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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
Unlogic
New member

I made a post on Twitter/X today see if anyone at Mozilla is following this issues:

https://x.com/Unlogic_se/status/1782380069492609405

Jon
Community Manager
Community Manager

@Unlogic thanks for surfacing - we're following the issues and posts here. I just reached out to the team to see if there are any updates on this particular issue. Will try to follow up here shortly.

Unlogic
New member

Thanks for such a quick reply Jon, I look forward to status from the team.

As a long term Firefox user it hurt's a bit having to explain to the family why this issue is bothering them on all our Android devices.

Cheap-skate
New member

@UnlogicI agree, it's sad that this issue has received so much attention from the user community and so little from the Firefox developers. I just don't understand it.

@JonWe are not holding our breaths, this issue has been raised many times on Github, Bugzilla and Mozilla Connect. Each time it gets dozens or hundreds of posts by users. But it has always been ignored by devs.

By "ignored" I mean utterly ignored. I am not aware of any material comment by any Mozilla developer against any of these issue threads which must run into thousands of posts by tens or hundreds of users over four years.

So we still don't know if it's a bug or a feature. We all think it's a huge bug. It impedes our workflow. It's illogical. It doesn't work like other browsers. It doesn't work like Firefox on other platforms. But maybe devs think it's a feature????

Obscerno
New member

Thanks @Jon !! It would be nice to hear if there are any updates 🙂

jazzskunk
New member

I've been wanting to switch to Firefox completely for awhile now. The browser on PC isn't clunky but on android its a mess. Really annoying that the home button opens a new tab instead of staying on the current window. I hope they change this even though this seems to be a long standing issue with users.

:{

teenylittleworm
New member

+1 this is a very frustrating problem, even moderate link usage in external apps can easily results in 50+ tabs, at which point navigating between them is unusable anyways and I have to close all the tabs anyways. I've had firefox installed on my phone for a long time now but it doesn't really provide much value to me over other browsers until this issue is fixed

Bas
New member

Hi @Jon, thanks for your attention and attempts. 🙂

Any update here? Meanwhile, was the team able to dedicate a moment or two of their attention to this issue? An about:config setting for the desperate users looking for changing this behavior may would be enough for startes.

Kaoxt
Making moves

This is becoming a bigger issue with nav strip being enabled on Android tablets. Now the Home button and New Tab button do the exact same thing. When you click New Tab, it doesn't open a New Tab immediately.

ozci
Strollin' around

1.5 years and still devs are looking into it. hope they change this behaviour.

jazzken
New member

@Jon, did you hear back from the team regarding this issue?

 

Chillydilly
New member

This issue is so old, and still not fixed?! It's so annoying, at least give me the option to turn it off.

I'm seriously reconsidering to change browser on mobile due to this time consuming bug.

Starlight
New member

This is the biggest issue that keeps me from using and recommending Firefox. I hope it gets changed.

I don't know how it was ever implemented this way.