End of Firefox "Rapid Release" for 10.12-10.14

For those of us with machines running Sierra, High Sierra, and Mojave, note that Firefox 115.x is the last supported “Rapid Release” version of Firefox.

Firefox users on Sierra, High Sierra, and Mojave will be switched to version 115 ESR (Extended Support Release) by a future update, presumably when FF 116 comes out.

Firefox 115 ESR will be supported through September 2024.

(Windows 7/8.x also will receive the same treatment.)

With Chromium-based browsers dropping support for pre-Catalina systems, Firefox 115 ESR soon will be the last browser still getting security updates on these older systems.

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Thanks. I’m still running Sierra (on a 2011 MacBook Air). I’m OK with ESR releases, since they will still get security updates. But it is important to know that that’s what’s coming.

Sadly, their support will end in September 2024. So I’ll have to upgrade my hardware to get security updates after that point. :frowning:

A 2011 MacBook Air can run 10.13 High Sierra, which is still supported by Google Chrome, though that may stop before the Firefox ESR updates stop next year.

Or install Windows 10, Linux, or maybe ChromeOS Flex (it’s not on their certified list), then you can keep using the hardware with a supported OS and browser.

Very irritating - I switched to Firefox to address the lack of security updates for Safari under Mojave. I hate the thought of moving to Chrome as my regular browser.

Chrome will drop support for High Sierra and Mojave before Firefox drops support.

According to the Chrome release notes, support for High Sierra and Mojave ends with Chrome Release 117, expected in September/October 2023.

Firefox Extended Support Release support for Sierra through Mojave will continue until September 2024.

From the Chrome Release Notes:

Chrome 117 will no longer support macOS 10.13 and macOS 10.14, which are already outside of their support window with Apple. Users have to update their operating systems in order to continue running Chrome browser. Running on a supported operating system is essential to maintaining security. Starting in Chrome 114, you’ll see an infobar that reminds users that Chrome 117 will no longer support macOS 10.13 and macOS 10.14.

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It can, in theory, but High Sierra will convert my SSD to APFS and it has known bugs in that early deployment. When combined with the fact that I think the SSD may have issues (when I tried to enable File Vault, years ago, the encryption process never completed, even after several days - I ended up wiping and restoring from a backup to recover). So I don’t want to upgrade its OS.

I’ll end up getting a new Air some time before Firefox reaches EOL. Probably next summer, after next years’ models are announced. It will probably be the least expensive M2 model, upgraded to 16G RAM. Which should be more than enough for what I do with it - occasional MS Office work and web browsing around the house and when traveling.

The M1 would also be more than adequate for this, but I figure the newer CPU may give me a few more years before Apple and others drop support for it, and the $100 price difference isn’t a whole lot amortized over its expected lifespan.

When I installed High Sierra on my Mac Pro it converted the SSD from HFS+ to APFS. I did a clone backup using SuperDuper! to an external drive. I reformatted the internal SSD back to HFS+ then copied from the external back to the internal. I ran High Sierra using HFS+ without any issues.

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I’ve been running High Sierra on my 2011 MBP with its HD swapped to an SSD for years. I let it reformat my drive from HFS to APFS and I have gotten many more trouble free years out of it. Personally I think this model (8,1) was the pinnacle of Apple laptop design. Sturdy and reliable. Easily worked on with basic skills. Plenty of ports and still has a DVD drive. It lived through 8 years of use by 2 different teenagers in high school and has been schlepped around by me on vacation many times. I’ve debated switching it to Linux when all support finally ends. Sounds like this will be its last useful year unless I can get Linux going on it. I already tried to install Ubuntu but couldn’t get the Wi-Fi to work and reinstalled High Sierra.

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I did the same thing, although with Carbon Copy Cloner. It’s one of the reasons I am sticking with High Sierra where I can. You can run Mojave on HFS+ as well. You would want to have Mojave fully updated to the last version, I believe, before cloning it back to an HFS+ SSD.

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I’ve been running High Sierra since it came out on both my Mid-2011 iMac and MBA and both are still MacOS Extended Journeled. You are given the option for APFS or the older format. However, that was with hard drives so you may be stuck.

It has now happened. Worked quite smoothly. On my MBA running Sierra, Firefox’s About box (the place for manual updates) said it was going to upgrade me from 115.0.3 to 115.1.0esr.

I had to do the upgrade twice. The first time kept me at 115.0.3, but switched the installation to the ESR channel for updates. The second time upgraded it to 115.1.0esr.

It seems to be working well. Meanwhile, my other Mac (running Big Sur) auto-updated from 115.0.3 to 116.0.1.

Same experience here on at least one system (ie. double update for ESR 115.1). I do appreciate that Mozilla has simplified the transition to ESR, although they did have a minor bugfix in 115.0.2 or .3 just before to smooth out some kinks in the process.

The real pending tragedy is the lack of a security patched Firefox for 10.12-10.14 in summer 2024 (unless you use a 3rd party fork). There are a lot of perfectly functional systems out there, but more and more developers are being forced to increase the minimum supported macOS by Apple developer requirements.

More e-waste for the landfill from the eco-aware Apple. I really think they could keep a small team that pushes important security patches for certain milestone macOS versions. Microsoft ended Windows XP for special use in April 2019, clocking a total lifespan of over 17 and a half years. (Yeah, I know, it wasn’t really useful as a daily work OS in recent years, but still.)

The software giant on April 9, 2019, ended extended support for its for Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 OS, which was the last OS based on the Windows XP with SP3. Given the name, the operating system was aimed at Point of Service embedded applications and therefore was not intended for client computers. Meanwhile, the continuous support of Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 enabled some users to receive security updates on Windows XP Home and Professional SP3-based machines through the use of a registry hack.

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Agreed. I’m going to have to upgrade my 2011 MacBook Air (running 10.12 and could be upgraded to 10.13) at that time, even though it is still working great (admittedly, it’s now on its third battery). But this is a 12 year old computer. I really don’t think there are a lot of people like me using machines this old.

To be fair, Apple stopped supporting macOS 10.14 in October 2021 - two years ago (and had its last update in July 2021). macOS 10.12 ended support in September 2019 - four years ago.

I give them credit for keeping the app up to date until now. I suspect that new builds are using a system API that was introduced in macOS 10.15, which is the reason they are no longer supporting older versions.

As for keeping a team to maintain these old systems, that’s not a small cost. These teams will need to run tests to see whether new exploits affect those old builds. They will need to fix those old builds, and the fixes may not be a simple matter of back-porting fixes from later builds. And they need to test the releases.

Sure it can be done, but how many of their users will actually need it? They maintain usage stats (at least from everybody who checks the box to send usage statistics) about what app versions and OS versions are in use. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see how different macOS versions compare, because everything is dwarfed by Windows 7 and 10.

They need to define a cutoff somewhere, and any decision is going to upset some people. And it’s unreasonable to expect them to maintain support forever. I’m personally happy I got this much time out of my 12 year old computer.

The solution is one you hinted at already - a third-party fork. Years ago, when Firefox dropped support for PowerPC processors, a group of developers started producing TenFourFox, manually back-porting security patches and as many features as possible to the PowerPC G3/G4/G5 CPUs. They kept the platform viable for another 11 years before deciding to drop their maintenance.

Hopefully, there will be a group of volunteers willing to do the same for users of macOS 10.14 and older. But I don’t yet know of one.

Agreed. TenFourFox was a notable effort by a small team. It kept quite a number of PPC systems viable (albeit slowly) on the internet. The code gap became too great over time and they were fighting a losing battle.

And to be fair about my reference to the extended Windows XP lifespan, it was a ubiquitous OS found in numerous Point of Sale terminals and controllers for specialized or embedded systems. You cannot say that about any OS X version from Apple.

Some older Macs can still be redeployed with Linux distros, so landfill/e-waste is not always the only path. Just not easy.