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Phones

Why I switched to Firefox on my iPhone

It all starts with Night Mode.

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I generally use Apple hardware and Google software. I use Chrome for my iPhone browsing needs, for example, but that has changed recently. I've dropped Chrome not for Apple's Safari but a surprise contender -- Firefox. At least at night.

Nighttime screen dimmer

With Firefox 8.0 for iOS, Mozilla has added Night Mode that makes bedtime browsing easier on the eyes. Night Mode is easy to toggle on and off -- it's one of the options listed in the main menu when you tap the hamburger button at the bottom of your screen. It dims the display while you are using the app to ease the strain on your eyes. Close the app and you might want to shield your eyes; your iPhone will snap back into regular brightness mode that, in comparison, will appear like Very Bright Mode.

firefox-ios-night-mode

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Chrome's and Safari's iPhone apps lack such a screen-dimming feature, so Firefox has quickly become my evening mobile browser of choice. And I'm finding myself using it at other times of the day, too.

Firefox's Night Mode is a great addition to the browser, but it can be improved. It would be helpful to be able to control how much Night Mode dims your browser. Sure, I can swipe up for the Control Center to lower the brightness of my iPhone's screen further, but if I'm going to do that, then why bother with Firefox's Night Mode in the first place? I'd love a quick way to adjust the dimming effect of Firefox's Night Mode so I can dim it just a bit when sitting on my couch next to a lamp in the evening and then take it way down when lying in bed in a dark room.

What about iOS's Night Shift?

Night Shift is a global setting for your iOS device but it's different than Firefox's Night Mode. Night Shift warms the color temperature of your iPhone's display but doesn't dim the display. The combination of iOS's Night Shift and Firefox's Night Mode, in fact, is a great one-two punch for nighttime browsing, at least to my eyes.

Other Firefox 8.0 goodies

Firefox 8.0 for iOS also includes a new tab page that helpfully displays a grid of your recently visited sites, a useful spot for such things. It also includes a built-in QR code scanner, which Chrome for iOS also has and is useful for occasions when you stumble across a QR code, at least until the Camera app gets such scanning ability when iOS 11 is released in a couple months. 

I also like that in settings I can choose which search engine I want Firefox to use. So, instead of the default Yahoo selection, I can change it to Google. 

Lastly, Firefox 8.0 is fast, and its interface is clean and easy to navigate.