Firefox 86 will block the Backspace-key to go back action by default
The Firefox web browser is one of the few web browsers left that supports using the Backspace-key to go back. Hit the Backspace-key on the keyboard to go back to the previous page.
Starting in Firefox 86, Firefox users won't be able to use the Backspace-key anymore to navigate back in history by default. The key won't have the action mapped to it anymore.
Mozilla's keyboard shortcut Telemetry indicates that 40 million Firefox users use the Backspace-key shortcut in a month. To put this into perspective, Ctrl-R to reload a page is used by 15 million users, and the alternative Alt-Left-Arrow to go back is used by just 2 million users.
Mozilla suggests that the high number of users who use Backspace is partly caused by users hitting the key accidentally in the browser.
The organization suggests that Firefox users start using Alt-Left-Arrow instead to navigate back.
Restore Backspace-key functionality in Firefox
Firefox users who do use the Backspace-key to navigate back can restore it in desktop versions of Firefox.
- Load about:config in the Firefox address bar.
- Confirm that you will be careful.
- Search for browser.backspace_action.
- Change the value of the preference to 0.
Doing so restores the classic Backspace-key action to navigate back a page.
The new default value as of Firefox 86 is 2, which means it is unmapped; this appears to have been the default for Linux for a long time.
You may also set the preference to a value of 1. Doing so maps the Scroll action to the key. Press it and you will scroll-up, or use Shift-Backspace to scroll down.
And other browsers?
Google removed Backspace-key navigation in Chrome 52 to prevent users from accidentally losing form data when hitting the Backspace-key. Google revealed that 0.04% of page views navigated back using the key back in 2016.
The company did release an extension for Chrome called Go Back with Backspace that restored the functionality for users who wanted to continue using it; this extension is still available.
Microsoft Edge does not support the Backspace-key navigation action anymore as well. Techdows notes that Microsoft users may set a flag on edge://flags called "Assigns the Backspace key to go back a page" to restore the functionality.
Mozilla suggests that part of the Backspace-key using Firefox users use the key by accident, and it is quite possible the case. Firefox users can restore the functionality once the change lands to restore the functionality. Many may not do that because they may not be aware of the possibility.
Firefox 86 is scheduled for a February 23, 2021 release. The next stable release is Firefox 85; it will be released on January 26, 2021.
Now You: Do you use the Backspace-key to navigate?
GRRR, eeejiot move
Why not remove keyboard support and allow users to navigate only on newtab suggested websites?
Telemetry (spyware): the mankind worst enemy.
Don’t say it so loudly, Mozilla is listening (through Telemetry)
Telemetry (not spyware at all): only people afraid of their own shadow have a problem with it
Another person proud of not having any privacy and giving corporations free data. Where do they breed people like you? I keep sing them everywhere lately. The media must have successfully brainwashed the younger generations.
Imagine that no, even if everyone has telemetry enabled it gives the UX and marketing teams the reason to cut everything but features used by the lowest common denominator users.
It kills good software and least to mediocre copycats.
“not having any privacy”
I keep my values from being taken and I keep my photos from being looked at. I don’t give a f*** if somebody records every backspace-keystroke.
No, not me. You !
“UX and marketing teams cut everything, it kills good software”
It gives UX the option to check their assumptions about usage.
It improves good software.
We live in different worlds, I would not want to visit yours for a single day.
Probably we live in different worlds, but I’m curious and open minded, just enought to not preclude any visit in yours or any other world.
I see no graphical and interaction improvements in FireFox, like I see no graphical and interaction improvements in Windows, since they embraced the “big data” gathering party they only ruined the UI and added bloatware/spyware.
“Telemetry” is often a justification to avoid dialogue, ignore feedback and impose choices dictated by the agenda.
The googlification goes on…
OK, short visit to my world:
Windows 8.1 was a huge graphical and interaction improvement, also Windows 10. And Windows (like Chrome, and others) keeps getting better and better.
Google and Microsoft do not avoid dialogue, but drive it. They do not ignore feedback but base their future development on it. They do not impose choices dictated by anybody, they do not impose anything, and, most importantly, there is no agenda.
Still not intersted in your world, filled with bloatware and spyware, distrust, fear, agendas and anger.
And “googlification” would sound great if it only would exist.
“Windows 8.1 was a huge graphical and interaction improvement”
“Windows (like Chrome, and others) keeps getting better and better.”
Do some research about windows 10 productivity loss, I know something since mine is about 10-20% compared to XP/W7 era. Chrome getting better? Uh, lot of bugs and usability issues, poor UI, missing useful features (subjective) and no security at all because of goolag tracking/spying whitelists and backdoors (objective).
“Google and Microsoft do not avoid dialogue, but drive it.”
Google? Ah, yep, now goolag owns Mozilla… Do some research on bugzilla and see how dialogue is killed with corporate censorship and blindness.
“They do not impose choices dictated by anybody, they do not impose anything”
Haha, “they do not impose”, again, go read some bugzilla comments.
“there is no agenda.”
Now, tell me how a business can plan its activities without having an agenda?! They’re not hippies, or at least not anymore.
“Still not intersted in your world, filled with bloatware and spyware, distrust, fear, agendas and anger.”
Distrust? Yes, it’s motivated by facts. Fear? Sometimes, over 300km/h adrenaline production is not enought.
You know nothing about my world, but feel free to keep hiding yourself from reality.
“Do some research”
Ph. D. computer science, 35 years experience in IT Security and UX.
Worked with and interviewed approx. 5000 users, never met anybody whining about XP/W7 before …
Do not avoid dialogue, but drive it;
do not ignore feedback but base future development on it;
do not impose choices dictated by anybody, do not impose anything, and, most importantly, avoid planification.
That’s the very credo of any intelligence service and I remain stunned by how they ever manage to be efficient with that in mind.
First spyware and agendas, now intelligence service â€“ You people have serious problems â€¦
“Thatâ€™s the very credo of any intelligence service”
No, it’s not.
Why does little old you invent this false and misleading crap ?
@Jim Vanderbilt, @Jim Vanderbilt,
The wording of your comment seemed fit for a comparison and a coincidence.
We know that many companies, especially in the States, adopt a military organizational scheme; perhaps policies, mainly in communication but also in information gathering engage in a way of proceeding conform to intelligence standards, as excellently exposed in your comment I was referring to.
I didn’t think you’d take it personally.
Be noted, this credo leads to far better results than violence even if it does include its own which can be harmful as well. Dictionary tells me that “pernicious” is reserved, in English, to the medical area.
No point in emphasizing.
“Conform to intelligence standards” is less harsh than “the very credo”, but still:
I don’t recall any dialogue driven by the NSA, the german Stasi did not care about feedback, and for Gestapo or KGB “imposing choices” was their one of their main purposes.
But this is getting too far away from the backspace key, I leave this discussion …
This often mimed response to a perfectly reasonable expectation of personal privacy, namely that if you have nothing to hide any demand for personal privacy is an admission of guilt is a commonly used ploy by fascist and totalitarian regimes the world over to justify surveillance data acquisition and retention. This massive and today almost total invasion of our personal privacy is building an ever growing file on each and every citizen which can and is routinely illegally abused to manipulate, intimidate, threaten and control citizens, events and even governments.
This massive and illegitimate invasion of personal privacy is now a clear threat to the National Security of the Coupled with the total secrecy practically speaking it remains unchecked and uncontrolled by the government and the citizenry. Which is why today the power it bestows on literally handful of people constitutes one of the gravest threats to US National Security in our history.
Firefox, Chrome et al. are, like the economy in general, as well as “our” State and Federal government are no longer user driven. Instead, they respond and answer first and foremost to that tiny group of individuals. Of course that motive has always existed to some degree, but never before has it been a fait accompli as it is so often day. To the point that more and more often they are not just ignoring consumers, they are openly disobeying governments and the rule of law.
No I am not suggesting that remapping a key on the board is a national Security threat. At least not in of itself. But like those secret files, it represents another another piece of another link in the chain…..Just because I am paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get us. They most certainly are….
“This often mimed response”
Your “this” refers to nowhere.
You are trying to share your opinion without any relation to the discussion or article you are commenting on.
“namely that if you have nothing to hide any demand for personal privacy is an admission of guilt”
WTF are you talking about ?
I checked the last five years, on Ghacks nobody had that claim.
“today almost total invasion of our personal privacy”
“an ever growing file on each and every citizen”
Again, that’s paranoid.
“.. is routinely illegally abused to manipulate, intimidate, threaten and control citizens”
Do you have anything coming close to evidence for these preposterous allegations ?
No, you don’t.
“This massive and illegitimate invasion of personal privacy”
Again, starting with “this” w/o any point it’s referring to.
There is no massive and illegitimate invasion.
There a many morons using this phrase to intimidate others.
(See how “this” worked ?)
“Which is why today the power it bestows on literally handful of people”
Who are these “handful of people” ?
What is their power, besides knowing how many times the backspace key was presses on Oct 21st 2020 (only approximately, a few geeks used a whole lot of technology to hide that information.)
(See, ‘that” like “this” needs a reference point before it is used)
“constitutes one of the gravest threats to US National Security in our history”
Hmm, who should evaluate and be the judge regarding US National Security ?
NSA and other specialised professionals ?
President and Congress relying on the former ?
No, some conspiracy-driving DDearborn posting on a german tech blog !
“Firefox, Chrome et al respond and answer first and foremost to that tiny group of individuals.”
Again, there is no such tiny group,
Chrome does not answer to individuals.
You are trying to spread crap.
Luckily nobody besides me and poor Martin is reading your sh**.
“Of course that motive”
AGAIN, where the hell is your “that” referring to ?
“they are not just ignoring consumers”
Another falsehood, another lie.
Google does anything but ignore its consumers.
Fighting against all these imaginated demons you might not have noticed:
Google’s business model relies on collecting its custumors’ data and/or money. Therefor they do not ignore but listen carefully.
“they are openly disobeying governments and the rule of law.”
THEN GO TO COURT, STUPID !
Ghacks is not the right address for charges.
“No I am not suggesting that remapping a key on the board is a national Security threat.”
Yes you are !
Wanna bet ?
“At least not in of itself.”
See ? There you go …
“But like those secret files”
First “this”, then “that”, now “those”.
For the last time:
You cannot refer to non-existing things.
There are no secret files.
“it represents another another piece of another link in the chain”
What were the other pieces ???
What are the other links ???
And what f***ing chain are you talking about ???
“Just because I am paranoid”
Finally, one thing we can agree on.
“doesnâ€™t mean they arenâ€™t out to get us. They most certainly areâ€¦.”
Especially NO since your “they” do not exist.
Another NO because nobody is “out there to get us”.
They only got you.
Firefox is wonderful, but this is a dumb move. At least it doesn’t suck as much as Google’s Chrome (and it’s many offspring) that requires you to install an extension just to use the backspace key to, you know, go back.
Raise your hand if you prefer to use 2 keys to perform a task instead of the ease of simply using 1. Nobody, of course.
I wish Mozilla would hire real UX experts instead of the dingbats they must currently employ. I would say the same for Google, but I could really care less what Google creates, as I’m not willing to use their invasive products.
You have no idea how many times I’ve lost data in an unsubmitted form by mistakenly clicking on Backspace. I support this change to the default behaviour.
If you can’t control what buttons you press, maybe computers aren’t for you.
I hate to break it to you, but there is a base law in User Interface Design:
Humans make mistakes.
So ShintoPlasm is definitely human (spare me to say what you are).
Since this change only affects pages with text input fields, we have to assume that you only lose data because you simply forget to click into text fields in the first place.
In other words, you are the only person to blame for your data loss by your absent minded-ness.
> I could really care less what Google creates, as Iâ€™m not willing to use their invasive products.
At least they don’t yet install telemetry tasks outside of the browser:
“telemetry tasks outside of the browser”
controlled by the browser’s settings in about:preferences#privacy
at least they don’t hijack urls like Brave. just saying
Except none of the settings shown under about:preferences#privacy control the scheduled telemetry task, they merely control in-browser telemetry.
Cooking up the “Brave hijacked links” fake news won’t make Firefox look any better, I have debunked it here already:
Brave didn’t “hijack” any link, they offered a referral link in the address bar suggestions, and the user had the option not to use it. The referral link served as a non-unique Brave identifier on select partner websites, so that Brave Software could get paid per click.
Unfortunately for you, @puk-puk-puk, Firefox does the very same thing with Google search URLs, adding their own referral I mean, so that Google can count searches coming from Firefox users and then pay Mozilla the associated search engine royalties.
You never see me criticizing Brave, Firefox, or any other browser for referrals, because those are a legitimate way of funding your operation without having to infringe user privacy or user security. Saying that this is not a legitimate way of funding is baseless, considering it OK (which it is) in Firefox but not in Brave, is hypocrisy.
You won’t be able to find Brave fuck-ups comparable to what Mozilla gets away with on Firefox. Trust me with that one. Mozilla is shadier than Brave Software and it’s not close. The scheduled telemetry task, or incidents like the Cliqz or Mr. Robot disasters, were actual problems. What you come up with here is pure nonsense.
“Except none of the settings shown under about:preferences#privacy control the scheduled telemetry task, they merely control in-browser telemetry”
more iron heart stupid ignorant lies
https://blog.mozilla.org/data/2020/03/16/understanding-default-browser-trends/ – “respect user configured telemetry opt-out settings”
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/telemetry-clientid – “Deselect the Allow Firefox to send technical and interaction data to Mozilla checkbox”
“incidents like the Cliqz or Mr. Robot disasters”
It has now been Ì¶oÌ¶nÌ¶eÌ¶ zero days since Iron Heart brought these up and 300 times he has mentioned them total
OK, I was wrong there (it happens). Seems like the scheduled telemetry task respects a general telemetry opt-out. Fantastic! Doesn’t mean that out of browser telemetry has a right to exist, doesn’t mean that other Mozilla telemetry respects user opt-out settings in general:
> It has now been Ì¶oÌ¶nÌ¶eÌ¶ zero days since Iron Heart brought these up and 300 times he has mentioned them total
The fake news you spread about Brave is not exactly new or creative either, it’s super-repetitive and I have dealt with it as recently as January 7th, 2021:
You shouldn’t complain when you yourself do the very thing you complain about, hypocrite.
Vivaldi is currently the best, most feature-rich browser on the market. Firefox can’t even compare. On top of that Firefox on android comes with multiple trackers by default and a separate telemetry app on desktop. Vivaldi has none of that BS.
Vivaldi isn’t full Open source sadly.
Lame news. Vivaldi only closed source is its UI code which they put an extreme amount of work on and it is Vivaldi’s hallmark.
Firefox is the ONLY open source browser that let’s you fully customize the UI. Period. Nothing compares or even comes close to Firefox’s flexibility.
‘Fully customize its UI’ – what crack have you been smoking? They have been chipping away at customization over the last 10 years to bring it closer to Chrome. If you haven’t used Firefox between inception and version 4 (it took 10 years to get to version 4, and after copying Chrome’s rapid release they’re almost up to 90 major versions over the next 10 years) then you don’t get to comment about customizability.
We’re eagerly awaiting that telemetry task but it never shows up. Not in any of our eight FF installations. What are we doing wrong? Feeling so left out :(
Vivaldi? Read Vivaldi’s ToS.
Yeah, what’s on that Vivaldiâ€™s ToS?? Even read more that first 10 words?
First spyware and agendas, now intelligence service – You people have serious problems …
I never use the Backspace-key to navigate; in fact I never use it at all.
I’ve always had set:
// disable backspace — 0=previous page, 1=scroll up, 2=do nothing
pref(“browser.backspace_action”, 2); // Default=0
That’s for little old me. Mozilla’s move to block the back action by default surprises me in that I don’t perceive what may motivate such a decision : what harm does it do to keep it as it is, what advantage to change it? To be in conformity with other browsers? I hope that’s not the reason : set yourself apart, be social but be and entertain your specificity! Change for valid reasons, not for the sake of belonging to a majority, right?! Pluralism, diversity contribute to progress! (my morning word of the day).
@ Tom Hawack
“I donâ€™t perceive what may motivate such a decision”
Read the comments above before you add yours.
“conformity with other browsers? I hope thatâ€™s not the reason”
“set yourself apart … Pluralism, diversity”
Let’s get rid of Ctrl-P and the printer symbol, every browser and program should have its own icon and keyboard shortcut !
I must admit that I was wrong: monoculture is mankind worst enemy.
I’m actually in favour of this. There have been times I’ve thought I selected a text field, hit backspace to delete something and found myself being transported back a page. I do think a shortcut is useful and one should be kept, but backspace is a key that can often be used when trying to manipulate fields and forms, so it can easily be invoked accidentally.
Never realize this is something that I really need to disable.
There have been many occasions when I accidentally go-back to previous unintentionally because of this and lose all the stuff I’ve been typing on.
I didn’t hit it by accident, as I meant it to use to erase a letter or two, but sometimes the cursor loses focus from the input field (especially on touchpad) and all those words just lose like that.
Time to disable it manually.
Thank goodness. I have never used backspace to navigate history. I thought that feature was something accidental that they never bothered to fix. I have, however, pressed backspace not realising an input or text box wasn’t focused, many times. Very annoying.
A well-balanced, mature solution for respectable gentlemen who look confidently into the future and do not need to constantly jump back and forth through history.
Shortkeys (Custom Keyboard Shortcuts) for Firefox?
Shortkeys makes it easy to add custom shortcuts to your browser for the following actions:
Run custom JS
Do nothing (for disabling a Firefox shortcut you don’t like, in the context of the page, not the whole browser window – explained above)
Open a bookmark or bookmarklet
Scroll up/down/left/right by a little or a lot
Scroll to the top or bottom of the page
Go back or forward in history
Jump to existing tab by URL
Open new tab with URL
Switch to the previous/next/first/last tab
Create a new tab or close the current tab
Clone the current tab
Close all (unpinned) tabs except for current tab
Reload the page
Copy the current URL
Pin/Unpin the current tab
Move the current tab left or right
Blacklist or whitelist specific shortcuts on specific sites
Clear downloads (page and bar)
Click button and switch to next tab (for Tribal Wars players)
Might work–don’t know.
I use Backspace shortcut on a daily basis, and I can’t imagine living without it.
When I install a Linux distro, the first thing I do is to setup the Backspace like in Windows.
Hopefully we will still be able to modify it through about:config.
I really don’t understand why they want to change this behavior. Telemetry proves that it’s used by most people. We may have a few of them using Backspace accidentally, but the majority use it to go back in history. This shortcut has always been there from the beginning of the web.
Mozilla fails to note that over half (51.398371% actually) of the 40 million Firefox users who use the Backspace-key are exhausted overworked developers who accidentally hit it when going for the F12. :)
I don’t understand this, my backspace key well, backspaces. It always has; something as annoying as paging back while correcting a form entry would have definitely been noticed. The about:config setting is at 0, its default, no bold text.
Mapping the backspace key to scroll down would be a nasty trick to play on someone.
If the cursor is focused in a text entry field, the Backspace key backspaces. Without such a focus (no flashing cursor in the field), the Backspace key’s default is go back.
I use Fx 60.9 ESR and the backspace key backspaces even when the cursor is NOT focused in the text entry field the backspace key backspaces. It behaves in the same manner in current Basilisk. So, when did Mozilla change it in Fx after Fx 60.9 ESR? And now they are going to change it back?
I don’t care because I never use the backspace key. I am a mouse person. Plus, I have never mistaken the back space key for F12 and I never accidentally hit the backspace key. F12 just opens the web console so what would be so awful if you did accidentally hit it?
“I use Fx 60.9 ESR and the backspace key backspaces even when the cursor is NOT focused in the text entry field the backspace key backspaces.”
So even when NONE of the text entry fields on a page are focused the backspace key deletes text from some randomly selected text field instead of paging back? What utter illogical nonsense.
Out of all the possible cinematic futures, it looks like Idiocracy was the one that came true.
What a grest leap forward, Mozilla. Think about getting rid of pocket? ðŸ˜
AVIF support in Firefox 86.
I must say I never have used Firefox as my daily driver browser.
But at least in Brave the browser kind of temporarily caches what you have typed into input fields.
So if I go back in history with e.g. Alt + Cursor Left, and then forward again, my already entered texts stays.
That seems like the best solution to prevent loss of input data after an accidental “Backspace” …
If someone is interested, Mozilla is going full Censorship. Time to abandon this sinking ship.
Extremes both left ( Mozilla) and right love censorhip yes. It is their natural habitat.
Can’t read moz hilarious argumentations… Their blog is hosted on goolag servers and my firewall seems to work pretty good!
I use it a bit. have mouse key mapped to go back also but sometimes hand not on mouse.
First they sided against power users and now against Conservatives!
If you have traditional values, Mozilla wants you being deplatformed…
Just saying… Uninstalled
@Senal.Aegis Nothing wrong with Conservatives being deplatformed. They are a relict of the past, the future belongs to the progressives and general left leaning people!
But i still have a problem with the excluding stance of Mozilla and a lot of other big tech companies… They should more add something like
Which is truly inclusive. But being against Conservatives… the assault recently in America is clearly showing the need for doing that.
Sorry for being a bit political here, but that simply had to be said.
It’s like you’re saying the left don’t censor anyone.
That the reason I uninstalled Firefox long ago.
This seems like the right thing to do. It probly should’ve been this way from the start. Reminds me of how Bill Gates asked for Ctrl+F to forward an email instead of search in Outlook.
Well i’ts the first option i’ll enable again and one of the most missed features in other browsers.
just like the shortcut key’s in the context menus.
This was for me probably the most important reason to never change from firefox to any other browser, because of the lack of the shortcut keys.
the only reason I switch is because a. My company makes me. b. sites not working properly with FF due to they not adhering to the standards
I was using Firefox on a laptop and some time ago I was angry when the Backspace button didn’t work like it used to and wouldn’t bring you back to the previous page…
From this article I learned that you can restore the previous action ;) And now I also know that additionally the left alt and arrows have the same use, although it is less convenient because it involves 2 buttons. But as a transition to the next page, when I go back too far, this knowledge will come in handy.
Setting the flag to 1 also gives interesting effects. But the PageUP and PageDown buttons are close t backspace button when you have a numeric keypad, it won’t be useful to me, but it’s worth knowing.