Mozilla Says Firefox for iOS Not Happening Until Apple Opens Up


Speaking at a panel at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) moderated by CNET Senior Reporter Seth Rosenblatt, the vice president of Mozilla, Jay Sullivan, said Firefox will not make its way onto iOS devices until Apple changes its ways towards third party browsers:

Mozilla’s Firefox browser will have no place on Apple devices so long as Apple continues its unfriendly attitude toward third-party browsers, Jay Sullivan, vice president of product at Mozilla, said today.

The nonprofit Mozilla, which pulled Mozilla Firefox Home from Apple’s App Store in September 2012, is not currently building a version of its Firefox browser for iOS, nor does the company plan to…

The issue at stake is being able to use their own rendering and javascript engines on iOS, which Apple does not allow as part of its SDK. Existing third party browsers on iOS use Apple’s UIWebView component to render websites, whereas Safari uses its own faster Nitro rendering engine, which isn’t available to developers.

This is seen as an unfair advantage as Apple’s Safari will always be faster than third party iOS browsers. Sullivan told CNET these disadvantages means it feels it cannot build the Firefox browser it wants for iOS. The Verge points out Mozilla is facing similar issues with building a browser for the Microsoft Surface RT, as Win32 APIs restrict access for third party browsers as well.

Screen Shot 2013 03 09 at 10 14 48 PM

The Mozilla vice president also said Apple’s closed environment means users suffer; but when CNET panel moderator Rosenblatt asked the audience made up of primarily iOS users if they were ‘suffering’, only a few hands were raised.

The last app Mozilla had in the App Store was Firefox Home, a companion sync app for desktop users that debuted in the summer of 2010. Mozilla ended support for the app and pulled it last September from the App Store. The company last month announced it has plans to launch smartphones running its own Firefox OS.

Do you want to see Firefox for iOS? What browser are you primarily using now?

[via The Verge]


  • FragilityG4

    No big lose.

  • f1ght3r

    I prefer safari over Firefox or chrome anyways.

  • Anon

    Currently using iCabMobile and Chrome + Nitrous on my iPhone and iPad. iCabMobile + Nitrous destroys Safari when it comes to features, and now with the hack, matches it’s performance. Nitrous is a Cydia tweak that unlocks the “Nitro” javascript engine to be used in third-party apps.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Do you notice the phone’s significantly quicker for all the apps including Cydia’s? I have Accelerate installed on my phone (which I think just speeds up the graphics on the phone) but will gladly buy Nitrous if it will increase the speed even more or on the apps at least.

  • geoff

    on my mac I prefer firefox, I’d like to have an un-neutered firefox on my Iphone

  • iFone

    Whatever! Safari is still the best and in iOS 7 it’s going to get better

  • Mark

    Boohoo… Apple and MS don’t want to play with the Fox. I suppose they have a version for Virusdroid.
    hmmm…. need to work on that.

  • KJ

    Ya I ain’t sweating Firefox

  • Acer12345

    You’re trying too hard.

  • Mark


  • I do use firefox at work on my work pc but I tend to use Safari on my mac 99% of the time.

    I was even wary of firefox at work for a while when I fell victim to a drive-by download hack.

    Part of the problem with Firefox is instability and security holes like drive-by download exploits being reintroduced when they release a new version every week or so.

    They really need to stop releasing new “versions” every week and focus more of security and stability.

  • Firefoxsucks

    Firefox, I could not care less. Go away.

  • Applefanboy

    although your phone will get quicker yet it’ll make your phone’s battery drain like hell..

  • truthmatters

    why not say, why firefox isn’t happy with apple?

    Safari uses webkit… apple forces all web broswers on IOS to use webkit.

    Firefox uses geeko, and wants to see it open up to allow other browser engines like geeko. Why would firefox release a version just for apple, that uses an entirely different engine that is that different than safari? whats the point?