These days web pages are littered with all kinds of tracking devices, silently recording your every move, then using that information to target you with unwanted advertising – and that’s just the legal stuff. Most web browsers now offer some form of privacy controls built-in, but Firefox Focus gives you two choices: you can browse using its built-in browser, or integrate its privacy controls into Safari.
Firefox Focus takes minimalism to a new level. Fire it up and you’re presented with a single search/URL bar, plus Settings button (see below). Searches are done using Google and there’s no multi-tab support. You have a single screen, with the barest minimum of controls (including an option to open the page in Safari or Firefox for iOS).
The app protects privacy using two different methods. The first is automatic – it’ll block any online trackers as you browse. The second allows you to manually remove all traces of your browsing session, from cookies and passwords to browser and search history, with a single tap of the prominently displayed ‘ERASE’ button.
The app also claims that "web pages may load faster by removing trackers" – even if they don’t load quicker, we noticed some ad-heavy sites were at least more responsive.
Choose Settings and you can fine-tune what’s blocked – ad, analytics and social trackers are blocked by default, other content trackers aren’t – you can flick this switch for maximum privacy, but be warned: some content like video may break. You can also try and boost performance by blocking web fonts, disallow anonymous data being sent to Mozilla plus add Safari integration, which enables you to integrate Firefox Focus’s tracker and web font blocking tools into Safari itself. And that may be its ultimate saving grace – the ability to add additional privacy controls to your default browser.
What's New in Version 3.1
This update adds support for the following new localizations: Albanian, Basque, Bengali, Breton, Burmese, Catalan, Hebrew, Icelandic, Irish, Kazakh, Korean, Lao, Lower Sorbian, Norwegian Bokmål, Norwegian Nynorsk, Persian, Portuguese (Portugal), Scottish Gaelic, Thai, Upper Sorbian.
A decent first effort at a privacy conscious browser (don't ask us why this is version 2.0), although Firefox Focus is probably of most use acting as a privacy blocker for Safari.