The Waterfox browser has now moved to version 5.0.1 bringing along various updates to the Gecko based web browser. Changes plays along media, security and customisation at operating system level.
- Full-range color levels are now supported for video playback on many systems.
- Mac users can now access the macOS share options from the Waterfox File menu.
- Support for images containing ICC v4 profiles is enabled on macOS.
- Waterfox now supports the new AVIF image format, which is based on the modern and royalty-free AV1 video codec. It offers significant bandwidth savings for sites compared to existing image formats. It also supports transparency and other advanced features.
- Waterfox PDF viewer now supports filling more forms (e.g., XFA-based forms, used by multiple governments and banks).
- When available system memory is critically low, Waterfox on Windows will automatically unload tabs based on their last access time, memory usage, and other attributes. This helps to reduce Waterfox out-of-memory crashes. Forgot something? Switching to an unloaded tab automatically reloads it.
- To prevent session loss for macOS users who are running Waterfox from a mounted .dmg file, they’ll now be prompted to finish installation. Bear in mind, this permission prompt only appears the first time these users run Waterfox on their computer.
- Gecko introduces significant improvements in noise suppression and auto-gain-control, as well as slight improvements in echo-cancellation to provide you with a better overall experience.
- You can now toggle Narrate in ReaderMode with the keyboard shortcut “n.”
- You can now move the Picture-in-Picture toggle button to the opposite side of the video. Simply look for the new context menu option Move Picture-in-Picture Toggle to Left (Right) Side.
- Captions/subtitles display on YouTube, Prime Video, and Netflix videos you watch in Picture-in-Picture. Just turn on the subtitles on the in-page video player, and they will appear in PiP.
- Picture-in-Picture now also supports video captions on websites that use Web Video Text Track (WebVTT) format (e.g., Coursera.org, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and many more).
- HDR video is now supported in Waterfox on Mac—starting with YouTube! Waterfox users on macOS 11+ (with HDR-compatible screens) can enjoy higher-fidelity video content. No need to manually flip any preferences to turn HDR video support on—just make sure battery preferences are NOT set to “optimize video streaming while on battery”.
- Hardware-accelerated AV1 video decoding is enabled on Windows with supported GPUs (Intel Gen 11+, AMD RDNA 2 Excluding Navi 24, GeForce 30). Installing the AV1 Video Extension from the Microsoft Store may also be required.
- Reading is now easier with the prefers-contrast media query, which allows sites to detect if the user has requested that web content is presented with a higher (or lower) contrast.
- Waterfox can now automatically upgrade to HTTPS using HTTPS RR as Alt-Svc headers.
- Improved web compatibility for privacy protections with SmartBlock 3.0: In Private Browsing and Strict Tracking Protection, Waterfox goes to great lengths to protect your web browsing activity from trackers. As part of this, the built-in content blocking will automatically block third-party scripts, images, and other content from being loaded from cross-site tracking companies reported by Disconnect.
- Introducing a new referrer tracking protection in Strict Tracking Protection and Private Browsing. This feature prevents sites from unknowingly leaking private information to trackers.
- RLBox—a new technology that hardens Waterfox against potential security vulnerabilities in third-party libraries—is now enabled on all platforms.
- The Linux sandbox has been strengthened: processes exposed to web content no longer have access to the X Window system (X11).
- Waterfox now ignores less restricted referrer policies—including unsafe-url, no-referrer-when-downgrade, and origin-when-cross-origin—for cross-site subresource/iframe requests to prevent privacy leaks from the referrer.
Operating System Specific Changes
- Waterfox for macOS now uses Apple’s low-power mode for fullscreen video on sites such as YouTube and Twitch. This meaningfully extends battery life in long viewing sessions.
- Power users can use about:unloads to release system resources by manually unloading tabs without closing them.
- On Linux, improved WebGL performance and reduced power consumption for many users.
- To better protect all Waterfox users against side-channel attacks, such as Spectre, Gecko introduced Site Isolation.
- Waterfox supports the new Snap Layouts menus when running on Windows 11.
- Reduced CPU usage on macOS in Waterfox and WindowServer during event processing.
- Reduced the power usage of software decoded video on macOS, especially in fullscreen. This includes streaming sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
- Waterfox now supports and displays the new style of scrollbars on Windows 11.
- Video overlay is enabled on Windows for Intel GPUs, reducing power usage during video playback.
- Scrollbars on Linux and Windows 11 won’t take space by default. On Linux, users can change this in Settings. On Windows, Waterfox follows the system setting (System Settings > Accessibility > Visual Effects > Always show scrollbars).
- Waterfox now allows users to use as many microphones as they want, at the same time, during video conferencing. The most exciting benefit is that you can easily switch your microphones at any time (if your conferencing service provider enables this flexibility).