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.

This screenshot makes you wonder what year it is. When did Mac OS X use these kinds of widgets and folder icons the last time?

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.

Firefox Preferences with text input fields, radio buttons and pop-up menus. Basically every single widget is wrong.

System Preferences & Widgets on macOS Sierra

System Preferences & Widgets on macOS

Here some other preferences and widgets. This is how buttons, op-pop-up menus, text fields should look like on macOS

Total Isolation

If I want to share anything I need to copy & paste it the old fashioned way on Firefox. On Safari I get the ubiquitous Sharing menu.

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.

Firefox: Icons in po-up menus? Yes it’s not Firefox’ fault entirely it’s the extensions, but they shouldn’t be allowed to do that.

On Safari even the system dictionary is integrated, and I can lookup words right there in the browser with a pop-up…

Trilingual dictionary at your fingertips. It’s there most other native apps support it…

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.

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