Short version: unless the user has selected "New Tab", make home page links open in the same tab. Currently, they open in new tabs inconsistently and accumulate.
When you tap on the address bar, the home page pops up when you do. Since the address bar is meant to change the current tab, the links on the home page should open in the same tab, but they don't. Instead, they open in new tabs, which is confusing.
Fixing this is a very common suggestion and there's a constant churn of github issues popping up and being closed related to this. The canonical post is this one. Though it's technically about always associating the home page with a tab, all requests to open home page links in the same tab get closed as duplicates of it. I want to focus on the user experience with homepage links and tabs because I'm afraid that issue is being ignored based on its title.
Progress on this other issue is blocked, pending feedback on this. That issue is specifically about bookmarks on the home page, but I'd like to see this fixed for all home page links.
A similar issue has been tackled before successfully, though in the menu, not on the home page. I hope that the rest of the confusing behaviour can fixed be too! There is a lot of valuable feedback behind these links; I hope they help.
Thanks for your consideration.
Edit - for the reviewers: below I'm sharing use cases from around the web (non-exhaustive). Also, remember that your mobile app has 0.49% global market share, vs. 7.87% for the desktop. So 40 votes in this mixed forum is like 600 or something if you think about it... just sayin'. 🙃
r6squeegee, via rocketsroger on Github:
That use to open the new page in the existing tab, it doesn't anymore. If I go through that routine with 8 bookmarks I end up with 8 tabs.
In the "Pre-Fenix" Firefox on Android I used to surf through several news pages by tapping the address bar (which seems to work again since a few days in the Nightly which is at least a start), then selecting the first news site. Now I would open all interesting articles into new tabs and if I'm done with this site, I tap the address bar again and choose the next news site. At least I expect this second news site to now open in the current tab.
The current implementation always opens a new tab. If you tap the address bar and choose the exact same bookmark to open ten times in a row, then you have ten open tabs which all show the same website... Just silly. It should at least be possible to say "open websites from the Home screen in the current ab" in the preferences.
Let's say you currently have no tabs open, and you want to visit Wikipedia.
You now have one tab open, with Wikipedia.
You now have two tabs open, one with Google and one with Wikipedia.
hmorcali17 from support.mozilla.org:
Every time I click on my shortcuts, a new tab opens. Opened tabs accumulate during the day and cause the browser to slow down.
If I click the address bar I want to go to a different site in the current tab. Any most visited sites that show up should honour that.
Any action involving the address bar should open in the same tab. Unless I am on a desktop and holding [modifier of choice] when pressing return.
Finally, Cheap-Skate has said a lot on the topic, but they summarized their use case on Github:
I hate the current behavior. I think lots of other users do to.
I hate it because
It leads to tab clutter
(nearly) everything opens in a new tab, so I end up with many many new tabs which clutter my tabs tray, mess up my work flow, and waste my precious RAM. Often I want to re-use the current tab for a new URL, eg when I am glancing through a load of news sites. Every other browser allows me to re-use the current tab for a new URL. But Fenix does not.
It differs from all other browsers for no apparent reason
No other browser of which I am aware adopts the "incorrect" paradigm (open everything in a new tab). In particular, Firefox desktop behaves "correctly", everything on the Home screen opens in the current tab unless I request otherwise.
It makes no sense for Firefox Mobile to behave differently to Firefox Desktop (and Chrome, and Samsung Internet, and Brave, and etc etc etc) in this important regard.
It is confusing
Firefox Mobile has a New Tab button which doesn't open a new tab. It takes you to the Home screen. Confusing. It has a Home button which does the same as the New Tab button. Confusing.
Tapping the Home button then typing a URL opens a new tab. Confusing, I tapped Home not New Tab. But tapping the URL then typing a URL does not open a new tab. Even though the Home screen is identical in both cases. There is no a priori way to tell what will happen after taking an action on the Home screen, it depends on how you got there (tapping Home or tapping the URL bar). Confusing.
I stopped using Firefox on Android for exactly this reason. It kept opening tabs for every little thing. It will be great if this gets fixed.
Auto-close previous tab when clicking on Homepage icon
As some may have shared their frustration before, I suggest to make Firefox mobile app close previously opened tab the moment you click on homepage icon just like in Chrome. That means, whenever you go back to default browser's homepage it will be replaced with its tab instead of adding as a new tab and requiring you to close previous tabs manually.
Currently we're limited to one day in "Close tabs", make it more customizable.
(Note: a similar idea has been merged into this thread)
This is the sole reason I'm not using Firefox on mobile, this "auto hoarding" of tabs is so incredibly frustrating.
This really annoys me with Firefox Mobile. #1 reason I'm considering switching away from it.
Yes! I constantly have a gazilion abandoned tabs open because I use the Home button a lot.
@JonWhat is the exact methodology behind Mozilla Connect? It feels really strange because ideas with much less kudos and comments being reffered for review. This one however after more than five monts is not.
This needs to be done. It's different from every other browser, including Firefox Desktop, and not in a good way. It just leads to the accumulation of unwanted tabs.
This is intentional? Why? No other browser, including Firefox desktop, does this. Why is there not a setting to turn this off? It just leads to spam clutter. If I click on the url bar of course I want the tab to go to a different site.
I recently switched to Firefox mobile, but I swear this issue is about to drive me mad. Literally every time I open my browser I have to close 3-4 tabs for absolutely no reason, and there is no option to turn off this "feature".