Magnifying gestures (APZ) on Firefox 94

I use Firefox on Windows desktop along with FF for Android.

(edit: I added info about another bug I found in the meantime, as well as some substantive corrections with possible solution)

Before last update, I happily magnify webpages using pinch gesture on my notebook, and the webpage was magnified the same way as if I press Ctrl+NumPlus or Ctrl+NumMinus - such state was achieved after a bit of tinkering in about:config, and I was happy until now.

Now I can see that FF uses several methods of magnifying.

  • New method (APZ), well-suited for touch screens
  • Old method, which magnifies in steps
  • Even older method - a variand of the second one, but leaves images as they are

After Firefox switched from the oldest method, I was using the second mentioned and I was happy. This way of magnifying still seems to be working fine when using Ctrl+NumPlus or Ctrl+MouseWheel, and it previously working by pinch the notebook touchpad or using emulated Ctrl+TouchpadGesture (depending of the touchpad). Nowadays I am struggling to configure it my way after the newest, “smooth” one was introduced during some updates.

Now I am fine with magnified content when I tried to zoom using Ctrl+NumPlus or Ctrl+MouseWheel, but I usually manage my interface using touchpad, which involves new, touchscreen-like way of magnifying, which my eyes don’t appreciate - at least on desktop, as I’m entirely fine with it on touch environment.

Why bother, you may ask?

The new way of magnifying is not designed well for desktop for several reasons.

  • It treats workspace as a canvas, and not as a document - hence, no way to fit page width on the screen.
  • It focuses on the actual place of the mouse pointer, hence not always covering all the important information if you can’t properly set the mouse.
  • It resets its behavior on every page (re)load.
  • It’s bugged, at least yet - try to magnify something using Ctrl+NumPlus and observe magnifying factor in the address bar, and try to pinch using touchpad in the meantime.
  • Sometimes it shows misalligned characters - the text is not unreadable, but the glitches are visible (see below).

And, on top of all the above points, I am struggling to use the webpages properly - especially when I need to put my mouse pointer in certain screen point.

While I understand that development of every software must go on, I was angry when I discovered my daily software does not work I expect - and I was even more when I struggled to achieve even this place in order to point my issues and make them visible for devs and community. While I am aware that many of you aren’t able to help me, let me know where else I can divert my issue so developers can hear me out.

What I would like to see is to make several separate accessibility options in settings which set the old (second mentioned above) way of magnifying for:

  • Touchpad pinch gestures - I was used to these before.
  • Touchpad two-finger (up and down) gestures with control - on older devices sometimes it was emulated as mouse wheel, sometimes it’s single finger on the side of the touchpad instead of two ones.
  • Touch screen gestures - I image it may be desired by some users as well.

Possible solution?

After I found the feature in the Gecko engine is called APZ, I’m on my way on finding how to revert back to the old mechanism. Right now I am able to do it temporarily by changing the apz.allow_zooming value in about:config, but after restart there’s no way of magnifying at all. Changing the layout.dynamic-reflow-roots.enabled value to true seems to fix it and revert to previous mechanism, but let me know if it is in fact a correct solution.

I hope someone sees this thread, as I was really pissed off when I realized the new way magnification gestures work on my system. Thanks for your patience if you’ve reached here and sorry for emotional approach.