Firefox now automatically installs updates even when not running

Mozilla Foundation recently published Firefox 90.0 Beta release notes with one change that significantly improves user experience. Starting with version 89, Firefox will automatically update itself in the background, even when not running. According to Mozilla, it is a major change, especially for those who use Firefox infrequently. A new update mechanism will ensure you have the latest version installed with all new features and security improvements.

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Here is a description from the Bugzilla website:

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Until now, Firefox has only downloaded and installed updates when the user runs it. That means that users that use Firefox infrequently are often out-of-date. It also means that if they open Firefox again in response to a marketing campaign, they may not immediately get the features advertised. Background Update aims to address this problem by allowing updates to be downloaded and installed, even when the user does not run Firefox.

It is worth mentioning that the change applies only to Firefox on Windows because its mobile version uses completely different update mechanisms. As for macOS and Linux, Mozilla Foundation currently has no plan to bring background updates to those platforms.

With the new background update service, Firefox will check for new versions every seven hours. To prevent interrupting user experience, Firefox will check, download, and install updates only when the browser is not running. Besides, Mozilla allows disabling background updates in the settings or using the BackgroundAppUpdateFirefox policy.

The new update mechanism is now available in Firefox Nightly and slowly rolls out to Firefox Beta users. You can read more about background updates in Mozilla Firefox on Windows on the Bugzilla website.

In case you missed it, at the beginning of the month, Mozilla released a big update to Firefox 89 with a brand-new look "Proton" and tons of different changes. Learn what is new in Firefox 89 in a dedicated post.

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3 thoughts on “Firefox now automatically installs updates even when not running

  1. Dave

    So, correct me if I’m wrong… to disable these background updates I …

    1. Create a folder called “distribution” in “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\”.

    2. I creat a file on my desktop “policies.json”.

    3. I edit the policies.json and add the following

    {
    “policies”: {
    “BackgroundAppUpdate”: false
    }
    }

    4. Then I save it and move it into the new distribution folder I created.

    Reply
    1. Ren

      I am so sorry to all the people I recommended Firefox to over all these years. I disabled in registry but there is no reason we should have to edit any kind of config to stop updates.

      Reply
  2. Bob

    Well, I must update my Firefox – all the way from vers 69. I just spent several hours listing the things Mozilla has added since then which I find unacceptable. No telling how long it may take to straighten it all out; I already have many customizations in userChrome.css, userContent.css, & Policies.json.

    This is getting ridiculous. I just downloaded Vivaldi to try instead !

    MANY thanks for your TERRIFIC records and explanations of the changes made to these browsers – and everything else.

    Reply

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