Firefox 81 for Android gets an automatic tab closing option - gHacks Tech News

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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.

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?

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

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

    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.

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

    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
      Reply

      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:

      https://github.com/fork-maintainers/iceweasel/releases

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

        @John

        Interesting hint, thank you for the suggestion.

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

    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 ghacks.net

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

      @Paul(us)

      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

      https://itsfoss.com/open-source-alternatives-android/

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

    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

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

    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.

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

    Hmm this could come in handy for me!

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

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

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

    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.

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

    “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!

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