Firefox macOS test build is far better for your battery life

Posted:
in Mac Software edited September 3
Firefox on macOS will soon be more beneficial to MacBook Air and MacBook Pro users who want to preserve battery life, with Nightly builds of the Mozilla-produced browser now requiring as little as a third of the power of the main public release to render web pages.




The Nightly version of Firefox, so-called because it is updated every night, is a testing and development release of the browser that sits between the Developer Edition and the public release. Improvements that are close to being used by normal users are pushed to Nightly in preparation, with one recent addition to the browser helping reduce power consumption for macOS users.

Highlighted by developer Henrik Skupin, users of Firefox Nightly on macOS will see a "huge decrease of its power usage by a factor of about 3x" when loading webpages. The change, which revolves around using CoreAnimation for rendering, cuts down on the amount of power required for the process.

According to data shared in Mozilla's bug ticketing system, accessing some webpages requires between 21 Watts and 30 Watts of power to render without CoreAnimation, with GPU power draws of between 10 Watts and 15 Watts. Under the Nightly build from September 1, the same test pages used 8 Watts and 7 Watts, with GPU usage down to 0.2 Watts for each.

While potentially beneficial to MacBook users, it isn't available for use on the main release of the browser yet, and it is unclear when the benefits will reach that release channel in the future. The inclusion in the Nightly build is a good sign that it could arrive soon, possibly as part of version 70 scheduled to arrive on October 22.

Tuesday's version 69 of the main Firefox release does bring some benefits to macOS users, with MacBook Pro users and those with dual graphics cards will see the browser switch to lower-powered GPUs more aggressively, cutting down on power usage. Also for macOS users, download progress for files is now visible within Finder.

The release's other changes include stronger privacy elements in Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) including blocking third-party tracking cookies and cryptominers by default, an enhanced Block Autoplay feature, and support for receiving multiple video codecs.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Has Windows enjoyed this level of optimization already, and this is a recent switch on macOS? Or is this optimization unique to macOS?

    I know CoreAnimation is Apple's. Developments like this are amazing to see, particularly for software that's largely been built one way to simplify cross-platform development.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,876administrator
    Has Windows enjoyed this level of optimization already, and this is a recent switch on macOS? Or is this optimization unique to macOS?

    I know CoreAnimation is Apple's. Developments like this are amazing to see, particularly for software that's largely been built one way to simplify cross-platform development.
    Little bit of both.
    racerhomie3Lightflyer
  • Reply 3 of 9
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,311member
    To each his own but for me Safari is all the browser I need or want. I used to have Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and a couple of others installed “just in case” but I’m down to just Safari now because it’s fast and just works. haven’t had a problem with any website in years now.
    racerhomie3
  • Reply 4 of 9
    lkrupp said:
    To each his own but for me Safari is all the browser I need or want. I used to have Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and a couple of others installed “just in case” but I’m down to just Safari now because it’s fast and just works. haven’t had a problem with any website in years now.
    I use Firefox as my primary browser because I'm a power abuser with quite a few extensions, like Cookie Autodelete, Privacy Badger, Popup Blocker, Enhancer for YouTube and a bunch of others, most of which are not available for Safari. Chrome has many of the same features, but the way they handle some things infuriates me, like reopening recently visited history items in a new tab.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    lkrupp said:
    To each his own but for me Safari is all the browser I need or want. I used to have Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and a couple of others installed “just in case” but I’m down to just Safari now because it’s fast and just works. haven’t had a problem with any website in years now.
    I will occasionally run into an issue with a web page where I cannot complete or submit a form for some reason in Safari, requiring me to complete the action in an alternative browser. I'd rather do this in Firefox than Google.
    JanNLbigpics
  • Reply 6 of 9
    JanNLJanNL Posts: 282member
    lkrupp said:
    To each his own but for me Safari is all the browser I need or want. I used to have Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and a couple of others installed “just in case” but I’m down to just Safari now because it’s fast and just works. haven’t had a problem with any website in years now.
    I will occasionally run into an issue with a web page where I cannot complete or submit a form for some reason in Safari, requiring me to complete the action in an alternative browser. I'd rather do this in Firefox than Google.
    Here the same. For example to look live TV from my provider on a Mac isn't possible in Safari (some obscure plug-in isn't working), so then I prefer Firefox.
  • Reply 7 of 9
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,379member
    JanNL said:
    lkrupp said:
    To each his own but for me Safari is all the browser I need or want. I used to have Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and a couple of others installed “just in case” but I’m down to just Safari now because it’s fast and just works. haven’t had a problem with any website in years now.
    I will occasionally run into an issue with a web page where I cannot complete or submit a form for some reason in Safari, requiring me to complete the action in an alternative browser. I'd rather do this in Firefox than Google.
    Here the same. For example to look live TV from my provider on a Mac isn't possible in Safari (some obscure plug-in isn't working), so then I prefer Firefox.
    Yup. I can't do money transfers from my Savings and Loan in Safari, Chrome brings down my system in hours from memory leaks and so I stay based in FF. As I mostly have for decades.  However there's a few things I can't do in FF either and have to go to Safari or Chrome. 
  • Reply 8 of 9

    The Nightly version of Firefox, so-called because it is updated every night, is a testing and development release of the browser that sits between the Developer Edition and the public release. Improvements that are close to being used by normal users are pushed to Nightly in preparation, with one recent addition to the browser helping reduce power consumption for macOS users.
    This isn't quite right. As far as I understand, as this has changed over the years, the order currently goes (from newest to oldest): 
    Nightly > Beta > Public 

    Developer Edition is a modified version of Beta that has additional tools for web developers and is intended for web development versus testing the browser itself.  It also uses a separate profile form the regular version so using them side by side is an option. 

    As of right now:
    Nightly is on 71.0a1
    Beta & Developer edition are on 70.0b3
    Public release is on 69

    EDIT: Just found newer info on the exact differences between Nightly/Developer/Beta, from the horse's mouth:

    Firefox channels
    Firefox is available in five channels.

    Firefox Nightly
    Each night we build Firefox from the latest code in mozilla-central. These builds are for Firefox developers or those who want to try out the very latest cutting edge features while they're still under active development.

    Firefox Developer Edition
    This is a version of Firefox tailored for developers. Every six weeks, we take the features in Firefox Nightly that are stable enough and create a new version of Firefox Developer Edition. We also add some extra fedatures for developers that are only available in this channel.

    Firefox Beta
    After spending six weeks in Firefox Developer Edition, we take the features that are stable enough, and create a new version of Firefox Beta. Firefox Beta builds are for Firefox enthusiasts to test what's destined to become the next released Firefox version.

    Firefox
    After stabilizing for another six weeks in Beta, we're ready to ship the new features to hundreds of millions of users in a new release version of Firefox.

    Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR)
    Firefox ESR is the long-term support edition of Firefox for desktop for use by organizations including schools, universities, businesses and others who need extended support for mass deployments.

    --
    source: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Firefox

    edited September 4 FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 9 of 9
    For myself:  I use Firefox when on my Windows lapop and Safari on my MacBook.
    I wish I could use Safari on both but Apple discontinued it on Windows a number of years ago.
    So now, on my MacBook I use Safari except when I need to access a bookmark or tab from my Windows laptop, then i jump over to FireFox.
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