How to delete Top Sites, Bookmarks or History entries in Firefox for Android

If you are using the mobile version of the Firefox web browser on your Android device, you have probably noticed that it does a couple of things different from how they are handled on the desktop version of Firefox.

When you open a new tab for example, or start the browser app anew, you are automatically taken to a listing of top sites.

The algorithm that picks those sites is similar to the one used by desktop Firefox. Usually, top sites are sites that you have visited the most in the mobile browser since the last reset of the data.

The listing may look different depending on what you open. If you open a new tab, the top sites listing is displayed as text links only, but if you load about:home, you get thumbnail representations of the websites you visited instead.

With that said, the listing itself is identical regardless of where it is opened.

It can happen that you encounter a site in the top sites listing, or in the bookmarks or history, that you do not want to see there. Maybe you are certain that you will never open it again, or do not want another person that is using your smartphone or tablet occasionally to find out about it.

Removing Top Sites, Bookmarks or History entries

firefox android top sitesfirefox android new tab page

You can remove entries that Firefox Mobile displays on the new tab page or the homepage in the following way:

  1. Move your finger over the entry that you want to delete and hold it down on it until a menu appears.
  2. Select Remove from the context menu to delete it from the display.
  3. A page removed message appears indicating that it has been successfully been deleted.

Note: Firefox ships with four internal pages (Firefox: Support, Firefox Customize with add-ons, Firefox: Start and Firefox: About your browser) that cannot be removed from the top sites listing. If you long-press on any of those, a remove option is not displayed in the context menu. You can remove those entries if you switch to Bookmarks on the other hand, as a Remove option is displayed here then that you can invoke to delete the links.

remove top sitesremove internal pages

A removed tab may appear again in the top sites listing when you open it the next time, or as often as necessary to make it appear again here depending on how often you have opened other sites displayed here.

Clearing private data will remove all sites from the top sites listing that are not bookmarked as well. To clear the data, do the following:

  1. Tap on the menu button while the home page is displayed, or while a website is displayed in a tab in Firefox for Android.
  2. Select Settings from the options, and on the next page Privacy.
  3. Tap on Clear private data and there on clear data to remove all temporary data from the mobile browser.

Update: It appears that Mozilla has removed the option to remove the first six topsites displayed in Firefox for Android. It is not clear why the company made the decision to do so.

There is a workaround for that, but it is not pretty. If you do not use topsites at all, you can clean them by tapping on menu, selecting Settings, then Privacy, and there Clear private data. Unlike in Firefox for desktop systems, there is no option to do that every time you close the application.

The other option is to pin six pages to the topsites, so that they are always displayed on top. All other popular pages that you open are displayed beneath the selection, and they can still be removed with the long-tap.

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Responses to How to delete Top Sites, Bookmarks or History entries in Firefox for Android

  1. WaterChrome December 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    Great tips, but still I think this feature of Firefox is useless.
    Chrome has a much better bookmark management IMHO.

    Could you consider to make a tutorial about privacy in Android?
    I heard of Xprivacy but dunno how to install it lol.

    I'm enjoying every piece of you blog, continue!

  2. Bill December 4, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    Thanks but not as helpful as preventing Firesux from showing any browsing history at all. How can I prevent it from showing my homosexual, bestiality, kiddie porn and Support Obama web sites, period!?
    Do you have any advice for either changing settings or installing any add-ons which would prevent this? Thanks again.

  3. KK December 4, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    I can't believe the software makers think this is "progress".
    So many steps to accomplish simple tasks.

    Android Firefox should have built in clear private data just like it's desktop version.

    I had to use Clean Quit addon to make this happen.
    Why do they leave it up to others to enable basic features?

    Google is far worse. Total gymnastics to clear private data.
    And no, "incognito mode" is not a solution in any browser.

    If the programmers can put in 4 buttons to clear private data (default android browser etc) , they can put in a single checkbox that clears it all upon close or at any time you wish.

  4. KK December 4, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Also, root your phone and run Droid Wall.
    Allows you to block *any* program on Android from phoning home.

    Why is Droid Wall not built into Android?

    Google wants access to your computer/phone data 24/7.
    That's why.

  5. mma173 December 4, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    Off Topic, I wonder how to get rid of the awesomebar's history in the desktop version of Firefox?

    • Martin Brinkmann December 4, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

      You do not want anything to show up, or only get rid of the history there? Set browser.urlbar.default.behavior to 2 to only display bookmarks.

      • mma173 December 6, 2013 at 8:52 am #

        Well, to be specific I want to clear the 'Typed' locations.

        In the past. I think, Firefox used to clear the typed locations every time the history is cleared. Now, it retains them.

  6. BS December 9, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

    this is bs, I can't remove visited sites on the top sites page. what a joke of a product.

  7. Adam Olsen December 16, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    The remove menu entry isn't present on my version of Firefox (26.0 according to about: support). Firefox Beta also lacks it (27.0). Did they remove the remove since you posted?

    • Martin Brinkmann December 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

      It seems that way, I have just tested it and it is not working for me either anymore. I update the article with a workaround, not pretty but better than nothing.

  8. ken December 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    If you google "firefox android top sites" this is quickly shown to be the most hated feature of Firefox. Yet Mozilla ignores all these customer requests. No wonder Firefox is dwindling as a mobile browser. It's a stupid design forcing one extra tap to reach your bookmarks. Go with Boat Mini Browser which even allows folders in bookmarks or any of the other browsers.

    Does Mozilla have a secret agreement not to compete on Android since Google is their main income source?

    • Ulrich December 23, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

      So you complain about "Mozilla ignores all these customer requests" - that's not true. Are you a customer, i.e. have you ever paid a dime for Firefox? Probably not. There are other "customers" - stakeholders that are paying or donating for Firefox development. Obviously privacy is not on top of THEIR priority list. And obviously Mozilla listens to them more than to their users.....

      • ken December 24, 2013 at 2:13 am #

        Google does provide for 85% of Mozilla's revenue (Wikipedia). For this they get their search engine listed first.

        I'm not sure whether you agree with me or not. While Firefox offers forums and "Did Firefox make you happy?" inputs for their users (more precise than customers) they pay them little attention. The "Top Sites" tab doesn't seem to have any commercial value but it is a big annoyance.

        According to netmarketshare.com Firefox has 0.01% share of the mobile browser market. Maybe this is why.

        Finally, one can pin "about:blank" to all the Top Site icons in Firefox Android 26.0 which helps the privacy issue but the extra step to reach your bookmarks remains.

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