How to Activate GPU Hardware Acceleration on Firefox & Tor Browser

Nowadays, the main issue for the regular user of Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Debian, Arch, etc) is the lack of GPU Hardware Acceleration on Firefox and Tor Browser or any other one built upon the former. Well, I am not saying there is no support for the feature at all.

I am implying that you have to force activate it manually as it doesn't seem to work by default, I have no idea why but today we're going to learn how to force hardware acceleration and confirm that it's working as intended.

Anyway, even though this tutorial is mostly targeted at Linux users, it should apply the same for any other operating system including Windows and Mac OS X. Previously, by the way I wrote an article explaining how to activate GPU hardware acceleration on Chrome and Chromium browser.

How to Confirm Working GPU Hardware Acceleration

Of course, before you go playing with options here and there you should ensure that your browser does actually NOT have acceleration enabled. So, enter about:support into the address bar, and that will display for you the current stat of the GPU process.

GPU Hardware Acceleration Disabled

When there is no hardware acceleration, the result should be Soft Rendering which is something like this:

GPU Hardware Acceleration Enabled

In the other hand, if you see something like below which is in my case "OpenGL":

Then, this tutorial might not be of an use to you unless you're here to enrich your general technical knowledge. So, just make sure it's not "Basic" and that's it

How to Enable GPU Hardware Acceleration on Firefox

Now, this will require two conditions to be met as explained below.

Enable Acceleration in Firefox Preferences

First of all, you have make sure that hardware acceleration option is actually ticked from end-user settings. Navigate directly to about:preferences#advanced from address bar then Preferences → Advanced → Browsing and from there tick (Use hardware acceleration when available) on.

Override Software Rendering

Basically, this option will ignore the irrelevant GPU blacklist and force enable hardware acceleration, navigate to about:config from address bar and search for layers.acceleration.force-enabled then right click on that and toggle it to "True".

That's it! Relaunch your browser to take effect then follow instructions above to confirm that acceleration is working as intended and enjoy surfing the world wide web smoothly.

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