Silent Update not now prompt

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Silent Update: Updated workflow for users with incompatible add-ons
Stage Planning
Status In progress
Release target `
Health OK
Status note Other work has been prioritized ahead of this feature. This work is currently untargeted. Team met with UX to review use cases and the specs have been updated to reflect the latest plan. Feature page is ready for development.


Product manager Chris Lee
Directly Responsible Individual Lawrence Mandel
Lead engineer Robert Strong
Security lead `
Privacy lead `
Localization lead `
Accessibility lead `
QA lead Ioana Budnar
UX lead Alex Limi
Product marketing lead `
Operations lead `
Additional members `

Open issues/risks


Stage 1: Definition

1. Feature overview

Related to the Add-ons Compatibility Check feature, Firefox will need to carefully handle each user's experience differently depending on their add-on compatibility situation. We have carefully outlined the requirements here that determine how Firefox should work based on a user's scenario.

2. Users & use cases

Sandra is using Firefox to check her email and at the same time in the background, Firefox is being updated to the latest version. However, as Firefox runs through the installation process it also checks for add-ons compatibility and identifies two add-ons that are unsupported with the new version of Firefox.

Given there are incompatible add-ons, Firefox will not update Sandra to the latest version of Firefox and enter a 10 day grace period that will continue to check in the background if her incompatible add-ons become compatible.

There are a few things to note here:

  • If both add-ons become supported within the 10 day grace period and the Firefox update happens in the background successfully, Sandra will be able to continue to user Firefox as if nothing happened.
  • Sandra continues to have at least 1 incompatible add-on on the final day of the grace period and Firefox will prompt her to update at that point with some language "warning" language that her browser is not secure and she could be vulnerable to attacks. She has the option to "remind me later".
  • If she selects "remind me later", Firefox will defer for 10 additional days and on day 20, Firefox will automatically update her to the latest version and disable any add-ons that continued to be incompatible. Firefox informs her via the notification bar that certain add-ons were disabled due to a Firefox security update.

Things to note here -- the reason to go down the path of a "required" update is the following:

  • Based on our data, we have learned over time that 99% of active add-on developers update their add-ons to become compatible with the latest version of Firefox.
  • To reduce product fragmentation and user confusion, our goal is to offer the most secure, feature-rich and optimized browsing experience that continues to move the web forward. All Firefox users should be offered that opportunity and we're fully aware that certain add-on functionality is critical to users' workflow and will do our best to work with developers to stay updated.
  • Users will continue to have the option to turn off 'Updates' in general, but are encouraged to leave that checked so they have the best experience. Not only will we continue to innovate by delivering new features, but enhancements under the hood like memory reduction/performance/etc. will help create new experiences across the web.

3. Dependencies


4. Requirements

  • All users without Add-ons or have all compatible Add-ons are updated to the latest version of Firefox on release date
  • For users with 1 or more incompatible Add-ons, we will offer a 10-day grace period with no prompt to update Firefox (assuming this passes security review)
  • As Add-ons become compatible on subsequent days post release, users will auto update anytime within the 10-day grace period when all of their incompatible Add-ons become compatible
  • On the 10th day of the grace period if there are still incompatible Add-ons, we will prompt the user with the two options:
    • "Update now" -- We ask users to update now and inform them that their browser is insecure and they are more vulnerable to attacks. We will disable all incompatible add-ons (we will not remove them) at the time of updating.
    • "Remind me later" -- We will defer the update for 10 additional days and on day 20, we will update users automatically. However, we will notify users via the notification bar with the following message:
      • "For security reasons, Firefox has been upgraded, but certain add-ons have been disabled. Please contact the add-on authors for more info. [Link to add-ons manager]"
  • Some additional requirements we discussed:
    • In the preferences dialog under Advanced > Update, remove the "never check for updates" radio button option.
    • In the preferences dialog under Advanced > Update, remove the "Warn me if this will disable any of my add ons" check box. Now that we've moved to add-ons default to compatible, the only add-ons that will be incompatible are ones with binary components. This logic should be included in the 'recommended' update selection.
    • Create an add-on that allows users who want to have the option to disable the ability for Firefox check for updates.



Stage 2: Design

5. Functional specification


6. User experience design


Stage 3: Planning

7. Implementation plan


8. Reviews

Security review


Privacy review


Localization review




Quality Assurance review


Operations review


Stage 4: Development

9. Implementation


Stage 5: Release

10. Landing criteria


Feature details

Priority P1
Rank 1.1
Theme / Goal Experience
Roadmap Firefox Desktop
Secondary roadmap `
Feature list Desktop
Project Silent Update
Engineering team Desktop front-end

Team status notes

  status notes
Products ` `
Engineering ` `
Security sec-review-needed imelven is embedded here and should look at this first
Privacy ` `
Localization ` `
Accessibility ` `
Quality assurance In progress Test Plan
User experience ` `
Product marketing ` `
Operations ` `