How to force Firefox to download mp3 files

23 February 2016

As an avid podcast listener I normally collect new mp3 files from RSS feeds in my browser of choice: Firefox (on Windows).

A few years ago Firefox suddenly stopped downloading mp3s when clicked and instead started playing them in an embedded audio player. I almost never want to listen to audio files this way.

Nothing in the basic settings UI seemed to offer any control over this, but googling turned up the following solution:

  1. Enter about:config in the address box
  2. Find media.directshow.enabled and set it to false
  3. Find media.windows-media-foundation.enabled and set it to false

This was effective until a recent update (version 44 I think), when some mp3 links began once again autoplaying using the embedded player. Not all mp3 links were affected for some reason, specific response headers being a factor perhaps.

Googling failed to turn up a fix this time, but I noticed that the media.windows-media-foundation.enabled config setting has been replaced with the abbreviated media.wmf.enabled toggle.

It's a shame the upgrade didn't preserve my user setting, but manually changing it to false means all of my mp3s are once again forced to download.

Posted by Julian on . Updated

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