Firefox Beta is the build for those who like a little bit of jeopardy, but who don’t want to risk everything by trying out Firefox Aurora, the early alpha build of Firefox. Firefox Beta gives you a sneak peek at the next version of Firefox six weeks ahead of its final release, offering a relatively stable build that’s not quite ready for primetime, but still pretty solid.

Whereas Firefox Aurora installs as a completely separate application alongside your existing Firefox installation, Firebox Beta will replace the stable build. Should you subsequently wish to go back to the safer version, you’ll need to manually download the stable version and install it over the top of the beta build.

Confirm which build you have by selecting About Firefox from the Firefox menu or button (it’s inside the Help menu if using the Firefox button).

Firefox 49 is now in the Beta channel. New features include:

- Reader Mode can now read articles out loud
- Improve overall performance on OS X systems without hardware acceleration
- Firefox Hello being decommissioned
- Improved appearance of anti-aliased OS X fonts
- Graphite2 font shaping is enabled by default
- Improve video performance on systems without hardware acceleration that support SSSE3 instruction set
- OS X users who did not originally install Firefox can now update it if they can provide administrator credentials
- Adjust the width and line spacing of Reader Mode text
- Saved HTTP logins will now be offered on HTTPS pages
- HTML5 audio and video improvements

Verdict

Version 48 includes enhanced protection against malware downloads and more.