just released Firefox for iOS uses Apple’s WebKit engine rather than Mozilla’s own Gecko engine.
Surf, search, sync
Also unsurprising? Firefox for iOS doesn’t offer much in the way of features that you can’t find on other Web browsers on the platform.
Like many other mobile browsers, it supports tabs, favorites, search suggestions, and private browsing. So there’s little reason to switch to Firefox from, say, Chrome or, most notably, Safari, which remains the default Web browser app on iOS for opening links from other apps.
Perhaps Firefox for iOS comes highly recommended only if you’ve been using Firefox on other platforms, since it also supports sync for accessing your history, bookmarks, open tabs, and passwords across your cross-platform devices.
In any case, you can now download Firefox for your iOS device from the App Store — for free, of course. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad running iOS 8.2 or later.