I have installed a stable release of firefox. Now I want to automatically update it to current beta release.

When I click on Check for update available under 'Help' menu, it always updates to current stable release and not the beta release.

Can we somehow tweak firefox stable release, such that it updates to current beta release?

  • Is there an option to include betas in the auto update options? I don't have FF installed on this machine to check, but I seem to remember something like that option.
    – ChrisF
    Nov 15, 2010 at 13:56

5 Answers 5


Go to about:config and search for app.update.channel. Change this from release to beta.

  • changed the settings as above, but still the firefox is not updated to current beta (when I click on check for update from Help menu). Do we need to set any other option?
    – Anand
    Nov 15, 2010 at 14:12
  • There is an addon called Update Channel Selector that should do the trick. Go to tools, add-ons and search. (Or just install the beta seperately - they'll live happily together, share a profile and you can go back to 3.6.x if you need an add-on that is incompatible with 4.
    – bitslave
    Nov 15, 2010 at 14:56
  • This no longer applies. support.mozilla.com/en-US/questions/837315#answer-203401
    – Stephanie
    Jul 17, 2011 at 22:59

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Software_Update#Update_channels_-_Advanced has the answer:

Note that you cannot change channel using about:config. [...] Alternatively, you can edit the channel-prefs.js file with a text editor.

$ sudo vi /Applications/.../defaults/pref/channel-prefs.js
$ tail -1 /Applications/.../defaults/pref/channel-prefs.js
pref("app.update.channel", "beta");

That did the trick for me.


I got this to work by editing the channel-prefs.js file from the Firefox installation directory. For me the path was

C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\defaults\pref\channel-prefs.js


pref("app.update.channel", "release");


pref("app.update.channel", "beta");

If the tips above didn't work, all you need to do is manually download a Firefox beta from http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/all-beta.html and install it. You won't lose your profile, if you have betas and stables running side by side they will use the exact same profiles (just not simultaneously). This beta version will continue updating until it gets to a stable version, and if it stays on stable versions, just download the latest beta there again. :)

(If you have the beta installed next to the stable and you don't want the stable, you can safely delete the stable version, just make sure you're not deleting the same profile data the beta would use.)


Switching between channels isn't supported anymore according to https://support.mozilla.com/en-US/questions/837315#answer-203401

The right way now is simply to download the channel you want from http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/channel/ (or from https://nightly.mozilla.org/ for nighties).

Nightly and aurora builds install into their own folder, and coexist well with a beta or release build.

Beta and release builds default to the same location, so you'll need to choose a custom install for beta versions and change the install location if you want both available at the same time - otherwise you can switch between the two by installing one over the top of the other.

See How can I install both Firefox 3.6 and Firefox 4 beta? if you need to run both versions at the same time, otherwise, if you already have a Firefox window open, from any channel, trying to run a new firefox process of any version acts as a remote for the existing one instead - ie, it will open a new window attached to the existing Firefox.

As always, back up your profile often if you run prerelease versions, and consider using a dedicated profile for testing. See https://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Profiles for more information about Firefox profiles, including how to perform backups, manage profiles, etc.

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