Firefox unveils new homepage for Android and iOS

Firefox said the new design helps people jump right back into the content and activities they care more about.

Firefox debuted an updated version of their homepage for Android and iOS on Tuesday, announcing that the new homepage will allow users to jump back to their last open tab, find recently saved bookmarks on their homepage, find recent searches grouped by topic and more. 

Firefox recently updated its browser in May but has redesigned it again, removing what they called "clutter" and providing a slate of features they created based on user feedback. 

The new homepage will also allow users to organize their tabs better, and Firefox said the new Firefox for mobile is currently in Beta. The new homepage is available for people with Android 5.0 and above as well as iOS 13 and above. Many of the features are only available on Android and will be rolled out to iOS users in the coming months. 

Vesta Zare, senior product manager at Firefox Mobile, told ZDNet that the homepage was designed to help people get back into the content and activities they care more about while accomplishing what they need to get done on their mobile phone as seamlessly as possible.

"Android users will also notice a new concept called 'Inactive Tabs' where we hope to remove visual clutter by grouping older tabs that haven't opened in a while," Zare added. The feature will roll out to iOS users in the coming months. 

"In a world where various events and activities and content is constantly competing for our attention, one problem that came up in mobile user research was that people often felt overwhelmed by the quantity of online content they had to sort through before they could get back to what was most relevant to them. It was time-consuming and sometimes frustrating. So in our new release on November 2nd, we took the first step towards creating a more organized and productive mobile browsing experience where people could jump back in and out of their activity flow without losing track of what they cared about."

Firefox noted that they wanted to "lift that heavy mental burden of remembering to finish those halfway read articles or vacation research until you are ready to jump back and finish those tasks."

Zare said Firefox on mobile is taking a different approach to browsing on-the-go, "critically examining cognitive load and delivering experiences that alleviate that for our users." 

"Today's version marks the beginning of a journey we are excited to explore and continue to listen to our users and deliver solutions that help us all discover the best of the web," Zare explained. 

According to Zare, the new Firefox homepage is innovative because it helps users focus on what's relevant and group-related activities.

"Other major mobile browsers do not offer a similar user flow. And as always, we are doing this without collecting personal information from our users and remain committed to protecting our users' data and privacy," Zare added. 

"Inactive tabs (in Android) is also a new browser concept aimed at removing visual noise and clutter and is currently unique to Firefox. Helping people discover new content on the homepage -- whether it's news articles or other interesting content) has been an established feature amongst other major mobile browsers such as Chrome, Edge, and Opera. However, the added benefit of discovering new content in Firefox is that we don't collect and use personal information to curate content. Instead, we let our users tailor the content based on their chosen interests."

Firefox also redesigned Pocket, their news article portal. They said users wanted content specifically tailored to them, so now Pocket will be customizable and can match what you're interested in seeing. The feature is only available for Android users.