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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.

 

89 Comments
ishouldmomo
New member

Shortcuts on the home page are a great idea.

Having to go to the tab switcher to close the previous page after using a shortcut... not so good.

Please fix.

thereseT
Strollin' around

Mobile version - Open homepage shortcuts in current tab

I love the mobile firefox app

however as a single tab web browser, the shortcuts on the homepage are basically un-clickable for me - as they will open that shortcut in a new tab.

It would be nice to have a setting somewhere to select "open homepage shortcuts in current tab"

This would be amazing

Thanks!

Jon
Community Manager
Community Manager

(Note: a similar idea has been merged into this thread)

suavesteve
New member

Please let this be fixed. I always assumed this was a bug that would be fixed, not a 'feature' by design. I have several friends who have stopped using the browser because it is so slow and bloated, then I check to find they have dozens of tabs open.

 

This was a terrible design choice.

mindugo
New member

This "feature" of homepage links opening in new tabs all the time is the main reason I stopped using Firefox on my phone. It's just terrible for usability.

Please give us at least an option in settings to open links from home page in the same tab. It sounds so easy to implement, but will make a huge difference.

GQ
New member

I cannot figure out how to make a new post in here. All it does is pop-up suggestions! 😵💫

So I tried to reply to this, hoping somebody will see this I’m getting very frustrated each time I open a website and then I want to go look up some thing so I jump out of Firefox to an app or something else and come back. It jumps off that open tab back to the homepage, and I have to go searching through that menu to find where the last tab was and sometimes a pile of them and I have to scroll through them to find out that page. I want it to be back on every time I jump away and come back this happens and I’m very frustrated how to make the setting always come back to the previous tab instead of going to the homepage ? If I knew how to put this in a separate question, I would, but sorry this is all I can find is replying to this other person whose information did not answer this question. 🤯🫣

ZMiteos
New member

Totally agree. At first, I thought that I just didn't understand how the app should be used. I tried to click the nav bar and search, but didn't work. Next time I used the home button and end up with the same result.
So the problem is that I need to take extra steps to just close a tab

I assume that the intended way is to allow older tabs to close automatically, but I deactivated that feature

CGA1
New member

This is the single reason I'm not using Firefox on mobile. Been on the desktop for 15 years plus but I just can't stand this auto tab hoarding and bring myself to using it.

ms1
New member

+1

I have infinite tabs because every morning I open the same 5 links. That's 5 new tabs every day.

Nils
New member

I hate this current behavior. Would be awesome if someone could fix it. I consider to go back to Chrome just because of the current behavior, but I would love to stay on Firefox