Firefox not auto-completing bookmarks? That's a bug

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 10, 2018

Firefox users who use bookmarks in the web browser may have noticed that bookmark entries are no longer suggested as auto-complete entries in the Firefox's address bar.

The following happens when you type something in the browser's address bar: Firefox checks for matches and displays suggestions based on those matches. The best hit is displayed as an auto-complete entry so that you can stop typing right away and hit the Enter-key instead to load the suggested resource.

Tip: Firefox suggests resources from the browsing history, bookmarks, and open tabs by default. You can change that by loading about:preferences#privacy.

Current versions of Firefox, for instance Firefox 62, may not suggest bookmarks as auto-complete suggestions anymore. While bookmarks may be displayed fine in the list of suggestions, some Firefox users noticed that bookmarks are not displayed as auto-complete suggestions in the browser anymore as of recently.

It is easy enough to test whether this is the case on your system as well. You need to clear the browsing history of the browser first or make sure you try to get a bookmark suggestion for a bookmark that you never visited before (or since the last clearing of data).

Firefox should display the bookmark URL as the auto-complete suggestion when you start typing but due to the bug it won't do so. It may still be possible to select the bookmark from the list of suggestions that Firefox displays underneath the address bar though but that requires more work on your part than previously.

Tip:Check out Bookmarks Organizer to fix broken bookmarks.

The bug

firefox auto complete suggestion

Some users of the browser reported the bug on Bugzilla to Mozilla. The reports suggests that the bug affects Firefox 62 but not Firefox ESR 60 and not previous versions of the browser.

The explanation for this is provided on Bugzilla as well. Firefox uses a threshold for auto-complete suggestions and ignores any entry that has a frequency of 0.

In other words: any bookmark that was never opened in Firefox and bookmarks on systems where the user clears the browsing history regularly won't be suggested. Clearing the browsing history resets the frequency of any bookmark so that it is set to 0 which in turn means that it is not suggested when a user types in the address bar.

Mozilla started to work on the bug to fix the issue so that entries with a frequency of 0 are suggested as auto-complete entries once again in the Firefox web browser.

Closing Words

The bug should be fixed pretty soon; users affected by it can't do much right now to fix it. While you could stop clearing the browsing history or start to open all bookmarks at least once, it is not a very practicable solution.

Mozilla announced plans to remove support for live bookmarks recently in Firefox. Affected users can check out the Livemarks extension for Firefox which reintroduces support for the feature.

Firefox not auto-completing bookmarks? That's a bug
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Firefox not auto-completing bookmarks? That's a bug
Firefox users who use bookmarks in the web browser may have noticed that bookmark entries are no longer suggested as auto-complete entries in the Firefox's address bar.
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  1. G. said on September 24, 2018 at 4:07 am

    I have a different problem with 62 version. I have Firefox configured to NOT store any history and I don’t use any bookmark in an Admin account in Windows. Even have disabled the search suggestions.

    FF always respected this configurations until 62.

    Now it suggests me history entries and autocompletes for web urls even with the settings configured to NOT do that…

    I really don’t like this, because I don’t know where is keeping this data. I will do a clean install of FF and erase any trace of it to see if that solve this problem.

  2. John G. said on September 13, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    There is too a major privacy problem with autocompletion: sites still appear to autocomplete at address bar after being deleted from the history. Latest version of Ccleaner does not solve this problem, because it is unable to clear those ‘autocomplete’ sites. The only way to clear them is to open these sites and then go to history and apply the option ‘forget this site’. So weird issue imho.

  3. Clairvaux said on September 11, 2018 at 3:35 am

    Dedoimedo has a nice post pointing to similar trends in the current Firefox trainwreck, and recent developments in the Word Press blogging platform. In a nutshell : how to ruin a splendid piece of software for no particular reason at all. Power users vs. mass market, etc.

    1. John Fenderson said on September 11, 2018 at 8:37 pm

      That is a wonderful, thoughtful essay. I generally agree with him both with regards to WordPress and Firefox.

  4. Richard Steven Hack said on September 10, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    Good ol’ quality regression testing by Mozilla…not…

    Par for the course for them.

    The fun bug which REALLY bugs me (see what I did there) is when you do a “Save Page As”, then change directory to save the page to another directory than the last one you saved a page to. Firefox RANDOMLY – and I mean it varies by page, not just Web site – blanks out the file name, so you have to type or copy and paste in the file name – which means you have to exit the “Save Page As”, do another “Save Page As”, copy the file name, change the directory, then when Firefox blanks the file name paste it in again, then save the page.

    Incredibly annoying. I don’t know if this is specific to the Linux edition of Firefox because I haven’t tested it in Windows.

    More proof that Mozilla simply doesn’t bother with quality control because they’re too busy coding in new “features” no one asked for.

  5. Yuliya said on September 10, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    I noticed this too:
    If I type “vk” then it autocompletes “vk[.com/]”
    If I type further “” then it fails to autocomplete the “id” for instance “[id******]”

    1. Ray said on October 7, 2018 at 9:45 pm

      Same here. Very annoying bug.

      Is the temporary solution to clear the frecency numbers as what Anonymous posted above?

    2. John G. said on September 13, 2018 at 10:06 pm

      Near the same here. Few days ago I visited a french car company and now everytime I click the first word of the company the full address is completed. I clear everything but it always appear. So annoying privacy issue imho.

  6. Anonymous said on September 10, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Locally or not, I don’t like Firefox storing how often and recently I opened this or that bookmark, did this or that action, all their “frecency” spying stuff. First they tell you it’s to innocently autocomplete with the relevant bookmarks. But soon you realize they designed all this machinery to get money from targeted advertising !

    1. Richard Allen said on September 10, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      Instead of being a drama queen and just whining why don’t you provide a solution.

      Is Waterfox a solution? It handles browser history Exactly like my install of Firefox. Actually Waterfox will need some settings changed to be as privacy conscious as my install of FF but it can be done.

      I’ve never seen targeted advertising of any kind in FF and if it’s such a threat show me a screenshot dated today of this advertising?

      Show me proof in a screenshot of targeted advertising that includes the whole browser window and I will provide a solution that anyone can easily understand.

    2. N/A said on September 10, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      One of the companies who puts money in mozilla is….google (do your own research) so, if your’re concerned about spying maybe you should consider another browser.

      1. John Fenderson said on September 12, 2018 at 10:37 pm


        That Google pays Mozilla in order to be the default search engine does not imply that Mozilla has altered Firefox in order to spy for Google. In fact, it has not — or at least, if it has, nobody has been able to detect it either in the source code or when sniffing traffic.

      2. Anonymous said on September 10, 2018 at 8:29 pm

        @ N/A Yes, I know Waterfox that among other things is a privacy hardened fork of Firefox.

      3. Richard Allen said on September 10, 2018 at 11:34 pm

        Waterfox is a “privacy hardened fork of Firefox”? How is it that all these entries are not being used in your “privacy hardened” browser? Are you unaware of ALL these settings?

        All cookies seen by WF are accepted and kept until they expire. Which means they can stick around for weeks.
        Default search engine is Bing which creates numerous tracking cookies and pays WF for that privilege.
        Geolocation is enabled and still using Mozilla URLs
        Extensions being auto-updated through AMO.
        Extensions blocklist enabled and contacting Mozilla URLs.
        Sending daily pings to Mozilla updating extension metadata and recent startups.
        Search engines updated through Mozilla.
        Safebrowsing enabled by default.
        Safebrowsing is contacting Google and Mozilla URLs.
        Security ssl error reporting goes to a Mozilla URL.
        SSL Session IDs are enabled.
        TLS Session Tickets are enabled.
        Link prefetching is still enabled.
        HTTP DNS prefetch is enabled.
        HTTPS DNS prefetch is enabled
        Network predictor is enabled.
        Connects to sites when you hover over links.
        Captive portal service enabled.
        Referers are always sent and never trimmed.
        WebRTC is enabled.
        Service workers enabled.
        Way too many about:config dom entries need to be changed. About 2 dozen if the goal is “hardened”.
        Web notifications are enabled.
        Push notifications are enabled.
        Sends additional analytics to web servers with beacon.enabled.
        First party isolate is not used.
        Privacy.resistFingerprinting is disabled.

        That’s what I found looking through about:config, I probably missed a few.

    3. Yuliya said on September 10, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      You can set Fx to always use private session:

      1. Anonymous said on September 10, 2018 at 8:21 pm

        I do something similar by deleting all history at browser exit except site preferences, but this doesn’t seem to remove those “frecency” numbers (=frequency+recency) that are stored with bookmarks. Are you sure that private browsing would have more success in not remembering that part ? I used to browse in permanent private browsing mode long ago but found that it removed my control over storage, plus it was buggy with things like sites needing indexedDB, so I stopped.

        I use DB Browser for SQLite ( ) to be able to read part of the contents of all those .sqlite files in the profile folder, in that case places.sqlite . I was not very happy discovering those numbers inside.

      2. Yuliya said on September 11, 2018 at 5:34 pm

        Anonymous [September 10, 2018 at 8:21 pm],
        Yes, I’m sure setting Fx as in my screenshot will make it stop counting the times you have accessed a website. It is how I use it daily.

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