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Firefox users are unhappy with privacy tweaks in the browser’s latest version

A hot potato: It’s the little things that can annoy browser users, especially when the program in question is Firefox – the last so-called independent browser devoted to the customer experience. In its latest release of Firefox 127, Mozilla added a few tweaks to its privacy offerings that have made some users very unhappy. It also added enhancements to privacy, but it remains to be seen if its disgruntled fan base will consider the new features a counterweight to what’s missing.

Firefox has been a beloved browser by many, but the latest Firefox 127 version has some users doubting its commitment to privacy.

The release made a series of modest tweaks such as automatically reloading the browser when the OS reboots and requiring more authentication to access stored passwords. There have been other changes that Mozilla did not mention, but several users noticed and took to online forums to complain.

One option called browser.privateWindowSeparation.enabled has been changed so that users can no longer combine the normal and private Firefox windows on one taskbar. In Firefox 106, Mozilla created regular and private browsing windows with separate taskbar icons or buttons, but it was possible to combine them in a workaround. Enough people have complained that Mozilla says it is bringing back the “browser.privateWindowSeparation.enabled” pref as an opt-in.

In another thread, users of Firefox on Apple iOS are complaining that if you have both a main and private Firefox instances open, all the tabs in the private instance close when the main instance closes. The option to open in Private Browsing mode by default has gone as well.

To be fair, Firefox 127 does introduce some new privacy and security enhancements. It will automatically upgrade audio, video, and image subresources from HTTP to HTTPS, ensuring all content is loaded over encrypted connections.

It will also now mask the CPU architecture of 32-bit x86 Linux users as x86_64 in its User-Agent string to help reduce fingerprinting, which is a technique often used by advertisers to track users across sites.

Also, several security vulnerabilities were fixed in this release, addressing issues like use-after-free in JavaScript object transplant and potential phishing vectors.

Finally, a device sign-in – your operating system password, fingerprint, face or voice login if enabled – can be required when accessing and filling stored passwords in the Firefox Password Manager about:logins page.

In addition, Mozilla promises to add several requested features to its Firefox browser over the next year, including making privacy settings more intuitive, with streamlined menus designed to reduce visual clutter and prioritize top user actions.

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