* That Firefox for Android can render better than the aged native browser on Android 2.3, is great, but at the moment, I won't go into detail about that.
* This post is not about desktop Firefox. I might write about issues current in desktop Firefox in a future post.
Contents* What happened
* My phone is slow now.
* What to do. Extensions to speed up Firefox
Until today, I have avoided that "What I Use" post, but every once in a while comes a time, when I am not afraid to write about what I use. Even if it's not the newest kit.
Why I downgradedAfter Firefox 45.0 was released, one early and now resolved issue was connection misbehavior with Firefox 45.0 and NoScript 3.5a10. Very soon, NoScript 3.5a11 was released, which fixed the issue.
Then, after upgrading, I also discovered, that Firefox 45.0 turned to using the Firefox-native toolkit for its main menu, which is slower than the natively formatted main menu in Firefox 44.0.2 and earlier.
For this and then-the earlier issue, I decided to downgrade back to Firefox 44.0.2 from version 45.0. The slow and inefficient main menu became cause not to upgrade any further on my device—except for testing.
Note, that when upgrading or downgrading apps in Android, use the overwrite method when installing; Do not uninstall the existing app version to then install a different version, or this action will forever delete all your user data for the app.
BackroundThus, it slowly dawned on me, that my phone is showing its age. It's a Samsung Galaxy Mini 2, which model was released four years ago,[as of March 2016] but I got it in late 2013 as a pass-me-down, after it had two nearly grave misadventures with its previous owner.
* The Galaxy Mini 2 has an 800 MHz Snapdragon S1 CPU (specifically, MSM7227A), which is on the lower end of processors built on the ARMv7-A architecture, and uses the ARM Cortex A5 processor core.
* The phone runs Android 2.3.6 "Gingerbread", and won't be upgraded to a newer offical Android version.
* The device has just enough minimum required RAM memory to run Firefox for Android.
This soup of specifications essentially shows what the minimum for running a very modern version of Firefox for Android can be.
That major apps — such as Facebook and games — are not present, is a given. I've also excised other apps that I did not deem necessary anymore: BBC, ERR, Postimees, and a local service provider's player app.
What to doIn Firefox settings, disable telemetry and plugins. The Privacy Settings extension will make it simple to turn off other stuff.
Extensions to speed up FirefoxThe following details two extensions that I use in Firefox for Android to have a reasonably passable browsing experience.
The obvious solution was to forbid
postimees.eefrom running scripts, thus removing it from the allowed sites list. This mangled the design somewhat, but at least the site will display reasonably responsively. Yes, it's a simplistic workaround, but it makes it possible to read news there, even if the site is not functional. The functional part was the possibility to rate comments, but "Postimees" removed the ostensibly anonymous commenting functinality. Most people just don't care to create a burner account on social media, and neither do they care risking their primary social media/e-mail accounts.
Privacy SettingsAnother Firefox extension that reduces resource usage, is Privacy Settings. It's available at the Mozilla Add-ons site. With Privacy Settings, it's possible to switch off components that I don't have any need for. There are some settings that I have kept on, as switching all things to 'secure' may break rendering or accessing places like Instagram. While Privacy Settings won't work on older Firefox versions that can still run on Android 2.2 or earlier, or on ARMv6 CPUs, the extension's website has a breakdown of some of the
about:configsettings that one can modify manually.
I'm also considering the Policy Control extension, as it would reduce resource usage even further, and introduce more fine-grained control over which website can use which resources.