I really want to like Firefox, because I like that they’re an NPO, I like how they want to put the user and privacy first, but apart from that, they’re really not making it easy for Mac users to love their browser. Admittedly Firefox’ rendering with electrolysis is now quite zippy, but the UI is still very laggy on macOS. Opening a new window or tab, dragging a tab onto the screen to spawn a new window, resizing windows is noticeably slower than with any fully native macOS app.
Stranger in a Strange Land
But that’s not all, there’s the Firefox UI itself. Many widgets just scream “I don’t belong here” into the end users face.
Firefox Preferences & Widgets
All the widgets for forms are also from outer space, or at least not from macOS, because the Mac never even had any widgets that looked like this. It looks like one of the OS X themes you can get for Gnome desktops. It’s close, but oddly off in many ways. Not even the gray tone is correct – the uncanny valley of UI design.
System Preferences & Widgets on macOS Sierra
Also lack of any integration with System Services like the macOS dictionary (that comes with lots of dictionaries and thesauri for many languages) is what makes Mac users stick with Safari & Chrome.
Many a Little Makes a Muckle
And in the end it’s the accumulation of countless small annoyances each of which is rather minor, but it adds up to a level of aggravation that can make you throw in the towel and head off to other browsing shores.
For example dragging an image from a Firefox browser window to the desktop will put the downloaded image in a mostly random location on the desktop – not where the user has dragged it. It could end up exactly behind the current browser window and you would not see it. Wrongly assuming it wasn’t downloaded you’d drag it to the desktop again, and again… downloading the same image over and over without noticing that Firefox has just cluttered your desktop with copies of the same image, but behind your current browser window, not where you put it on your desktop. The list goes on an on what makes Firefox feel ever so slightly broken and alien on macOS.
On The Mac, Colour is Crucial
Many Mac users are creative people, for us exact colour representation is nothing to sneer at. So here’s the final reason I cannot use Firefox anymore: total lack of any support for wide gamut P3 colour profiles which makes all colours look garishly oversaturated when using Firefox on the latest iMac or MacBook Pros.
Here’s an example of colours on Safari (top) and Firefox (bottom). You’d probably think: hey the colours on Firefox look deeper and richer. Well that’s exactly how oversaturation works. They also look less natural. Here’s another example to better illustrate the point, Mozilla’s own website:
The colours in Firefox are so glary, they hurt my eyes. These are not the colours you’re looking for, and not the colours the designer intended to use. Why should I suffer discomfort browsing the web?
Running out of reasons for not ditching Firefox I went back to Safari. And to my own surprise I didn’t look back. With proper support for WebRTC in the next version, I’m thrilled how good life on Safari is. It’s zippy, uses less battery, is better integrated with the OS, and does what I need it to, without getting in my way. I also found out that favicons in browser tabs are quite overrated.