Mozilla released Firefox version 115.0 on July 4, 2023. Along with several new improvements and modifications to the browser, we learned that this would be the last version of Firefox to support outdated operating systems. Computers running the following old operating systems will not be able to run the latest Firefox version going forward:
- Windows 7
- Windows 8
- Windows 8.1
- macOS 10.12
- macOS 10.13
- macOS 10.14
Microsoft ended support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 in January 2023, and Mozilla explains that “with no official support from Microsoft, maintaining Firefox for obsolete operating systems becomes costly for Mozilla and dangerous for users.”
MacOS users got a little more time; macOS 10.12 hasn’t been supported by Apple since 2019, macOS 10.13 not since 2020, and macOS 10.14 not since 2021. However, Apple cycles through operating systems quicker than Microsoft; Windows 7 released in 2009, while macOS 10.12 released in 2016.
Though many people think nostalgically of Firefox, reminded of their early days on the internet, Mozilla and its browser haven’t gone anywhere. In fact, it’s made a niche for itself as the more private alternative to Chrome and Chromium-based browsers.
Firefox is able to strip trackers out of website URLs, provides “total cookie protection,” and offers you a variety of browser protection severity levels for your need. Mozilla has also worked on other cybersecurity products, like Firefox Relay (which provides email “masks” you can use when something online asks for your email) and Mozilla VPN.
If you want to keep using Firefox on the operating systems listed above, you’ll need to use an Extended Support Release (ESR) version of the browser. Mozilla has support articles available for this process, but it basically means you’ll be staying on the 115.0 version even when Firefox moves on.
The ESR will be around until September 2024. After that, you need to move to a newer operating system and updated version of Firefox. The ESR is effective for those still relying on old devices, but it’s not ideal because it means you’re missing out on new protection features and updates. You may also have trouble using or navigating some websites while using it.