Is Iceraven the best Firefox mobile browser for Android?
About two years ago, Mozilla revealed plans to replace the then current version of its Firefox web browser for Android with a redesigned browser. The new browser would offer better performance and better web compatibility according to Mozilla because of its new framework it was based on.
It was called Firefox Preview during development and the migration from the classic version of Firefox for Android to the new Firefox for Android began in early 2020.
While the performance and web compatibility of the new Firefox was indeed better, Mozilla made a few design decisions that affected part of the old browser’s user base. The first was that the new Firefox only supported a limited number of add-ons. Mozilla chose add-ons from its recommended extensions program, including crowd favorites such as uBlock Origin.
Users who installed other add-ons in Firefox could no longer run them in the Android version. The Stable version does not currently offer any option to install all available add-ons. Mozilla introduced full add-on support in Nightly, a development version of Firefox, but management was complicated.
Another feature that Mozilla removed from the stable version of Firefox was support for about: config. This angered users who were using about: config to make configuration changes.
Iceraven is an open source fork of the new Firefox web browser for Android. It is based on the stable version of the browser and most of the functionality is the same as Firefox.
There are two basic differences between the two browsers, and these resolve both of the issues described above. When using Iceraven, you can access about: config as before. The feature works as before: type about: config in the browser’s address bar and you get the list of available settings that you can change as you like.
The second difference improves support for add-ons. Iceraven supports more add-ons; not all, as the system requires the use of a custom collection, but the list is much longer. Users can request the inclusion of add-ons if one is missing.
Not all of them will work, which is one of the main reasons Mozilla has disabled support for installing all add-ons in Firefox Stable for Android. Some won’t work because they can use specific desktop features, others won’t work because Firefox for Android still doesn’t support some features.
The main disadvantage of using Iceraven is that there are no “guarantees or guarantees of security or updates or even stability”. While this worked fine during extended testing, users may experience issues with the browser.
Iceraven’s support for about: config and other add-ons may be reason enough for Firefox users to give it a try. Installing Firefox Nightly for Android is an alternative, as it also supports both of these options; You just need to create your own collection of add-ons and embed it in the browser to extend extension support in the mobile browser.
Since both are considered experimental, it might be a question of which browser is best for your use cases. Iceraven is based on Firefox Stable, but it includes changes that may affect stability.
Now you: have you tried Iceraven? What browser do you use on Android?