Firefox 81 for Android gets an automatic tab closing option

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 7, 2020
Firefox, Google Android

The next version of the new Firefox mobile browser for Google's Android operating system includes a new automatic tab closing features.

Tab opening and closing behavior differs highly between two major groups on the Internet. Lean users keep a small number of tabs open in the browser, and tend to close tabs quickly. Tab hoarders on the other hand have dozens or even hundreds of tabs open, and keep them open for a long time.

I fall into the second category of users. While I don't keep hundreds of tabs open on mobile devices, I do have dozens of them open at any point in time. I do use bookmarks to save important sites and reduce the number of tabs.

Mozilla will introduce a new feature in Firefox 81 for Android that assists users when it comes to the closing of tabs in the browser. The feature automates the tab closing process similarly to how Apple's Safari browser does it.

firefox automatic tab closing

It is off by default to avoid that user tabs get closed without their explicit permission. Firefox users may switch the tab closing behavior from manual, the default setting, to (after) one day, one week, or one month.

The setting does not provide one crucial bit of information: the automatic closing of tabs requires that tabs were not active in the selected period of time. If you choose to close tabs after one week, all tabs that were not active for at least a week will be closed automatically.

It is still possible to restore them using the browsing history, provided that it is not cleared regularly.

Firefox users who want to configure the feature need to run at least version 81 of the browser. The version is currently available as a beta but will be released later this month to stable channel devices.

Select Menu > Settings to open the Firefox preferences. Locate and activate the "close tabs" option on the Settings page. The current status of the feature is highlighted directly there.

Switch the status to one of the available options, e.g. to one week, and go back to verify that the change has been applied. Firefox will, from that moment on, close tabs automatically based on the selected time period.

Closing Words

The feature is not enabled by default and Firefox users need to enable it before it starts to close tabs automatically in the browser. The main effects of the automatic behavior are that memory use may be reduced and that tab management is improved. An option to add all the auto-closed tabs to a specific bookmarks folder might have been a useful addition though, considering that these tabs may be lost for good if users have configured the browser to delete the browsing history regularly.

Now You: if your browser would support the auto-closing of tabs, would you use it?

Firefox 81 for Android gets an automatic tab closing option
Article Name
Firefox 81 for Android gets an automatic tab closing option
The next version of the new Firefox mobile browser for Google's Android operating system includes a new automatic tab closing features.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Anonymous said on February 23, 2022 at 2:14 pm

    Nahhh.. why does Mozilla hate itself so much? No option to close tabs automatically after I swipe left the page I am viewing? No option to close tabs automatically after the browser quits? And what is it with the desktop look… ugly tabs look like buttons and consume so much screen real estate…

    Back to the Android version… SO slow…
    And then there is the terms of service… yes they collect a ton of data and share it with third parties… that is supposed to be a privacy browser? Are people just plain dumb?

  2. Rob said on October 24, 2020 at 1:14 am

    Know this is history now, and I think it’s a good feature. 👍🏼
    The reason I got here was I’m searching for a way to keep my last tab open when I next start FF. 🤔
    Often forget what I’m doing, 🙄 so like what I was doing last to appear on FF when I open it, 👀 but all I can get now is suggestions for new tabs based on my history…
    Don’t want that. 😖
    Thanks for your support of FF. 🙏🏼

  3. Mothy said on September 8, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    “if your browser would support the auto-closing of tabs, would you use it?”

    No, have no use for it as I’m a lean user. I also close down the browser (and all other programs) when done with the computer for the day as I don’t like anything left running that doesn’t need to be. Then I run a custom batch file that clears various cache and temp files to ensure the next time I use the computer it’s a clean slate. If there’s something I want to follow up on/continue from session to session I just create a bookmark to get back to the site and make a mental note where I left off. But that doesn’t happen often due to lack of a need for it but more so because I don’t like to leave loose ends, instead like to finish up a task and move on if at all possible.

    Otherwise in general I’m NOT a fan of most automated functions so I turn most if not all of them off whether on the computer or smartphone. Reason being I want as much control over my devices as possible so I know exactly what’s been done with them and where they’re at to ensure that clean slate!

  4. Paul said on September 8, 2020 at 1:32 am

    Typical, Mozilla fashion:

    1. Break something that works fine e.g. make EVERYTHING open in a new tab. Users will now have countless open tabs, whether they want them or not.

    2. Introduce a so-called “new feature” that attempts to remedy the above mess. Of course, it is ineffective. Auto-close tabs after a day, week or… month? It’s not even funny.

    3. Correct behavior restoration (see 1 above i.e. open links in new tabs ONLY when specifically requested by the user or website) is out of the question.

    4. Start work on an entirely new version of the software, which will introduce further breakage.

  5. Ray said on September 7, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    Great feature for novice users. My parents always forget to close tabs and have many tabs open, so this will definitely help with that.

  6. motang said on September 7, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Hmm this could come in handy for me!

  7. Anonymous said on September 7, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    When I want automatic tab closing, I open the page in a private window.

    So far the Fenix release is a disaster, just read the reviews on the Play Store.

    I’ve switched to the Brave browser.

    Hopefully Mozilla will fix Firefox on Android.

    1. John said on December 30, 2020 at 11:19 pm

      Hello, I would much appreciate a reply. I recently updated from Firefox 65 to Firefox 84 on my phone. Now I’m finding that Firefox remembers my last session even if I close the app using my app menu. How do I prevent it from doing this? I’m a lean user and when I close the app via the app menu I expect the app to start from a clean slate. Is there a 3rd party addon I can install to make it do this? Why is this not an option anymore? Why on earth would I want it to remember my session when I’ve CLOSED the app?

  8. Anonymous said on September 7, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Firefox is bad browser for privacy. The delete browsing data on exit only works if you manually press the ‘exit’ button. Better use duck duck go browser

  9. Paul(us) said on September 7, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Apart from the fact that I have set the Tor browser (On my phone) as the default browser when this function reaches the Tor browser, I don’t think I will use it.
    I always try to limit the number of outstanding tabs via bookmarks despite my large working memory on my phone.
    I also work on my phone with saving websites that are necessary (think maps, police, fire brigade, and ambulance data) and leave only tabs open which need current data such as weather, Teletext.

    I also believe that my VPN on my phone significantly increases safety.
    I always start my VPN when the phone starts up so that no traffic is possible other than with the VPN activated.

    I also wonder if DNS traffic is possible on all models of phones? I would like to switch to a Linux telephone. Unfortunately, upto now I still don’t read very much about that here at

    1. Femail said on September 7, 2020 at 7:35 pm


      Canonical, The company behind ubuntu, launched a model a couple of years ago; but the project came to nothing.
      the privacyminded company Purism offers Librem.
      However I have no experience myself with their product.
      check out the link

  10. Iron Heart said on September 7, 2020 at 11:38 am

    about:config, unrestricted extension installation

    The only way to redeem this mess somewhat. If they don’t reinstate those two, one might as well use something saner since FF cannot be fixed anymore.

    1. John said on September 8, 2020 at 2:06 am

      You might find Iceweasel for Android, a fork of Firefox for Android, of interest as it has both features you mention as well as a variety of other users options and customization:

      1. Iron Heart said on September 9, 2020 at 4:09 pm


        Interesting hint, thank you for the suggestion.

  11. Shadow_Death said on September 7, 2020 at 7:48 am

    The one feature I want them to make they skirt around. Maybe I should leave a review asking them NOT to cause bookmarks to load in the existing tab instead of opening a new one.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.