Mozilla Firefox is one of the most popular browsers among Mac users. Not only it is free to download and use, but it has acquired lots of useful functionality over time. However, more and more users report about browser running slow work, freeze-ups, etc. So, why is Firefox running slow on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or iMac? What are the typical problems faced by Mac users?

firefox on mac

Page load delays, unexpected crashes, pinwheel cursor are just a few annoying Firefox issues. The only effective way of dealing with these problems is force-quitting the web browser. Browser crashes may be quite disappointing especially if you’re in the middle of something important. So, what’s making Firefox crash?

Here are just a few possible explanations:

  • Websites using JavaScript, Adobe Flash or Adobe Reader plugins can lead to Firefox freeze-ups.
  • Keeping too many Firefox windows and tabs open at the same time.
  • Memory-intensive apps don’t leave Firefox a chance to process user requests.
  • The current Firefox and macOS versions need updating.
  • Piled up browsing histories, caches, and downloads.
  • Slow Mac performance is leading to Firefox malfunctions.

How to Use Firefox Performance Settings?

The latest version of Mozilla Firefox has an option to implement the settings that work best for a particular computer. To alter the Firefox preferences, do the following:

  1. Click the burger menu button -> select ‘Options.’
  2. Access the General panel -> go down to the ‘Performance’
  3. Deselect Use recommended performance settings

After that, users have two options:

  • Use hardware acceleration when available

Firefox can process graphics-heavy web content using the resources of the computer’s graphics processor instead of the CPU. This way, it is possible to release the processor’s resources for running other apps faster. By default, this box is checked. However, this feature doesn’t work for all graphics processors. Restart Firefox, for changes to take effect.

  • Content process limit

In the latest versions of Firefox, the multiple content processes feature runs web content separately from the main process for all tabs. The multiprocess increases Firefox performance and minimizes the impact of crashes. The recommended maximum of operations is four, but you can raise the limit to seven.

How to Get Firefox for Mac Run Faster?

How can you speed up Mozilla Firefox on MacBook Pro / Air, Mac mini / iMac? What should you do if it fails to respond to any of your actions?

  • Force-quit Firefox if it becomes unresponsive

In case your Mac machine freezes up and becomes unresponsive, a hard reboot may be the only way to deal with the issue. To perform a hard reboot, just press down the Power button and hold it for three-five seconds, then press it once more to reboot your Mac computer.

  • Learn the current Firefox version

Launch Firefox->click Firefox icon-> go to “About Firefox”. Next, a new window will show up providing the information about the current Firefox version used on the device. If it’s out-of-date, update to the latest one.

  • Clear Firefox Browsing Data

Clear Now button

    1. To purge your Firefox browsing history, go to “History” in Mozilla Firefox toolbar.
    2. Choose “Clear Recent History…”
    3. Once the window with cleaning options, select “Everything” from the drop-down menu.
    4. Mark all checkboxes next to the available options.
    5. Hit the “Clear Now” button to finalize.
      • Disable/delete unnecessary add-ons and plugins

Without a doubt, add-ons and extensions enhance web browsing experience, but at the same time lead to browser crashes. Users should keep the installed add-ons up-to-date or remove/disable the ones causing trouble.

        1. Access Mozilla Firefox main menu.
        2. Go to Add-ons Manager -> choose “Extensions,” “Appearance” or “Plugins.”
        3. Disable/Remove a specific add-on or plugin.
        4. Restart Firefox.

Running Firefox in Safe Mode allows loading the browser without add-ons and plugins to identify the culprit causing crashes.

Firefox in Safe ModeFirefox add-ons

      • Clean up your Mac hard drive

One of the reasons why Firefox may get slow or unresponsive is lack of storage space on your Mac’s hard drive. Depending on the Mac OS version, users have three ways of dealing with this issue: manual cleanup, using inbuilt utilities and third-party cleaning apps. Users of macOS Sierra and High Sierra can reclaim significant disk space with Optimized Storage toolkit. Storing important files in iCloud will help to free up the precious space on Mac’s internal drive.

As for the third-party cleaning utilities, they can help in removing system junk, temporary files, caches, uninstalling apps, and residual data. Some cleaning apps offer users smart functionality for running a background system monitoring. Believe it or not, keeping a Mac clean and healthy as possible without extra user involvement! Tuning up the overall Mac performance helps applications like Firefox run headache-free.

      • Adopt healthy browsing habits

To prevent Firefox from freeze-ups and slow performance, Mac users need to alter their browsing habits. Try putting the following simple rules into practice:

      1. Open one window at a time;
      2. quit the unneeded tabs with ‘heavy’ websites loading multiple ads automatically;
      3. avoid using Firefox together with other memory-intensive applications.
      • Monitor browser performance with Firefox Health Report

Firefox Health Report monitors web browser’s performance and stability over time. Thanks to data shared by Firefox users, Mozilla makes improvements to every next version of their browser. To use Health Report, make sure all the proper settings are switched on. Click the burger menu button  -> click help  icon -> select Firefox Health Report.

Users can share information about browser malfunctions and crashes to help Mozilla make improvements. For this:

      1. In the main menu choose Options-> access the Privacy & Security.
      2. Find Firefox Data Collection and Use section.
      3. Tick/Untick the ‘Allow Firefox to send technical and interaction data to Mozilla’
      4. Exit the about:preferences The changes will be saved automatically.

Firefox Data Collection

      • If nothing works, use a different web browser

Users have reported Firefox performance issues on specific Mac OS X versions, for instance, El Capitan. If something like this happens, switching to Chrome or Safari might be a good idea.

In Conclusion

Mozilla Firefox is one of the most popular web browsers among Mac users. However, it may experience slow work and crashes due to a number of reasons. To avoid any software-related trouble, Mac users should use the latest versions of macOS and Firefox. Getting rid of useless browsing data as well as cleaning Mac on a regular basis will prevent software malfunction. Using inbuilt macOS Sierra utilities or special third-party applications for Mac cleaning and maintenance will enhance overall system performance and prevent Firefox freeze-ups.

Makemacfast

We are a team of dedicated Mac users who happen to know a lot about Mac products. We all have technical background and know a lot about the majority of Mac problems and the ways to fix them.
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