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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
jeroenvlek
New member

Please fix this, it's utter memory greed. Also because we can't set the config through about:config and set

browser.link.open_newwindow.restriction

ourselves on Android.

Cheap-skate
New member

devs

Is it time to engage with your user community on this issue? It's been around years now, pretty much since day 1 of Fenix. I think we can safely say that "open (nearly) everything in a new tab" is controversial and highly unorthodox behavior. And I haven't heard any comment from devs on it.

Is there a plan to fix this behavior? I see three possibilities:-

  • there is a plan, and it's on the roadmap (in which case could you tell us when)
  • there is a plan, but there is insufficient resource to execute it (surprising since it seems like a case of just replicating Firefox iOS's behavior)
  • there is no plan (it's a wontfix).

If it's a wontfix it might be worth explaining to us why. What are the advantages of "open (nearly) everything in a new tab"? What are the advantages of making Firefox Android unnecessarily different from Firefox iOS (Windows, Mac, Linux)? Because we just don't understand.

Thanks

ms1
New member

I've switched to the Brave browser. It handles tabs in a much more reasonable way.

guest1
New member

Still not fixed? Come on, you can't be serious.

kym_hill
Strollin' around

I agree someting needs to be done about accumulation of tabs.

Another solution would be to have an option in "Customise homescreen" that would enable tab deletion when using the back button to return to the homescreen.  In that case it doesn't matter that a new tab is created when you visit a new url.  It might be easier to implement that rater than reusing an old tab.

If you want to keep a tab, then simply create a new tab, which places you on the homepage.

I've added tab deletion as another "Idea" to solve this issue.

Kervyn
New member

Well, this has been posted in 2022, and I can't believe it's still unfixed in 2024 now

Ye_Olde_Horse
New member

I'm was googling to solve this problem that I bothering me since the beginning, and I just learned that it cannot be changed and is not yet fixed. I'm very disappointed 😞.

But I learned about Brave, so there is a hope.

Gamefreak
New member

Switching to Brave till it's fixed.

Hasney
New member

Please fix or make an option to change this behaviour. Glad this thread mentioned Brave for now so I can uninstall

Kaoxt
Making moves

Is there ever going to be a fix for this? With the incoming Nav Strip for tablets on Android, this behavior looks even odder and makes no sense.