How to Update Firefox in Ubuntu Linux

This tutorial explains how to update the Firefox in Ubuntu. Learn how to upgrade the default shipped version of Firefox to the latest stable or developer version of the Firefox.

Accessing Internet through the older version of Firefox involves several security risks. Known security bugs in older version may lure hackers in breaking the system security. To minimize the security risk, Firefox should be kept up to date.

Firefox is the default browser in Ubuntu. When Ubuntu is installed, it also gets installed. Although the latest version of Firefox is used when the Ubuntu installation disk is compiled, still it should be updated just after the installation.

Firefox and Ubuntu both use the different update and release cycle. Due to this difference, you may get an older version of Firefox through the default installation.

Checking the installed version of Firefox

To check the installed version of Firefox, launch Firefox and click menu icon. From opened menu click Help and from the opened context menu click about Firefox.

firefox help option

In opened pop-up window, version information is displayed.

firefox vesion infomation

To confirm whether the installed version is the latest version or not, visit the following web page.

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/notes/

If the installed version is not the latest version, you can update it to the latest version by following the method explained below.

Updating the installed version of Firefox

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Firefox is installed as a core extension in Ubuntu. For easier management, Ubuntu automatically creates and configures necessary repositories for the core extensions. These repositories contain all necessary information that the Ubuntu needs to manage the core extensions.

There are two ways to update a core extension from these repositories: -

  1. Update entire system
  2. Update the extension individually

Updating entire system

When we perform a system update, all core extensions are get updated to their latest and stable version. Since Firefox is also a part of the core extensions, it also gets updated.

To perform a system update, connect the system with the Internet and run the following commands.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

First command synchronizes and updates all configured repositories. During this process, Ubuntu performs several essential tasks such as; checking whether all configured repositories are accessible or not, downloading and importing required public keys, comparing locally installed packages with remotely available packages to prepare a list of available updates, etc.

Software package management (adding/removing repository, installing/removing software, etc.) requires root privilege. The user account which we create during the installation has necessary privilege. Type the password of that account when it asks for the authentication.

sudo apt-get update

Second command pulls all available updates from the configured repositories and installs them.

sudo apt-get upgrade

If system is connected with a high speed Internet connection without data limit, this option should be your first choice.

Since this option updates all extensions and system packages collectively, it may consume a lot of data and time. If you have limited data in your Internet pack or have a slow Internet connection, do not use this option.

Once all updates are fetched and installed, reboot the system with the following command.

$reboot

reboot command

Although reboot is not required, but reboot is the easiest way to clean the packages cache and leftovers.

After restart, check Firefox version again to verify that it has been updated.

firefox updated

Updating Firefox individually

Due to any reasons (such as; slow Internet connection or low data balance) if you want to update only Firefox, use the following commands.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install --only-upgrade firefox

As explained above, first command synchronizes and updates all configured repositories.

Second command updates Firefox only.

apt-get update only firefox

Firefox version information does not update, until the package cache is cleared. To clean the package cache, either reboot the system or use the following command.

$sudo apt-get clean

apt-get clean

Once package cache is cleaned, check the Firefox version again to verify the update.

firefox updated

Installing and updating developer version

With the regular and stable versions, Firefox also releases the developer versions. Developer version contains the latest updates and features. Firefox provides these updates and features without testing, so these versions may contain bugs or may not work as expected.

If you are a regular user and use Firefox only for accessing the Internet, there is no need to use these versions. Developer version is only intended for administrators, programmers, security testers or developers those want to test their applications or programs with the new version.

By default, Ubuntu does not install and update the developer version. If you need this version for development purpose, use the following commands to install it.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-security/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install firefox

First command adds the repository for developer version.

Second command updates the repositories.

Third command installs the Firefox.

installing firefox developer version

That’s all for this tutorial. If you like this tutorial, please don’t forget to share it through your favorite social platform.

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