Mozilla finally relents, brings Firefox browser to iOS

It took several years but Mozilla has given in and officially launched Firefox for iPhones and iPads. The company conceded to Apple's rules and use the WebKit engine for page rendering.

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Years of holding out from launching an iOS version of its Firefox browser have ended for Mozilla. The non-profit organization with strong principles of an open web officially debuted Firefox for iOS in the iTunes App Store.

We knew this was coming though: In September of 2014, Firefox arrived on iOS in a limited preview form.

Why did Mozilla hold back from bringing Firefox to iOS for so long?

Mainly because Apple gave its own Safari browser first-class citizen status with access to its own, fast JavaScript engine and because it required other browsers to use WebKit for rendering web pages.

It also didn't help that iOS has never -- and still doesn't -- allow users to set a different default browser on their devices.

Apple has relaxed on some of those rules over time; enough so that Mozilla decided that Firefox on iOS would be worth the effort.

Even so, it has given in to a point: Firefox for iOS doesn't use Mozilla's Gecko rendering engine; it uses WebKit, notes Ars Technica.

The browser focuses on user control of data, privacy and speed.

Back in the day, Firefox was my go-to browser for these and other reasons. And if you're using Firefox on the desktop today, it might make sense to give the mobile version a spin on your iPhone or iPad: You'll gain the benefit of Firefox Sync for bookmarks and browsing history.