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Obscerno
New member
Status: Trending idea

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.

Long version:

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:

 

Spoiler
  1. I'm on a web page, and done with it
  2. I click on the url field to bring up the home screen so I can see my book marks (1 click on a big bar, adverse to 2 clicks for going to settings (small icon) then bookmarks (on a popup menu))
  3. I click on the next bookmark

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.

M-Reimer on Github:

 

Spoiler

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.

cartr on Github:

 

 

Spoiler

Let's say you currently have no tabs open, and you want to visit Wikipedia.

  1. Tap the Google top-sites icon. Whoops! That was the wrong one!
  2. No worries, happens to the best of us. Press the system back button to return to the new tab page.
  3. Tap the Wikipedia top-sites icon.

Expected behavior

You now have one tab open, with Wikipedia.

Actual behavior

You now have two tabs open, one with Google and one with Wikipedia.

hmorcali17 from support.mozilla.org:

Spoiler

Every time I click on my shortcuts, a new tab opens. Opened tabs accumulate during the day and cause the browser to slow down.

bjoli on Github:

Spoiler

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.

CL-Young on reddit:

Spoiler
I usually switch between a few websites periodically, and they're in my shortcuts. I just realized it's opening a new tab every time I do this, so I end up having to close out of several tabs over time. Any way when. I use the shortcut on Firefox mobile it just loads that page I. The current tab?

Finally, Cheap-Skate has said a lot on the topic, but they summarized their use case on Github:

Spoiler

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.

 

103 Comments
miha96ac
New member

In the realm of browsing, a shift took place,
To Firefox on Android, I set my embrace.
But lo and behold, a behavior so queer,
Unveiling itself, filling me with sheer.

"Why?" I exclaimed, in utter surprise,
This bizarre quirk, before my eyes.
A reported issue, discovered with strife,
Existing for years, untouched by the rife.

Unfathomable it seemed, this confounding state,
A problem acknowledged, yet left to fate.
How could it persist, unresolved and untouched,
Leaving users perplexed, their patience clutched?

An absolute deal-breaker, this unwelcome sight,
Shattering illusions, casting shadows of blight.
With heavy heart, I must bid my adieu,
For Firefox's odd behavior, I can't construe.

LostAgain
Strollin' around

^^^

This really, really needs to be prioritised. It's extremely strange to have multiple tabs of the SAME WEBSITES accumulating because you're checking news or your regular forums through the day.

And having to remember to close only the tabs opened by shortcuts (but not other tabs!) is a mental burden heavier than scrambling to protect one's privacy in  Chrome.

shadowfax
New member

I agree, I think this should be changed to open the link in the current tab.

I really like Firefox on Desktop, it works very very well on Linux (Wayland), but this behavior of Firefox Mobile that keeps opening new tabs is confusing and I think it is unfruitful for our browser workflow.

shadowfax
New member

I agree, I think these icons should open the page in the current tab.

I think the actual behavior (that keeps opening duplicated tabs) is unfruitful for our browser workflow.

aguazales
New member

I agree. I set up firefox on android with ublock and bypass paywalls for my brother in law, and he STILL just asked me to switch him back to Chrome without adblocking because he didn’t like how many tabs kept accumulating every time he tapped a suggestion on the homepage.

aguazales
New member

I agree, this is counterintuitive and annoying. I set up firefox on android with ublock and bypass paywalls for my brother in law, and he STILL just asked me to switch him back to Chrome without adblocking because he didn’t like how many tabs kept accumulating every time he tapped a suggestion on the homepage.

moderndogs
New member

Would love to see this fixed!  The post made by OP is very articulate and wholly encapsulates the frustration with the user experience.  It is definitely not the expected behavior and makes managing ones tabs a somewhat frustrating experience, that grows slightly ever more so every time.  One thing about the Firefox brand is that it has always had associated with it, that it's users have more control over their browsing experience.   The ability to customize settings that are not available in other browsers has been a hallmark of its brand.  Please either fix this issue by having the links from the homepage open in the same tab, or by giving users the option to control the behavior.

Samaritan
New member

Desperately need this to be the new default-behavior. I recently made the switch from Chrome and this is my only gripe with Firefox on mobile, it's really frustrating.

ubermeisters
New member

I'm going back to brave, this is way too frustrating. This behavior shouldn't be like this.

CarlosGilberto
New member

3 long years and this nonsense behavior is still the same, so frustrating tbh!

pedroterrero
New member

I just signed up here to vote for this.

KristhianX
New member

I made a comment in this thread a year ago. I didn't want to use other browsers, so I spent some time searching for a workaround. I ended up creating an add-on to insert a toolbar with a home button and other useful buttons into allowed websites. You can get more information on how it works on the GitHub page: https://github.com/KristhianX/essential-buttons-toolbar

Feedback is welcome. Thanks!

Edit: Add-on name changed. Updated the link.

Dustman
New member

I just signed up here to vote for this!

PeterL_
New member

Firefox for desktop is my daily browser. This behavior is the only thing keeping me from using Firefox for Android as my daily browser. Every now and then I try to use Firefox for Android again, but this behavior is so frustrating. It is different from the regular mobile and desktop browsers.

Home page:

  1. On a site, tap the home button: Navigates to the homepage, but keeps the site open in the background. But the tab button shows "1 [tab open]". It looks like the homepage doesn't count as a tab....;
  2. Click on a favorite/top site on the homepage, the site opens in a new tab.

Address bar:

  1. Tap the address bar and enter a URL: current tab is reused;
  2. Tap the address bar and select a favorite/top site: a new tab is opened.

This is so counterintuitive...

Kaoxt
Making moves

I don't understand why this behavior is for Android only. It's different and correct on iOS