Firefox is not coming to iOS until Apple changes its ways, company exec says

By , Mar 10, 2013

FireFox iPad mini

Fans of Mozilla’s Firefox web browser may be hoping to use their browser of choice on iOS, but according to Mozilla, that may not be possible anytime soon.

Mozilla has lifted the lid on the reason that it has yet to port the popular Firefox to Apple’s mobile platform and, unsurprisingly, it’s all down to Apple’s tight control over how things are done on its devices according to Jay Sullivan, the company’s Vice President.

Currently, all third-party web browsers that run on the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch have to use Apple’s UIWebView component which is inherently slower than the Nitro used by the company’s own Safari browser. Mozilla says that it will only bring Firefox to iOS when that limitation is removed, and Apple seems in no rush to do that…

Mozilla has demoed Firefox running on an iPad before, but has not made the release public. With the company apparently reluctant to make its browser work just the same as all the others, including Google’s Chrome, the ball is now in Apple’s court. That said, Mozilla understands that it may be harming itself by not being on a platform as popular as iOS, regardless of the politics.

It’s not just iOS that poses such problems either, with Microsoft’s Windows RT also making life difficult for Mozilla thanks to the way it withholds access to Win32 APIs. We suspect Mozilla will be more keen to get Firefox onto iOS than Windows RT though, but we may be a little biased there!

We’re big fans of Google’s Chrome ourselves, bastardized browsing engine or not, especially when combined with the jailbreak tweak BrowserChooser.

Which browser do you use on iOS, and would you jump ship to Firefox if it was made available?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/linton.findlay Linton Findlay

    you can use the nitrous jailbreak tweak too, dont think many people use firefox anyway when safari and chrome have loads more features. imagine IE on IOS xD

    • Jimothy

      “I love Internet Explorer, and I cannot wait until its on iOS.” –Said Nobody Ever.

      • http://www.facebook.com/linton.findlay Linton Findlay

        haha imagine it, majority of the screen taken up by tool bars

      • Jimothy

        In my opinion, the only good use of IE is to download other browsers.

    • iDon’tWantToShareMyDetails

      They don’t discuss the JS engine, a browser is much more than a JS engine.

      Also Firefox is great alternative and its what i’m waiting for in iOS. Chrome is not my default browser and i would appreciate the change that the new FF Nitro could bring. Mind you Firefox is the reason why most of the users today DO NOT use IE.

      • http://www.facebook.com/linton.findlay Linton Findlay

        they mention that thats the reason its not coming to ios. i mainly use chrome or safari because of cloud sync features and the guarantee that the apps will be updated

    • Damian W

      Mercury and atomic browser have way more features than chrome. Much better browsers. Safari on the other hand is just fast and reliable.

      • regkilla

        Atomic Browser my most used web browser.

  • Qiren_94

    Don’t really care.
    I currently have 3 different browsers on my iOS device. Safari, Chrome and Opera Mini.
    I still like Safari better, and I only use Opera Mini when the connection is slow. Chrome is the one I seldom touch (only used a couple of times since i installed).

  • http://pgrytdal.tk/ Parker Grytdal

    If I had an iOS device, yes, I would jump the Safari boat and use Firefox. It is much more secure,a nd they care about privacy. Though, privacy is harder to keep on iOS, as they build spyware into it. Personally, I am sticking with Ubuntu and possibly either Ubuntu phone, or I may get Firefox OS when it comes out. I hope Firefox ports Firefox for Android over to Ubuntu Phone, though. Canonical has built their own browser for it, and my concern is customization.

    • http://twitter.com/MCaudebec Maxim∑

      Please tell me how safari is less secure than firefox?

  • http://twitter.com/Stickhandling_ Stick

    Who cares.

    • trumpet444

      you clicked on the story, and read it

      • Guest

        I didn’t read it, I just saw the title and thought “Firefox? On iOS? Thanks to Apple that doesn’t happen!”

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000324950248 Kevin Schrader

        Doesn’t that mean you DO care? Cause if you didn’t care you wouldn’t even have clicked on this article -.-’

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    Good luck with that, Apple is as stubborn as a mule with their policy.

  • http://twitter.com/MaxHasADHD Max

    I use Crux Web Browser over others. Google chrome is well done, i just done like black and hate that you cant download files. Apple will never change their rules because they want everyone to use safari. They don’t want these other browsers but they cant reject them for no reason.

    • trumpet444

      You can download files with the Mercury Browser but you have to open the files through Mercury…… unless you’re jailbroken, of course

      • http://twitter.com/MaxHasADHD Max

        Ya, I dont like their app much. Like they have a reader button but it overlays the search text, it looks bad. Also i developed Crux:] So i would never change XD

  • http://www.facebook.com/dany.quirion Dany Quirion

    Who gives a fuck? we have google chrome

    • Damian W

      Chrome? No thank you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dany.quirion Dany Quirion

        Still the fastest browser :)

  • Tr1pTr0p

    In other words, they simply cannot compete with options that are already available. I’m not surprised really, as Firefox mobile OS is a joke (compared to serious contenders on the market) intended for cheap feature devices and the desktop browser wouldn’t even be taken seriously if it weren’t for the community and the massive number of addons and personalisation options.

    • bw00ds

      I disagree. I use Firefox on my desktop because I feel it is the best browsing experience for me. I tried Chrome and ditched it after trying it for two months. I cannot remember the specific reasons for discontinuing its use, but one was being very annoyed that it wouldn’t let you do Captchas. There were other reasons, but I’m not willing to run it again to remember all of them. It was speedy, but not that much more that Firefox is. As a matter of fact, I really cannot tell the difference. I suppose you can tell the difference when you have a slower processor, less RAM, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/MCaudebec Maxim∑

    I have used many android devices, and I have yet to find one that matches the performance of safari. Thats one thing you cannot degrade about iOS and its the browsing experience.

  • s0me

    i use chrome on ios, i would use firefox because i use it on my pc since 2005 and i love it

    • http://twitter.com/digitalfeind Dani Hayes

      I like safari on my iPhone. I also use Puffin and Skyfire for my iPad. On my computers, it’s Firefox all the way. I would like to see Firefox on iOS.

  • SteveScatJobs

    All I know is the Puffin browser is by far the fastest browser in loading web pages and at the Sunspider 9.1 JavaScript benchmark 364.1ms vs Safari’s 904.2ms.

    • bw00ds

      Thanks for mentioning Puffin. I’ve never heard of it before so I downloaded it and it is great! You are right–it is super fast. And it has so many innovations like emulating a mouse pad and playing Flash content! Thanks!

  • pauleebe

    Firefox loses out here … they’re quite arrogant considering their browser is just meh, and Safari and Chrome more than handle the job on iOS

  • http://twitter.com/El_Barto_01 El Barto

    So many other browsers. Just ain’t that much interest unless they have a killer feature which I doubt.

  • http://twitter.com/rud0lf77 rud0lf77

    Firefox is crap anyways, Chrome has won long time ago.

    • Damian W

      Safari on mountain lion is the king

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=829245704 Matthew Cleveland

    I highly doubt Apple is going to change it’s policy to satisfy a competitor. People aren’t going to switch to iOS just because Firefox is available.

  • http://twitter.com/IBLeeDSWaGGa Juan Herrera

    Yeah i use chrome now and its ok. I prefer firefox on my macbook and would definitely use it if it were on iOS

  • MagicDrumSticks

    Nobody cares about Firefox anymore. “The door is that way”

  • http://twitter.com/altrejo Atrejo

    I was so worried to have Firefox on my iPhone…

  • Jaye

    I don’t like Firefox on my laptop, wouldn’t bother to install it on my phone. Google Chrome and Safari, all the way.

  • sambuzzlight

    i was going to say safari and chrome are much better browser any way but the limitation thingy is pretty lame

  • AMB_07

    It is not a huge loss, I have Firefox on my GS3 and Nexus 7 and it’s not quite as stellar as the desktop version. At least that’s my opinion. For now people are better off with Safari (on iDevices of course, desktop version is garbage) and Chrome.

    Surprisingly the Opera Beta app on Android is pretty good and hopefully will bring great competition to the table if only they also release it on iOS.

  • notewar

    Dolphin browser anyone?

  • http://twitter.com/hydrophonics J. Rockwell

    Mercury Pro FTW! for iPad and iPhone

  • http://twitter.com/digitalfeind Dani Hayes

    Spamming an awful lot. So what makes Crux a better app for looking at web pages?? Looks like a safari clone browser.

  • Isa Altintas

    Safari is the most accesible for me on my iphone and ipad

    • http://twitter.com/2morebatteries AAAA

      I wonder why?

  • http://twitter.com/Dynomite232 Nino 0raham

    Apple is A Communist Company , Just like Communist New York, government tells YOU what to drink

  • Anon

    Well it’s a good thing we have ‘Chrome’ until things get worked out between the two.

  • felixtaf

    Btw, who is losing here? Apple or Firefox?

    • Damian W

      probably us…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dimitar-Gulenov/1741738699 Dimitar Gulenov

    Jailbreak tweak anyone?

  • http://twitter.com/craigkeller Craig Keller

    So the slowest, fattest, leakyest browser with the worst proprietary rendering engine isnt coming to ios? (Yea worse than IE nowadays)
    Hmmm… Maybe i was all wrong with this atheism thing.

  • Hyr3m

    On Win7(64) :
    Waterfox + Tab Mix Plus ftw. Nothing else can compare.
    Chrome is ok but lacks functionality.

    On iOS :
    I don’t use iOS anymore but Safari is a joke.

  • http://twitter.com/burlow burlow

    FF is losing out here, nobody cares why they aren’t coming to iOS – Chrome, puffin, atomic, dolphin, icab, and many more, all of them excellent.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eigenlaut Johannes Tripolt

    nitrous from cydia + chrome and you have one powerfull browser on ios – bye bye safari

  • http://twitter.com/Chindavon Chindavon

    Firefox has ZERO leverage here. Apple can care less if you don’t add FF to iOS. At the end of the day, there is only one company that will break and give in. Any guesses anyone?

  • alex card

    Firefox is the best, Mozilla have every right not to get dragged down by Apple. Arrogant ? … that’s Apple

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000324950248 Kevin Schrader

    What’s Apple’s loss if the people use other browsers more than Safari? Safari is free so I’d think Apple wouldn’t lose anything, right?

  • Joe Bobbins

    I use mercury web browser, a free app,

  • http://www.facebook.com/honeypots Loretta Hayre

    Yes I would use firefox have used it since day one and really love it’s features however apple needs to do what they should for us ipad users !!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/honeypots Loretta Hayre

    What is jailbreak ?..