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Mozilla finds a way to tunnel Firefox into iOS

'Firefox experience' will play some low-key gigs in private beta

The Mozilla Foundation reckons it has found a way to sneak its Firefox browser into Apple's walled garden.

In a brief post the outfit acknowledges “we can’t bring the full Firefox experience and rendering engine to iOS due to the restrictions”.

“The restrictions” probably means Apple's insistence that only browsers using the WebKit rendering engine baked into iOS are permitted to run on iThings.

Mozilla's next point, that “we saw an opportunity with the latest improvements and tools in iOS 8 to begin development of a Firefox experience for iOS” is therefore probably a reference to the WKWebView API that gives developers a chance to hook into WebKit.

The Firefox dev team says it has been “... working hard on development of this new browser over the past few months … and are … preparing for a limited Firefox for iOS Beta soon.”

The team “would prefer to have a large, open beta, but we must work through the required development and release process to get a Firefox app tested on iOS to get it ready to share with the world.”

Mozilla and the Firefox team have previously expressed a desire to make sure the browser is available on as many platforms as humanly possible.

The outfit can certainly do better in mobile: Netmarketshare suggests it has 0.66 per cent of the market for mobile browsers.

Firefox has been available on Android since 2011, so it's had four years to make an impression. With iOS a distant number two to Android in mobile operating system market share, it's hard to see how an iOS version of Firefox is going to turn things around. ®

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