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Firefox’s biggest problem is rapacious battery draining. Unplug your charger and Safari feels like a dainty butterfly in a soft summer breeze, while Firefox thrashes around like a drunken Godzilla in mid-90s Tokyo.

The energy usage tab on the activity monitor consistently shows Firefox at a ~40 “score” (whatever that unit is), and Safari more around 4. Anecdotally, the difference in battery time is real.

This is the biggest reason to keep using Safari on Mac in battery mode. (Or Always Be Charging :) )

I hope they can ever fix this :( sounds pretty fundamental, but I know little.




As someone who has worked a bit on energy usage: it's a really, really hard problem, and the tools used to develop/optimize for energy are really, really bad.

Also, being cross-platform complicates things a lot: I'm certain that Safari has access to a number of libraries that are energy-efficient but exist only on macOS/iOS.

I have a vague hope that maybe the Rust community can find a way to somehow develop a standard benchmarking tool that takes into account energy use. This would help considerably on the front of refactoring Firefox towards better energy efficiency.


I switched over to Firefox for about 3 months. The following were dealbreakers for me and I switched back to Chrome:

- Battery draining...it's seriously really bad. Even if the app is just open on my MacBook, I go from ~8hours of battery to like ~2hrs. I travel a lot...it's untenable

- Performance is generally pretty good, but it never felt better than Chrome.

- At first CPU on streaming video (Twitch, YT, etc) was better on Firefox, but over time I got the infamous "fan spinning" and CPU churning issues.

- Site compatibility: about 10-15% of sites I would visit broke.

- Nitpick, but not deal breaker: icons on my bookmark toolbar didn't work consistently. I would save a bookmark and it would stick to some other site and I could never clear the cache to fix it. It also frequently used non-retina images.


I also observe the same problem with Firefox on Windows and Linux. I have an impression that their developers don't have any priority on the battery drain, instead they just measure speed, and don't want to investigate too much on reducing actual work done, even when, from the user perspective, we're "doing nothing" (e.g. just keeping the browser open on some pages). I know there are many sites today that have tracking codes etc that "always run" but it seems that it's an excuse not to investigate what the browser "always does" in all the scenarios when it should just do as little as possible. Also, different kind of "movement" on the pages (videos, animated gifs, sounds) all take more battery than the competition.

My measurements are that on some specific pages, even when I "do nothing" Firefox uses up to twice as much CPU. Luckily, it's not always twice as much battery drain, because even idle uses power. But it's definitely visible and measurable: from 3 hours of other browsers you'd probably have only 2 of Firefox.


> like a drunken Godzilla in mid-90s Tokyo.

You know you're old when you hear people making references to Godzilla in the 90s :-)


It is pretty fundamental. While Safari lacks features, it feels so much lighter and is noticeably less memory/CPU intensive. As a developer who needs every MB of memory, this makes me resort to Safari for pretty much everything. I'll occasionally use Firefox/Chrome when I really really need their superior webdev tools.


What tools in FF do you think are better than Chrome? Honestly, my computer is beefy (and firmly attached to a power source) enough that performance is rarely an issue with any browser, and Chrome dev tools seem to be superior in most ways, with the slight exception that it's harder to see what events are bound to an element, but the software I develop usually has fairly tight couplings so that feature isn't needed often.

I need someone to make a case that FF dev tools are better than Chrome, simply because without performance being an issue, I need confidence that switching would be a net productivity increase despite having to learn the slightly different tooling of the FF dev tools.


Well don't listen to me, my work is mainly backend. The only frontend work I do is restricted to side projects. But most frontend devs I know prefer Chrome. My personal preference to FireFox is paranoid me trying to avoid Google (but that's another topic).




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