Firefox 85 Ditches Flash and Boosts Privacy Protections

Firefox 85 Ditches Flash and Boosts Privacy Protections
Photo: LEON NEAL / Staff, Getty Images
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Do you hear that? It’s the last dying breaths of Adobe Flash, which might finally be rendered obsolete by Mozilla’s release of Firefox 85 on Tuesday.

Up until now, Firefox had been the last of the old guard to support Flash. Apple first dissed the software in 2010 by banning it from iPhones and then again in 2020 by refusing to support it with Safari 14, and Google and Microsoft both jettisoned it earlier this year with the releases of Chrome version 88 and Edge 88, respectively. Although the software was an early pioneer for gaming, video and animation on the web, Adobe had previously announced a long-term strategy to halt updates to and distribution of the Flash Player, encouraging creators to migrate any reliant content over to the more modern open formats.

In addition to some notable omissions, Firefox 85 has also added some interesting new features, including network partitioning that works to protect users from supercookie tracking by splitting the browser cache on a per-website basis.

“Over the years, trackers have been found storing user identifiers as supercookies in increasingly obscure parts of the browser, including in Flash storage, ETags, and HSTS flags,” Mozilla wrote in a blog post. “The changes we’re making in Firefox 85 greatly reduce the effectiveness of cache-based supercookies by eliminating a tracker’s ability to use them across websites.”

Other big additions include changes to how bookmarked pages are stored within the browser and an option to remove all saved credentials by clicking a single button, which could make life easier for users who share a computer or need to clear out their browser for privacy reasons.