Replacement for Firefox on Mac OS Sierra?
March 22, 2017 9:26 AM   Subscribe

I've been a Firefox loyalist for...way too long, honestly. Its performance is now dire. It hangs and I have to force quit on a regular basis. What, besides Safari, should I replace it with?

I have some secondary stuff I handle through Safari and I want to use Safari exclusively for that. So I need a replacement for Firefox that isn't Safari.

I've considered Chrome. However, I have some squeamishness about being even more in the Google ecosystem. But I'm on Gmail and Gcal now and do lots of my work through Google Docs, so perhaps I'm being silly in thinking that being on Chrome would allow for some next-level tracking?

Any other recs?
posted by rednikki to Computers & Internet (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can you not just switch your secondary stuff to firefox and start using Safari? That seems to be an unnecessary restriction and Firefox may be fine for limited stuff.
posted by Brockles at 9:37 AM on March 22, 2017


I prefer Chrome. You can use Chrome without logging in, that leaves it more or less inert. You can always use incognito mode if you're really sensitive.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:38 AM on March 22, 2017


Chrome is my primary and I have basically given up on Google not owning me in every way that Amazon does not, but Opera is a great browser (even if it updates with the frequency of an Adobe product, necessitating app restarts a lot) too.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:38 AM on March 22, 2017


Just curious, do you have any firefox extensions that could be degrading performance? My wife uses Firefox on her ca 2013 mac mini and while we occasionally need to restart it (like on the order of once a month) it seems to have acceptable performance.

Here's a page on managing your extensions and add ons if you need.
posted by rouftop at 9:49 AM on March 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


You could try Pale Moon. It is an offshoot of Firefox.
posted by H21 at 9:59 AM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


re: pale moon, oops, not ready for primetime for mac.
posted by H21 at 10:05 AM on March 22, 2017


You could always try using Chromium, which is just the open-source parts of Chrome. That said, you may find it doesn't do stuff you want like play videos and it's mostly aimed at developers and I'm not sure if there a stable channel build.
posted by GuyZero at 10:10 AM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


I kinda like Opera. I'd recommend giving it a whirl, see what you think. I've been running the dev builds as my second browser for a while and it's pretty good. I like the built-in ad blocking and VPN features.

That said, my primary browser is Chome. I use Firefox only when i need one particular extension, and then Opera whenever I'm feeling all "WTF Chome?". Oddly enough, I never use Safari on OSX/macOS.
posted by cgg at 10:13 AM on March 22, 2017


Chrome.
posted by kbanas at 10:30 AM on March 22, 2017


seconding rouftop re cleaning up firefox. An even simpler path is to delete your existing firefox and reinstall. Just make sure you get rid of the existing profiles (look in both user and system Library folders)
posted by cfraenkel at 10:53 AM on March 22, 2017


I use Firefox on Sierra and I haven't noticed any major issues with it. I suspect that commenters above suggesting a bad extension as the problem may be on the right path. I just checked my Firefox Health Report and the browser has been open 8 days without a restart.
posted by COD at 11:02 AM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


You could always try using Chromium, which is just the open-source parts of Chrome. That said, you may find it doesn't do stuff you want like play videos and it's mostly aimed at developers and I'm not sure if there a stable channel build.

Chromium is absolutely a full-featured, works for end-users browser. It is the browser I use every day.
posted by so fucking future at 11:21 AM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


Best answer: I too had problems with Firefox hanging and needing a forced restart. Checked the extensions and so forth - all good. It turns out that a tab that I kept open to a specific web page (rawstory.com, if it matters) was eating up memory and CPU and making a mess in general. If you routinely keep certain pages open in tabs, you might want to see if one or more of them is causing your problems.
posted by DrGail at 11:34 AM on March 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


Vivaldi is worth a look. I also second the recommendation for Opera -- their regular browser is great, but their Neon build has some really interesting interface elements.
posted by fifthpocket at 11:46 AM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


I've had remarkably bad luck with Chrome on MacOS. For some reason, after being open for a few hours with a bunch of tabs open, it kicks the kernel process up to 100% of CPU and makes life painful. I use Safari for browser number one, Firefox for things it doesn't work for (damn you, beIN sports), and I'm slowly taking to Vivaldi for everything else. I'm honestly not far from making Vivaldi my number one browser.
posted by General Malaise at 12:21 PM on March 22, 2017


A bit late, but I highly recommend Waterfox, which is a better 64-bit recompile of Firefox.
posted by tedious at 12:59 PM on March 22, 2017


That said, you may find it doesn't do stuff you want like play videos and it's mostly aimed at developers and I'm not sure if there a stable channel build.
Chromium is absolutely a full-featured, works for end-users browser. It is the browser I use every day.

Chromium is the stock car that Google bolts things onto to make Chrome. It's definitely a fully functional browser, but is missing a few bells, whistles & widgets. The main differences are:
  • Google Update
  • Flash Player (progressively being de-emphasized)
  • H.264, AAC and MP3 codecs
  • Restricted to extensions on the Google App Store
  • Statistics and crash reporting (optional)
Nothing's stopping you from installing extra components onto Chromium to build your own Chrome kit car, but it's all DIY.
GuyZero may be thinking of Chromium's dev channel releases, which, in order of stability, are Canary ➾ Dev ➾ Beta ➾ Stable. The Canary build can be installed in parallel with a regular installation, if you want to test life on the bleeding edge.
posted by zamboni at 1:13 PM on March 22, 2017


Waterfox appears to be Windows only.
posted by soelo at 1:53 PM on March 22, 2017


I use Vivaldi on my Mac. Works fine. Maybe a tiny it clunkier than Chrome, but then all browsers have their own idiosyncrasies.

Vivaldi uses Chrome extensions, most of which function perfectly. There's one (called Scroll To Top, or something) that crashes if you use its settings, but apart from that no problems.
posted by veedubya at 1:04 AM on March 23, 2017


Best answer: I also don't have any performance issues with Firefox on Sierra although I have had difficulties in the past.

Three things that I have found to help with this:

- Disable the Flash plugin - thats the #1 cause of Firefox problems, in the rare case you find a website that still needs flash, you can always open it in Chrome.
- Go to the plug-in check page and make sure everything else is up to date.
- Maybe once a year or so, clear out the web cache under Settings > Advanced > Network
posted by Lanark at 5:30 AM on March 23, 2017


I've been using the Adblock browser (on Android, not OS or PC) and I'm happy with it, but I don't know how it work on your system.
posted by epanalepsis at 6:01 AM on March 23, 2017


Before you do anything else, go to the about:support page and click on "Refresh Firefox". Blowing away everything can sometimes fix recalcitrant performance issues.

(You’ll have to type that link into the address bar I think.)
posted by pharm at 6:51 AM on March 23, 2017


I'm stuck in the chrome ecosystem, unfortunately. I moved from Safari a few years ago. If you're on a laptop, I suggest you figure out a way to move your online life to Safari. It's by far the best for mac laptops, performance-wise.
I've looked around for something that performs better than Chrome, and I haven't found anything, so far. After reading this thread I'm giving Vivaldi a spin though.
posted by svenni at 2:35 PM on March 23, 2017


I just visited the Waterfox home page and was offered a Mac download.

Downloaded and installed and it even uses your current Firefox profile. Seems pretty speedy at first glance.

I've found that Firefox benefits from an ad-blocker since it doesn't handle dozens of ads/trackers per page as well as Chrome (hmm, why is that?). I recommend uBlock Origin. Also if you depend heavily on Google Docs Chrome is the best choice.
posted by dweingart at 2:10 AM on March 24, 2017


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