Firefox Focus: What It Is and How to Use It

Use Firefox Focus to browse the web quickly and privately

Firefox Focus is a lightweight, open-source mobile web browser designed to protect your privacy online. Developed by the Mozilla team, the Focus browser simplifies your browsing experience by hiding distracting and intrusive web content.

This article is about the Firefox Focus mobile app for Android and iOS. The information applies to devices running Android 5.0 or later and iOS 9 or later.

What Is Firefox Focus?

By eliminating excessive tabs and blocking various types of online trackers, Firefox Focus separates itself from other popular browsers such as Google Chrome and Safari. Focus' core privacy and security features are the same across Android and iOS platforms. The same goes for page actions (sharing, copying, finding text) and URL autocompletion.

Some features, however, are only available on specific platforms. Android's version of Firefox Focus (built with Firefox Quantum's GeckoView engine) offers custom tabs, stealth mode, and the option to disable tracking protection (site exceptions).

Apple device owners have the option to use Firefox Focus as a standalone mobile web browser or as a content-blocker in Safari. You can launch Firefox Focus by giving Siri the appropriate voice command. If you own an iPhone X or later, enable Face or Touch ID to unlock the browser when it's in the background.

Firefox vs Firefox Focus

Although there is a mobile version of the Firefox browser, Firefox Focus is better optimized for mobile browsing. Thus, it's faster and takes up less space on your device. That said, it doesn't keep track of the sites you visit, which can be both a benefit and an inconvenience.

How to Customize Firefox Focus Browser Tracking

Choosing the types of trackers to block is one of the browser's primary features. You have the option to block ads and cookies as well as web fonts and JavaScript.

To access and select your privacy and security settings in Firefox Focus, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the three dots in the top-right corner of Firefox Focus.

    For iOS devices, tap the settings gear in the top-right corner, then skip to step 3.

  2. Tap Settings in the drop-down menu.

  3. Tap Privacy & Security.

    Privacy and Security in settings
  4. Tap the toggle switch next to the tracking options you wish to enable.

    Blocking everything can affect how some websites render on your device's screen.

  5. Scroll down and tap Block cookies.

  6. Tap one of the cookies options when the dialog box appears.

    Block cookies options

How to Erase Your Browsing History in Firefox Focus

You can quickly delete your browsing history with a couple of taps:

  1. Tap the trashcan icon in the lower-right corner of the app.

  2. Tap Erase browsing history.

  3. You can also erase your browsing history from your notification panel when Firefox Focus is running.

    Erasing browsing history in Firefox

How to Turn On URL Autocomplete in Firefox Focus

URL autocomplete is another feature designed to ensure your browsing experience is fluid and hassle-free. There are over 400 popular sites added to the browser's default list, and you have the option to add your own URLs as well.

  1. Open the Settings menu and tap Search.

  2. Tap URL Autocomplete.

  3. Tap the toggle switches next to For Top Sites and For Sites You Add to enable them, then tap Manage Sites to add your own URLs.

    URL Autocomplete options

How to Make Firefox Focus Your Default Browser

With Firefox Focus set as your default browser, you can open links inside supported applications. The browser will blocks trackers while maintaining the theme and colors of the app you're using.

  1. Tap the three dots in the top-right corner, and then tap Settings.

  2. Tap General.

  3. Tap the switches next to Make Firefox Focus the default browser and Switch to link in new tab immediately to enable them.

    General settings in Firefox
  4. Tap a link inside an app you're using. The page will load inside the app using Firefox Focus to block trackers.

  5. Tap the three dots to the right of the web address to view how many trackers got blocked.

    The "Trackers blocked" info in Firefox

How to Enable Stealth Mode in Firefox Focus on Android

Stealth mode hides the webpage that's visible while in overview mode. If you share your device, you can be sure that nobody will see the site you were browsing. From Settings, tap Privacy & Security and tap the switch next to Stealth to enable it. When in overview mode, the webpage that was open in Firefox Focus will now be blank.

Turning on Stealth Mode in Firefox

How to Add Site Exceptions to Firefox Focus on Android

If you find that specific sites you browse don't function properly, you can stop Firefox Focus from blocking trackers.

  1. Navigate to the website you want to add an exception for and tap the three dots in the top-right corner.

  2. Tap the switch under Trackers Blocked to disable tracking protection. This automatically adds the site to your exceptions list.

    Turning off the tracker blocking in Firefox
  3. With the three dot menu expanded, tap Settings.

  4. Tap Privacy & Security.

  5. Tap Exceptions to manage your list of sites.

    If Exceptions is greyed out, then you don't have any sites added yet.

    Exceptions in Firefox settings

How to Use Firefox Focus to Block Trackers When Browsing With Safari on iOS

You can utilize Firefox Focus' tracker blocking while still using the iPhone's own web browser. To enable Firefox Focus as a content blocker for Safari, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.

  2. Tap Safari.

  3. Scroll down and tap Content Blockers.

  4. Tap the switch for Firefox Focus to enable it.

    Turning on Firefox Focus in iPhone Settings
  5. Open Firefox Focus, then tap the settings gear in the lower-right corner.

  6. Tap the switch for Safari, then close the Firefox Focus app.

    Activating Safari in Firefox Focus

How to Use Biometrics to Unlock Firefox Focus on iPhone

For additional privacy, turn on Face or Touch ID to lock Firefox Focus when switching apps. To do so, tap the settings gear and then the switch next to Use Face ID (or Touch ID) to unlock app.

Activating Face ID for Firefox Focus
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