Firefox 96 update focuses on noise improvements, main thread efficiency

Mozilla's latest Firefox refresh aims to help video chat users on desktop and mobile browsing ease on Android.
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer

Mozilla published their patch notes for the desktop and Android versions of Firefox 96. The new update focuses on helping video chat users, increasing performance and security, and improving user experiences on mobile devices. 

On the desktop side of things, Mozilla's latest release made "significant improvements" to the browser's built-in noise suppression and auto-gain-control features. These improvements are aimed at web-based video chat users, particularly those that utilize software or hardware without its own built-in methods for suppressing background noise or automatically controlling the user's mic input levels. Along the same lines, Mozilla also made "slight improvements" to its echo-cancellation tech, which helps speakers in poor acoustic environments avoid resonance. 

The second tentpole feature in version 96 focuses on reducing main-thread load, which should help the browser function better on older, slower, or congested systems without ample resources to handle its processing and memory needs. 

Last up for added features on the desktop version is a new enforcement setting for cookies which will, by default, apply the "Same-Site=lax" policy. Mozilla claims this will help better defend users against Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks.

Fixes applied to the latest version of the desktop browser include corrections for opening Gmail links on macOS, multiple video playback and performance fixes, and security updates. Mozilla also acknowledged that it is working on correcting the performance of detached videos being played in full screen on macOS devices. This feature was "temporarily disabled" to "avoid some issues with corruption, brightness changes, missing subtitles, and high CPU usage." No timeframe was mentioned for when it might be available again. 

On the Android side of things, Mozilla added a new "history highlights" feature to help users find recently visited sites, as well as improvements to the images displayed for recent bookmark additions on the user's homepage. 

The long list of mobile fixes includes clipboard improvements, tab management enhancements, a correction to private tabs being displayed as normal tabs, fixes for history interface display issues, and better on-screen keyboard behaviors. 

Both the desktop and Android versions of Firefox 96 are available now. 

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