4 Ways to Install Latest Firefox on Debian Stable [Tutorial]

5 min

Here’s how you can install the latest Firefox on the Debian Stable version (Debian 12 Bookworm).

Firefox is one of the most popular web browsers, known for its speed, security features, and customizability. If you are using Debian Stable and want to enjoy Firefox’s latest features and security enhancements, this guide will walk you through the installation process.

As per the established process, the Debian stable and testing version only features the Firefox ESR version (Extended Support Release). The Firefox ESR version is always a few releases behind than the latest Firefox version. Hence it is the most stable and secured Firefox version (primarily intended to deploy in large enterprise networks).

But if you are running Debian Stable on your personal machine, you may want to get the latest Firefox version with all new shiny features.

Latest Firefox in Debian Stable
Latest Firefox in Debian Stable

But installing it natively is a little tricky. In this tutorial, you will learn how to install the latest Firefox version in Debian stable via deb, Flatpak and Snap.

Debian “unstable” version usually has the latest version of Firefox. Don’t let the word “unstable” fool you. The Debian “unstable” contains packages which are “less” tested with all the package ecosystems, hence the name. Since the latest Firefox always lands in the “unstable” repo, you can install it with a few tweaks.

Install Latest Firefox on Debian Stable (Debian 12 Bookworm)

  • Firstly, we will add the “unstable” repo in the sources file to get the latest Firefox package. To do that, open the /etc/apt/sources.list file with any text editor or nano.
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
  • Then at the end, add the following line.
deb http://deb.debian.org/debian/ unstable main contrib non-free
  • Save and exit the editor (if you use nano, you can press CTRL+O and CTRL+X).
  • Secondly, modify apt not to install packages from unstable repo unless you instruct it by setting up a low apt pin priority.
  • Create a new file /etc/apt/preferences.d/ using nano or any text editor.
sudo nano /etc/apt/preferences.d/99firefox-unstable
  • Type the following lines in that file. Save and close the file.
Package: *
Pin: release a=stable
Pin-Priority: 900

Package: *
Pin: release a=unstable
Pin-Priority: 10
  • Now, open a terminal and install the latest Firefox from the unstable repo.
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -t unstable firefox
  • After the above command is complete, you should see the latest Firefox in your Debian stable system. Usually, two versions of Firefox can run fine in systems. But if you want, you can remove the ESR version using the command below.
sudo apt purge firefox-esr
apt sources file update
apt sources file update
You should see latest Firefox in Menu in Debian Xfce
You should see latest Firefox in Menu in Debian Xfce

Revert back to Firefox ESR

You may want to revert back to the stock Firefox-ESR version in Debian stable. Because, the latest Firefox may bring in additional packages which may create some dependency issues. In those cases, you always have the option to revert the above steps back. Here’s how.

Open the /etc/apt/preferences.d/99firefox-unstable file using any text editor such as nano.

sudo nano /etc/apt/preferences.d/99firefox-unstable

Modify the pin priority by changing stable to 1001 and unstable to -1 as shown below.

Package: *
Pin: release a=stable
Pin-Priority: 1001

Package: *
Pin release a=unstable
Pin-Priority: -1

Once done, save and close the file. And make sure you upgrade your system using the below command. This will bring up the Firefox-ESR once again.

sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade

Finally, remove the file /etc/apt/preferences.d/99firefox-unstable and remove the unstable line from the file /etc/apt/sources.list.

Install using Flatpak

If you do not want to with the above hassles and need a simple step, use Flatpak. First, set up your system to use Flatpak and Flathub in Debian.

sudo apt install flatpak

The using the following command to install the latest Firefox in Debian stable as Flatpak. This can co-exist with the ESR version.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Install using Snap

Similarly, if you want to use the Snap package format, you can install Firefox Snap in Debian stable using the below commands.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install snapd
sudo snap install firefox

Install using the official compressed download

Finally, you can always download the latest compressed & pre-compiled version from the official website.

After download, extract the files to your location of choice.

Then make sure you change the permission to the “firefox” folder to 755. For example, I have kept the extracted firefox in /home/arindam folder.

sudo chmod 755 /home/arindam/firefox

And create a .desktop file with the path to the icon and executable. You can use the below template. Save the file in /usr/share/applications/firefox-official.desktop location.

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Firefox (Official)
Comment=Browse the World Wide Web
Comment[bg]=Сърфиране в Мрежата
Comment[ca]=Navegueu per el web
Comment[cs]=Prohlížení stránek World Wide Webu
Comment[de]=Im Internet surfen
Comment[el]=Περιηγηθείτε στον παγκόσμιο ιστό
Comment[es]=Navegue por la web
Comment[fa]=صفحات شبکه جهانی اینترنت را مرور نمایید
Comment[fi]=Selaa Internetin WWW-sivuja
Comment[fr]=Navigue sur Internet
Comment[hu]=A világháló böngészése
Comment[it]=Esplora il web
Comment[ko]=웹을 돌아 다닙니다
Comment[nb]=Surf på nettet
Comment[nl]=Verken het internet
Comment[nn]=Surf på nettet
Comment[no]=Surf på nettet
Comment[pl]=Przeglądanie stron WWW 
Comment[pt]=Navegue na Internet
Comment[pt_BR]=Navegue na Internet
Comment[ru]=Обозреватель Всемирной Паутины
Comment[sk]=Prehliadanie internetu
Comment[sv]=Surfa på webben
GenericName=Web Browser
GenericName[bg]=Интернет браузър
GenericName[ca]=Navegador web
GenericName[cs]=Webový prohlížeč
GenericName[el]=Περιηγητής ιστού
GenericName[es]=Navegador web
GenericName[fa]=مرورگر اینترنتی
GenericName[fr]=Navigateur Web
GenericName[it]=Browser Web
GenericName[ko]=웹 브라우저
GenericName[pl]=Przeglądarka WWW
GenericName[pt]=Navegador Web
GenericName[pt_BR]=Navegador Web
GenericName[sk]=Internetový prehliadač
X-GNOME-FullName=Firefox Web Browser
X-GNOME-FullName[bg]=Интернет браузър (Firefox)
X-GNOME-FullName[ca]=Navegador web Firefox
X-GNOME-FullName[cs]=Firefox Webový prohlížeč
X-GNOME-FullName[el]=Περιηγήτης Ιστού Firefox
X-GNOME-FullName[es]=Navegador web Firefox
X-GNOME-FullName[fa]=مرورگر اینترنتی Firefox
X-GNOME-FullName[fr]=Navigateur Web Firefox
X-GNOME-FullName[hu]=Firefox webböngésző
X-GNOME-FullName[it]=Firefox Browser Web
X-GNOME-FullName[ja]=Firefox ウェブ・ブラウザ
X-GNOME-FullName[ko]=Firefox 웹 브라우저
X-GNOME-FullName[nb]=Firefox Nettleser
X-GNOME-FullName[nl]=Firefox webbrowser
X-GNOME-FullName[nn]=Firefox Nettlesar
X-GNOME-FullName[no]=Firefox Nettleser
X-GNOME-FullName[pl]=Przeglądarka WWW Firefox
X-GNOME-FullName[pt]=Firefox Navegador Web
X-GNOME-FullName[pt_BR]=Navegador Web Firefox
X-GNOME-FullName[ru]=Интернет-браузер Firefox
X-GNOME-FullName[sk]=Internetový prehliadač Firefox
X-GNOME-FullName[sv]=Webbläsaren Firefox
Exec=/home/arindam/firefox %u


I hope you have successfully installed the latest version of Firefox on your Debian Stable system using this guide. You can now enjoy a faster, more secure, and feature-rich browsing experience. Feel free to explore Firefox’s various settings and extensions to tailor the browser to your needs.


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