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Status: New idea

In Safari if you just opened a new tab (for example to view a picture from Reddit) and then hit the back button it would close the new tab and show the previously viewed tab. Example:

In Firefox the back button does nothing if there is nothing to go back to. I really wish this function was in Firefox.

Status changed to: New idea
Community Manager
Community Manager

Thanks for submitting an idea to the Mozilla Connect community! Your idea is now open to votes (aka kudos) and comments.

Strollin' around

I disagree with the user here.  I prefer to explicitly close any tab.  I do want the Back button (and keyboard equivalent) to do nothing if I'm at the beginning of a tab's history, prompting me to use the tab's Close button instead.

I believe the submitter's considered use-case (made clear in the video to which they linked) is perfectly common, but it is not universal.  I often open links in the background, never automatically switching to them and not always manually switching to them right away; this is another common use-case.  That may lead to whole other paths of web surfing, maybe unrelated to the originating page.  I also will often close the originating tab when I am done with it before starting to use the new tab(s), and what is the proposal for the back-button's behavior when the originating tab is closed?  (I'll address this again below.)

I think that I do understand the utility of the Idea, effectively treating that new tab as if it were a page opened in the same tab, part of the originating tab's history -- technically a branch of it, since presumably IF you moved on to other pages from the originating tab without closing this new one, this functionality in the new tab would still work the same way.  And I understand that it isn't always instantly obvious when a new tab opens; sometimes the graphics work is so fast and the appearance of a new tab in the tab bar is so small that it can be hard to even notice; I understand if the submitter feels that the Back button is the intuitive choice in those circumstances, rather than the new tab's Close button.  If you don't know you've gone to a new tab, then you also just don't know there's a new Close button and no use in the Back button, causing you to click the Back button (maybe even if it's greyed out, because you work quickly on muscle memory) and then the Close button -- two clicks instead of one, and extra mouse or finger movement.

So it's not all bad.  Yes, I'm helping make the submitter's case 🙂.  But I still have a different personal preference, which is to know when I've come to the end (well, beginning) of a tab's history, rather than risk not realizing that the tab has closed.  I prefer to continue to treat tabs as discrete entities, as I described above.

I'm willing to engage in conversation and be convinced to add a vote, though, so I'll continue to accept e-mail about this Idea.


If it is implemented as an option in settings or in a menu item, I have no objection.  I'm all about allowing flexibility and customization, giving choice to users 🙂.  Perhaps edit the original Idea proposal to reflect this?

Also, it may be trivial to some, but the question should still be addressed, whether to treat tabs opened in new or other windows the same way as tabs opened in the same window.  (Related:  In my FF desktop browser, a window closes automatically when its last tab closes.  I think this is default and unchangeable behavior; I didn't see any options in a very quick check of settings, so tell me if I'm wrong.  So just to explicitly cover the topic, if the submitter's Idea is implemented, then I believe that there is no need for anything to be done differently with respect to this fact.)

Also, please address the back-button's behavior when the originating tab is closed.  Does it do nothing?  Would that confuse users used to going back to a webpage?  Does it display a message like "The originating tab has been closed.  You can re-open it from your Recently Closed Tabs History if that option is enabled."?  Does it set focus to the next-most-recent tab (which I think is a bad option)?