The default web browser on your Android device is Chrome, which for most of you is all you’ll ever need. It’s a great browser, but there’s a case to be made that it’s not your best option. Aside from the fact that plenty of people don’t want to over-commit themselves to the relatively snoopy Google ecosystem, several benchmarks have shown Firefox to actually be faster than Chrome.
If you’re already reaping the benefits of Mozilla’s speedy browser, then check out these five tips and tricks to make the experience even better.
1. Instantly Search Using Alternative Search Engines
Much like in Chrome, you can type things you want to search for into the address bar at the top of Firefox to search for them using the default search engine (Google, in this case). But a convenient feature of Firefox is that as you’re typing what you want to search for, the icons for several other search engines and sites (Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, Wikipedia, Amazon and so on) appear just above the keyboard, and you just need to tap one of them once you’ve entered your information to search in those places instead.
2. Do Not Track
Firefox takes pride in looking out for your privacy and was the first browser to implement a “Do Not Track” option (though most browsers have it now). Whether it works or not depends on how individual sites respond to it, and if it does work then it essentially means that sites cannot track your activity on other sites to target you with ads, tailored content and so on.
To enable “Do No Track” in Firefox, tap the menu icon at the top right -> Settings -> Privacy, then “Do not track.”
3. Sync Firefox Across Devices
Just because Firefox isn’t all linked up to your Google account doesn’t mean you can’t use it seamlessly between multiple devices – accessing all the same bookmarks, saved passwords and browsing history. To do this, you need to create a Firefox account. (To do this on Android, tap the “Firefox menu icon -> Settings” then “Sign in” at the top and follow the instructions to create an account.)
Once you’ve done this, you’ll be signed in to Firefox on your Android device, and your data will be synchronised between all devices that you’ve signed into your Firefox account on.
4. Use Reading List to Read Articles Offline
There are plenty of apps that allow for offline reading, but why bother with them when you can just do it through your browser? When you’re reading an article (this won’t work on homepages), you’ll see a little book icon on the right side of your address bar. Tap it to go into Reader View, and the page will change format into a more mobile-friendly version.
Next, tap the menu icon at the top right, then the star icon to save the article to your reading list. This article will now be in your offline reading list. To access it, just tap the menu icon, then Bookmarks.
5. Create a Master Password
If other people use your Android device, or if you just want to give all the stored login information and passwords in Firefox an extra layer of security, then you can create a master password that you’ll be asked for each time you log into a site that requires your details.
To turn on a master password, tap the Firefox menu icon -> Settings, then scroll down and tick the “Use master password” box. Type the password you want, then tap OK.
Firefox is certainly not an inferior browser to Chrome, and there’s a case to be made that it’s actually better! As well as having plenty of tweakable features, you can also install add-ons for Firefox on Android and should check those out as well to really make the most of this excellent browser.