Mozilla plans to finally bring Firefox web browser to iOS

Firefox for iOS

Mozilla finally plans to launch its Firefox browser for iOS, according to a statement made by Firefox VP Jonathan Nightingale at an internal Mozilla event.

Mozilla has previously said that it doesn’t plan to launch a Firefox for iOS as Apple does not allow third-party developers to use their own web engine, and hence Moziila didn’t “feel like it could build the browser it wants” on Apple’s platform.

Prior to iOS 8, third-party browsers also couldn’t use the Nitro Javascript engine, which meant that they were not as fast as mobile Safari. Apple has however addressed this issue in iOS 8, as it includes improvements such as increased JavaScript performance via WebKit’s super-fast JIT. You also can’t set a third-party browser as the default browser in iOS.

Mozilla’s VP for Firefox Jonathan Nightingale wrote on Twitter that “We need to be where our users are so we’re going to get Firefox on iOS”.

Firefox browser won’t be Mozilla’s first app in the App Store. Mozilla had released Firefox Home in 2010, which brought part of the Firefox experience to iOS.  Firefox Home provided iPhone users quick access to their Firefox desktop history, open tabs and bookmarks. However, Mozilla removed the app from App Store in 2012 to focus its resources on other project.

With a new CEO on board, it looks like Mozilla is changing its stance, which should be welcome news to Firefox users. Even though you can’t make Firefox the default browser, users will be able to enjoy seamless browsing experience if Mozilla can bring features such as accounts, customizable home panels and Firefox sync to iOS.

Do you use Firefox? Would you switch to Firefox if Mozilla releases a fully-featured app in the App Store?

[via TechCrunch]