Firefox will hide push notification requests by default

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 4, 2019
Updated • Nov 4, 2019

From next year on, Firefox will hide push notification requests from websites by default. Websites may use the Notifications API to displays notifications to users of the web browser, even if the site in question has been closed in the meantime.

Designed to give sites and progressive web applications an option to inform users about updates, it soon started to be abused by numerous sites. Mozilla ran an experiment in 2019 to determine how users of the Firefox web browser interacted with these notification requests.

firefox block notifications by default

One of the main issue with notification prompts is that many sites display them the moment a user visits it, another that the prompt requires action on part of the user. Users who never visited a site before cannot possibly know whether they would like to receive notifications from a site they know little about.

According to the study -- as reported by ZDNet -- 97% of users who participated in the study dismissed notifications immediately or went a step further and decided to block the site from showing notifications at all.

Firefox users may block all notification prompts already in the browser. Mozilla implemented an option in Firefox 59 to block all notification prompts in the browser. Users need to load about:preferences#privacy in the browser's address bar, scroll down to the permissions section, click on settings next to notifications, and check the "Block new requests asking to allow notifications".

firefox block notifications

From Firefox 70 onward, the prompt's "not now" option will be changed to "never to block the prompt on the site forever.

Starting in Firefox 72, Firefox will no longer show notification prompts when websites want to use the notifications API unless the user has interacted with the site prior to the request. Interaction in this case means that the user tapped, clicked, or pressed a key.

Firefox adds a new icon to the browser's address bar when a site requests notification access but the prompt that asks users to allow or deny the request won't be shown anymore.

Firefox users may click on the notification icon in the address bar to display the prompt and allow or deny notifications for that particular site.

The change landed in the most recent version of Firefox Nightly already. Mozilla is still working on the implementation and users may experience bugs in the development versions of Firefox as a consequence.

Firefox 72 is scheduled to be released on January 7, 2020.

Closing Words

As is the case with most new technologies and features implemented in browsers, they may be used for good and bad. Notifications has been abused in particular, thanks to the easy implementation, and it was about time that browser makers started to react to this.

While it has been possible to block all notifications in Firefox for a long time, it is probably not something that most users of the browser have been aware of.

The suppression of notification prompts will reduce annoying notification prompts significantly without removing the functionality entirely.

Now You: Have you ever accepted a notification request?

Firefox will hide push notification requests by default
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Firefox will hide push notification requests by default
From next year on, Firefox will hide push notification requests from websites by default and display an icon in the address bar instead.
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  1. Bernd said on October 19, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    They were only half implemented anyways, completely dysfunctional. You get a notififcation and the moment you decide to click on it it disappears, no history of previous notificatons nothing. If they dont plan to finish this useless half unfinished implementation they could just as well remove it agian entirely.

  2. slovbot said on November 6, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    Have you ever accepted a notification request?

    No. I don’t need companies “pushing” their spam on me.

  3. Hellen moraa said on November 5, 2019 at 8:55 pm


  4. owl said on November 5, 2019 at 1:13 am

    When I start using Browser, I always select [Block] in the [Notifications] setting of [Privacy & Security: Permissions] in the browser’s Option.
    Web Push notifications in Firefox | Firefox Help
    Therefore, I have never received such a “notifications”.

    Mozilla’s view is justified because most average users don’t touch “options”.
    I back the specification change.

  5. Yuliya said on November 4, 2019 at 11:16 pm


  6. Mothy said on November 4, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Had one of these pop up on me shortly after switching to Firefox (ESR) as my main browser last year. Let’s just say it was the last as I promptly set it along with location, microphone and camera to “Block new requests”!

  7. Anonymous said on November 4, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    > The cherry on top is that those push notifications are channeled through a central server operated by Mozilla before reaching the users.

    Uh, no.

    1. Anonymous said on November 4, 2019 at 6:15 pm

      Anonymous said: “Uh, no.”

      Uh, yes, see below. You wouldn’t imagine the number of other things Firefox does in your back, that break your expectations:

      “Firefox maintains an active connection to a push service in order to receive push messages as long as it is open. The connection ends when Firefox is closed. On our server we store a randomized identifier for your browser, along with a randomized identifier for each site you authorize.

      On Firefox for desktop, the push service is operated by Mozilla. Firefox for Android uses a combination of the Mozilla Web Push service and Google’s Cloud Messaging platform to deliver notifications to Firefox for Android.

      In both cases, push messages are encrypted per the IETF spec and only your copy of Firefox can decipher them. The encrypted messages are stored on the server until they are delivered or expire.”

      “the push service is still exposed to the metadata of messages sent by an application server to a user agent over a push subscription.”

  8. John Fenderson said on November 4, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    “Have you ever accepted a notification request?”

    No, never. I can’t think of a single thing that I’d want a website to push a notification to me about.

  9. Jeff said on November 4, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Good decision. Chrome should follow. It’s been abused by websites to bombard you with notifications.

  10. Anonymous said on November 4, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Finally they understood their mistake. At the beginning they did not even give a user interface to disable notifications permanently, because they really wanted to enforce that spam feature on users for the benefit of websites. The cherry on top is that those push notifications are channeled through a central server operated by Mozilla before reaching the users. No thanks.

    1. Anonymous said on November 5, 2019 at 6:19 pm

      This is unbelievable that tons of telemetry was required to finally change such obvious thing.

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