Mozilla is finally simplifying its Firefox browser lineup on Android. For the past several months, there have been a variety of options for those who want to use Firefox on their phone, but it wasn’t always clear what the differences were.
To put it in perspective, Mozilla offered six different versions of the browser on Android: Firefox, Firefox Beta, Firefox Nightly, Firefox Preview, Firefox Preview Nightly and Firefox Focus (although Focus is a separate thing).
To be fair, Google also offers several versions of its Chrome browser on Android — Chrome, Chrome Beta, Chrome Dev and Chrome Canary. Microsoft actually seems to be one of the few companies doing it right and using the Play Store’s built-in beta function to power its Edge beta.
The main reason there are so many different Firefox browsers on the Play Store is that Mozilla is in the midst of completely rebuilding the browser. Because its new Firefox mobile browser is so experimental, Mozilla added a ‘Preview’ version to the Play Store. Later, it also added the ‘Preview Nightly’ variant — Mozilla’s Nightly browsers get very frequent updates and can have stability issues. Firefox Preview and Preview Nightly ran in parallel to original Firefox Beta and Nightly apps with the old design.
Mozilla is getting rid of some Firefox versions as it finishes the new browser
However, now that Mozilla’s new Firefox is nearly ready, the company has begun merging them and getting rid of the unnecessary apps. If you use Firefox Preview, you’re likely already aware of the change. The most recent update rebrands the app to Firefox Nightly and a new banner notes it will get nightly updates and “may be less stable.” Mozilla recommends switching to Firefox Beta for a more stable experience.
Likewise, the Firefox Preview Nightly app has been discontinued. A warning in the app tells users it won’t get updates anymore and suggests they switch to the new Firefox Nightly (previously Firefox Preview).
With those two out of the way, Mozilla will soon be back to the stable Firefox, Firefox Beta and Firefox Nightly (plus Focus, for those who enjoy that app instead). Further, a Mozilla employee noted in a GitHub comment that things will stay this way until the new Firefox’s user interface and extension support are finalized.
It all still sounds rather complicated, but here’s the basic breakdown. ‘Firefox Browser‘ is the current stable variant and sports the old UI with full extension support. ‘Firefox for Android Beta‘ sports the new UI and limited extension support and is relatively stable. Finally, ‘Firefox Nightly‘ is less stable and receives nightly updates and will be the first place changes to the new Firefox show up. Some of the other Firefox apps are still floating around the Play Store, but expect those to disappear in the coming days.