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About Android Firefox: keyboard shortcuts and input devices, user agent switch and more.

Making moves

The following message was submitted to some days ago, although I forgot to explicitly mention that I was speaking about Android Firefox -org.mozilla.firefox- in the first place. For this reason I am resubmitting the message, corrected and restructured, as it is here:

Dear Firefox development team,

I've been testing Android Firefox 121.1.0 lately, and I have to agree that it has improved a lot from what it was long ago. This, along with the now respectable amount of extensions Firefox has, makes it a more or less useable browser. However, before I pinpoint a few things which certainly need to improve or must change, bear in mind that Android is an operating system which, although it is primarily used in smartphones and tablets, it is also used in devices WITHOUT TOUCH SCREEN or without making use of touchscreens; do you understand? Examples of this are running Firefox in an Android TV box device (tested it in one) or in an Orange Pi 5, using an external keyboard with trackpad or a classic keyboard and mouse as input devices. This doesn't excludes using a keyboard and mouse in a smartphone or tablet, something which for testing purposes is also valid.
Having said the above:

In Android the secondary mouse button is assigned to the “back” navigation function by default in many devices; so, without touch screen the “right click” menu function has to be done with a long press with the left mouse button. This is fortunately working in Firefox (thank you!), but when I choose “open in a new tab” there's simply too little time to tap on the emerging notification to switch to the new tab (remember: no touch screen, and likely only a small or tiny trackpad or mouse pad to move the mouse pointer). What I mean with this is that moving the onscreen mouse pointer isn't a super snappy thing, and is perceptibly slower than moving a finger across the surface of a small screen. For this reason tab switching is way more hurdlesome (see the paragraph just below), something which wouldn't be much of an issue if Android Firefox were to support key combinations' input from keyboards, i.e. keyboard shortcuts.
As far as I have tested, though, Android Firefox is not designed to work with keyboards at all! This is a real shame, as you could grab the source code which makes this possible in desktop Firefox and use it with Android Firefox very easily. Please do so and/or implement keyboard shortcuts, and remember to think in terms of keyboard input or related input devices, without making any distinctions between internal (software) or external keyboards or input devices; what I mean to say is that shortcuts must work whether they are done in an external or in a software keyboard. This may sound strange, weird or unnecessary to say, but there is a reason to it: in the Android TV box I tested the system used the “Virtual.kcm” key character map file for external keyboards instead of the more appropiate “Generic.kcm” file, and also the only way to hide the onscreen keyboard was to install a null software keyboard like Null Keyboard -com.wparam.nullkeyboard- or External Keyboard Helper -com.apedroid.hwkeyboardhelper-. Looks like the morons who made its firmware couldn't realize that its users would sooner or later going to plug an external keyboard to the box.
Keyboard shortcuts which Android Firefox should work with are documented in many places; there's a useful example at 47 Keyboard Shortcuts That Work in All Web Browsers @ How-To Geek and a slightly more detailed one at I hope you get the idea; and please also add a Ctrl + Esc key shortcut to open the browser's menu if you don't mind
Certain onscreen keyboards feature control or special keys, keyboards like Hacker's Keyboard -org.pocketworkstation.pckeyboard- or Unexpected Keyboard -juloo.keyboard2-; keyboard shortcuts may also be tested with them to the extent it is possible.

Being able to switch the tab view between list and grid arrangements is nice, BUT the browser does not feature a list of small tabs on top from which I can select with a click or tap, so it's A LOT harder to switch between tabs when you are using a mousepad or a mouse, as having to hold down the mouse button over the address bar while doing ample movements sideways is awkward. So, an option to have actual tabs on top of each opened page is REALLY welcome (besides the usual Ctrl + Tab and Ctrl + Shift + Tab shortcuts to go forward and backward among the tabs which must be implemented, of course).

About the user agent. I seriously suggest making the user agent switch (the “Desktop site” switch in the menu) a locking or latch on switch. There are certain sites (like which only work properly in desktop mode or with a desktop user agent (or else you get a @#$% mobile version), and when this happens having to engage the switch in the menu for each and every tab (which could be lots of tabs) is FU CKING ANNOYING. There's also people like me which browse in desktop mode or with desktop user agent by default, so for me not having a latch on switch or an intelligent switch which remembers the used setting per site is even more annoying. FIX THIS, please. In the meantime if you know of some browser extension to switch or customize the user agent please let me know.
Hint: a couple browsers which work well in this respect are Opera -com.opera.browser- and Kiwi -com.kiwibrowser.browser- with “Desktop mode by default” enabled in accessibility (for touchscreen-less systems/devices they are broken for other reason, though).

Last but not least, animations. Animations slow down the browser and hamper the user's experience. I know that Android OSes come with stupid animations enabled by default, but they can be disabled using Developer Options. In your browser there is no freaking choice, something which SUCKS BIG TIME. Do you get it? I hope so.

Kind regards,

P.S.: Every time I tap on this edit box (I am posting using my smartphone) or use the link button to input a link, the stupid code in this webpage scrolls up and I end up out of context, looking at the search bar instead of here. I don't think I need to  say that this is retarded and must be fixed. Thank you.

P.S.2: The “Subject” lenght is too small at just 100 characters maximum. 😒


Making moves

Every time I use a keyboard on my tablet, the lack of Ctrl-t and Ctrl-Tab is infuriating. It trips me up every single time.

Making moves

A lot of items here, but I'd certainly second keyboard shortcuts on AndroidOS. Using a tablet or even a phone plus bluetooth keyboard is a not-uncommon means of working. Although there are dozens of keyboard shortcuts, implementing only a handful of the most basic would go a long way toward usability (e.g., ctrl+L for address bar, ctrl+tab/ctrl+shift+tab for next/previous tab, ctrl+t for new tab, ctrl+w to close tab).

Making moves



@Barkuti wrote:


In Android the secondary mouse button is assigned to the “back” navigation function by default…

Wellp, not true. I later discovered that only certain lame arse developed Android devices work this way. My smartphone works correctly with mouse input, for example. The problem is with devices which map the pressing of the secondary mouse button to the back function. This is a very serious issue, because as far as I know there's no way to reconfigure or fix this easily; the behaviour is in the Android kernel, so it requires recompiling and swapping the Android kernel (!!!). For empowered users or even developers running rooted devices this is a serious challenge (devs should be able to do it, but as an empowered user and I would require dev assistance to fix such a thing); for the average Joe, it's science fiction.

How incredibly wrong this is 😒 I can't help to say. I reported the issue on the Chrome/Chromium development forum too, as it is impossible to use Chromium browsers with a mouse in right-click to back flawed Android devices.


On the remaining matters, keyboard shortcuts are a must, of course.

And concerning the behaviour of Android Firefox when opening a new tab, it's disgusting; really disgusting. If I tell the browser to open a new tab, just open a new tab. Don't wait for the user to make a stupid search on the bar: OPEN A 🖕 BLANK NEW TAB!!!

The bookmarks manager is also terrible, awfully terrible. Makes me wonder if there are any actual developers behind this proyect; it may be being developed by a handful of trained monkeys smashing keyboards or something like this LMAO. Just joking, of course. 😇

Making moves

Support for keyboard shortcuts such as Ctrl+T, Ctrl+W, Ctrl+L/Alt+D, Ctrl+F, etc. is a huge QoL consideration when using tablets with physical keyboard attachments, as more and more people are doing.

I found these ideas related to this:

Could we maybe get some of these merged for better visibility?

I am alarmed that this is an issue in present day, especially on THE browser that is most renowned for user control. Until the developers catch up with reality, though, I'd at least be pleased if there were an extension I could add on that forces this behavior. Thank you for keeping this issue alive, as it damned well ought to be!

Making moves

Thanks everyone for contributing, namely seekified for gathering the bunch of related posts which pinpoint to this general issue.

I finally corrected the opening post, by the way, for whatever reason I thought this wasn't possible before. 🤦

P.S.: Power consumption of Firefox is very high since a bunch of versions ago, an absolutely critical issue for mobile users (for me it is unusable as it is now; I am posting this using Kiwi Browser).