This is Firefox's new Privacy Button

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 27, 2014

Firefox is probably the number one browser when it comes to putting users in charge. It is for instance possible to customize the user interface to your liking or disable or change most features that you don't like.

Firefox turns 10 years in November 2014 and Mozilla plans to celebrate that in several ways.

The organization plans to release a new Privacy Button in Firefox 33 and newer as part of that month's focus on privacy in the browser.

The button, displayed in the interface, provides Firefox users with options to perform the following operation:

  • Forget the last five minutes, two hours or all day of browsing.

Once selected, Firefox will delete cookies and the browsing history that fall into the selected range, close all tabs and windows, and open a new window in the end.

firefox forget button

It should be clear from the description that the button is not useful to all users of the browser. If you still require access to open tabs or browser windows you cannot really make use of it at all.

I cannot say yet if Firefox will honor the startup setting or not. If it does, it may load the open tabs again if session restore has been enabled.

Firefox already ships with privacy options to clear browsing data. Hit Ctrl-Shift-Del for example to open the clear all history button.

firefox forget history

While it does not offer 5 minute cleaning and no tab or window closing, it is without doubt the advanced option when it comes to deleting browsing data in Firefox.

It seems that the new Privacy Button has been designed to give users of the browser who don't know about the clear all history feature with an option to delete data in Firefox.

As is the case with the majority of feature additions, it is possible to remove the button from the interface so that it does not take up space.

The clear all history button is not the only option that Firefox users have. It is furthermore possible to open a new private browsing window for example to avoid that data gets recorded during that session.

This separates the core browser window from it so that users can return to it once they have closed the private browsing window in Firefox.

Closing Words

The new Privacy Button may help inexperienced users who don't know enough about the browser's private browsing mode or clear history feature as it highlights a privacy related option to users.

With that said, advanced users won't have any need for that feature. (via Sören)

This is Firefox's new Privacy Button
Article Name
This is Firefox's new Privacy Button
Mozilla Firefox 33 will launch with a new Privacy button that provides users of the browser with options to clear browsing related data with just two clicks.

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. p3t3r said on January 27, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Firefox goes “BILD”-Zeitung. ClassicThemeRestorer helps to get back the earlier performance. If you work with FF i recommend using ESR.


  2. dj said on November 25, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Seems like it should be an addon. Why so restrictive with the time; Make it a spinner control.

    I use ctrl-shift-delete. I’m using the keyboard more and more to access features and tools.

  3. CHEF-KOCH said on September 29, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Nobody able to upload the extension? …… :(

  4. p3t3r said on September 28, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    If they are looking at buttons, a single click and drag to required zoom page view button would be well handy compared to the current 3 button set up.

    Ever tried [Ctrl] + Mousewheel up/down? Or [Ctrl] + [+] or [-] or [0]?

    This also works if your touchpad supports scrolling.

    1. Uhtred said on September 28, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      thanks p3t3r, keys works best for me, knew the +- but the ctrl+0 reset is a new and useful one

  5. Uhtred said on September 28, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I’m sure will be good for some, but I will be hiding this button, still not sure what major advantage is gained over using a window with clear history on close enabled.

    If they are looking at buttons, a single click and drag to required zoom page view button would be well handy compared to the current 3 button set up.

  6. Jan said on September 28, 2014 at 4:11 am

    Mozilla add useless uneffective things to mask the fact that real progress is limited. Sad.

  7. ZzzZombi said on September 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Sören’s example of an unwanted site is really good. Or whoever took that screenshot. Really helps describe the feature broadly :)

  8. G4566 said on September 27, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    I hope someone will make an extension the upcoming feature for users of Pale Moon and older versions of Firefox with more options (including ‘Forget the last [custom time] or until browser is closed’).

  9. Tommy said on September 27, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Excuse my french but Privacy Button is a bullshit gimmick, the one thing Firefox needs is all hands on deck for Electrolysis, stop pissballing about and give us a damn sandbox that works (and does not brick the poor buggers still on Windows XP and 1Gb ram or less) and err.. world peace! Thank you Mozilla and happy 10th birthday, good luck and were all counting on you no pressure.

    1. Karl Gephart said on September 28, 2014 at 12:38 am

      I completely agree with you. Innovate, Mozilla, so I don’t have to use programs like Sandboxie. Their sync sucks and they bring nothing to the table in Android. And I’m noticing more and more addons not being updated by devs. Don’t force me to Chrome! :)

  10. CHEF-KOCH said on September 27, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Didn’t noticed that button in the latest nightlys (35a1.x). Maybe it’s not included in x64 builds (using the “unstable” x64 builds (which in fact isn’t unstable for me)).

    Personally I think it’s a good step forwards but it doesn’t have any benefits over external extensions that exists since years if I’m not wrong (such as Cookie Controller, Cookie Monster/Master, …) Or other tools which really cleans all the junk like CCleaner.
    The question is now if the “noob” really needs it, and the other question does he use it? I mean it still needs some clicks, best security app is useless if you don’t use it (or wrong).

    Can someone rip that extension and upload it?! I would like test it, but not gonna install an x33 build for only one extension. Thx. :-)

    1. Å ime Vidas said on September 30, 2014 at 4:28 am

      The button is called “Forget” and you have to manually add it to the browser’s chrome (or menu). (Click the menu icon, then click Customize at the bottom and drag the “Forget” icon to top-bar or menu.)

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on September 27, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      Still in development and not yet included in production releases.

    3. Blue said on September 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      +1 I only use Firefox for a few specific add-ons I can’t get in Chrome, but I too did the same thing on reading this article. Opened Firefox to see if they added a silly button. Typically people that move over to Firefox from MSIE know a bit about the browser and knowing how to dump our cache’s for privacy issues is not a problem. Luckily Firefox can be customized like Chrome can and if a silly button showed up I could drag it off…

  11. Paul said on September 27, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Nice new feature. Soon all others will copy.

    1. Tim said on November 21, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      I tested this out by using the “forget the last 5 minutes” option and it deleted all my tabs that I have had open for quite some time. Very disappointed in losing months of links.

      1. Phamm said on May 15, 2015 at 12:22 am

        SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME!!! Safe to say that this feature is not at all well designed or well thought out! I will never understand how tabs that I’ve had up for months count as tabs I’ve had up for 5 minutes! They should have kept the two separate; VERY poorly designed! GJ Mozilla ;)

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