How to disable Firefox Suggest

Firefox Suggest, a new feature of the Firefox web browser that is introducing custom search and sponsored suggestions in the browser's address bar, is included in Firefox 92 Stable, at least for some users . The new version of Firefox was released earlier this week, but Mozilla did not mention Firefox Suggest in the official release notes.

The official support page on Mozilla's website suggests that users who see Firefox Suggest in the address bar, but have no option to turn it off in the Settings, are part of a Shield Study; this was not the case on our test system, however.

Mozilla ran a Firefox Suggest test in the United States last month to gather some data and resolve issues or bugs before the planned release of the feature.

According to a Phabricator page, Firefox Suggest address bar labels were enabled for all en-* locales.

Firefox Suggest

firefox suggest

Firefox users should see a Firefox Suggest group of results displayed in the pulldown menu when they type in the Firefox address bar. The feature is independent of the default search engine; a quick test confirmed that it appeared in Google Search, Bing and DuckDuckGo.

With Firefox Suggest enabled, Firefox separates search engine suggestions from the Firefox Suggest group. The first group, search engine suggestions, work as before. Search engines are queried and they return a number of suggestions based on the input.

Firefox Suggest merges the classic browser-based suggestions, taken from open tabs, bookmarks, the browsing history, and shortcuts, with sponsored content that may be displayed.

Disable Firefox Suggest

firefox suggest disable

Firefox users should have an option under Search to disable Firefox Suggest. Our test installation of Firefox, Firefox 92.0 Stable, did not have that option, but you may want to check there first:

  1. Load about:preferences in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Switch to the Search tab.
  3. Scroll down to the Search Suggestions section.
  4. Uncheck "Show Firefox Suggest in the address bar (suggested and sponsored results).

Note: some sites claim that disabling search suggestions will remove Firefox Suggest; this is not the case.

The following is required to hide Firefox Suggest in the browser's address bar:

firefox suggest disable

  1. Load about:config in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Proceed when the warning page is displayed.
  3. Search for browser.urlbar.groupLabels.enabled.
  4. Set the preference to FALSE.

Setting it to FALSE, disables the Firefox Suggest label in the address bar. Note that it may not impact the browser's ability to show sponsored content in the suggestions that it displays. There may be another preference for that.

Mozilla used a different preference previously, browser.urlbar.experimental.firefoxSuggestLabels.enabled, but it is no longer supported.

Closing Words

Firefox Suggest sounds like a new feature that most Firefox users may not want. Users may have two main issues with Firefox Suggest:

  • That the label may take away space in the suggestions pulldown.
  • That sponsored results may be added to the group.

Most are probably indifferent to the bundling of local suggestions and better separation of local and search engine suggestions.

It is certainly problematic if a feature gets enabled without options to turn it off.

Now You: what is your opinion on this? (via Techdows)

Summary
How to disable Firefox Suggest
Article Name
How to disable Firefox Suggest
Description
Find out how to disable the Firefox Suggest content that Mozilla's Firefox web browser may display when you type in the browser's address bar.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. John Doe said on September 9, 2021 at 2:08 pm
    Reply

    Mitchell Baker is milking Mozilla and turning Firefox into a bloatware.

  2. ShintoPlasm said on September 9, 2021 at 3:50 pm
    Reply

    #OnYourSide #PrivacyChampions

    1. mary said on September 9, 2021 at 9:48 pm
      Reply

      please explain where any of this compromises privacy

      1. Anonymous said on September 12, 2021 at 3:06 am
        Reply

        “please explain where any of this compromises privacy”

        Difficult to evaluate the threat level with so little information on what Mozilla does exactly. After a quick search I can’t even find if Mozilla does now receive or not everything that users type in the address bar (until now “only” the default search engine had that privilege, Google buying that sensitive user personal data to Mozilla for hundreds of millions of dollars every year to process it illegally under European law and share it with the surveillance state, thank you Mozilla btw).

        If they don’t, your private data (here the content you type in your address bar, and possibly more depending on the unknown algorithm, like maybe browsing history or bookmarks) is still processed and monetized by Firefox for personalized advertising, which is violating your privacy.

        Apparently, in addition, when you see or click suggestions, Mozilla and the advertisers receive unspecified “technical data”.

        In case the typed data is sent to Mozilla without explicit consent, then it is additionally illegal under European privacy laws.

      2. mary said on September 12, 2021 at 9:54 am
        Reply

        Firefox aggregates counts per search engine usage, it does collect or share any urls. Mozilla does not collect any history or PII. Mozilla does not sell any data, it has none worth selling.

        > is still processed and monetized by Firefox for personalized advertising, which is violating your privacy

        Any heuristics to determine suggestions, recommendations is done client side

        You have not shown any proof that any of this violates privacy. Interesting that ShintoPlasm, a prolific poster, went all quiet – because he too is just shit posting.

      3. Anonymous said on September 12, 2021 at 12:25 pm
        Reply

        Processing and monetizing private data for personalized advertising is violating privacy by definition.

        Your counter-argument is that what I wrote “is shit”.

        You are just one of those surveillance capitalism trolls with multiple pseudos harassing people with insults until they leave sites because you know how fundamentally wrong what you do is but still can’t tolerate it being exposed even in a comment section.

        And you have the nerve to celebrate when you succeed in pushing someone out like this. You disgust me. I hope you’re well paid for that.

      4. Anonymous said on September 12, 2021 at 1:15 pm
        Reply

        “Mozilla does not sell any data, it has none worth selling.”

        Google and Facebook also pretend not to sell data. It’s a lie based on twisting what selling data means.

        With Firefox Suggest, like with Pocket, Mozilla sells to advertisers the right to process for anti-user purposes the private data Mozilla has privileged access to by controlling the browser code. And Mozilla has control on lots of private data by controlling what happens in the browser. Because the only evil purpose that private data is misused for in this technical setup is approved by Mozilla, Mozilla defines this as privacy respecting. But that’s not what privacy means.

        With search deals Google pays Mozilla to receive user PII typed in the address bar and process it illegally. Again Mozilla sells access to that data, which is even sent away this time. In fact Google receives more than what is intended to be queries and receives everything typed as it is typed, which worsens the case.

        That’s why “It has none worth selling” is also a lie like “They don’t sell data”.

        That’s what paid corporate trolls like mary don’t want to be heard too much. But they represent the interests of a tiny nefarious minority and they are the ones that should be kicked out for not disclosing their affiliations.

      5. mary said on September 12, 2021 at 6:57 pm
        Reply

        > With search deals Google pays Mozilla to receive user PII typed in the address bar and process it illegally

        Mozilla does no such thing. The user is already sending the contents of the address bar to the search engine. What drugs are you taking? Would you like some Ivermetin?

        Still zero proof from any of you that any of this is a privacy issue

      6. Anonymous said on September 14, 2021 at 12:28 pm
        Reply

        “Mozilla does no such thing. The user is already sending the contents of the address bar to the search engine.”

        Google pays Mozilla to receive user PII typed in the address bar and process it illegally. Mozilla wrote that “feature” and made the worst possible choice of default engine for the users, Google, in exchange for money. And before the Google/Mozilla bootlicker replies that it can be changed, most of users do not change them only by ignorance and this is what Google pays Mozilla to abuse them for. Even the US DOJ has attacked Google for doing such search deals, attempting to forbid them. But Mary feigns not to have understood the privacy problems both with a Google search deal and with such an invasive implementation of it and ignores all the previous replies to its previous corporate manipulative garbage preferring to rely on more insults. Not surprised.

      7. ShintoPlasm said on September 12, 2021 at 2:06 pm
        Reply

        @mary

        1. This “prolific poster” (inaccurate in my view, but whatever) has other things to do in life besides responding to gHacks comments within your expected timeframe.

        2. Although Martin’s article doesn’t cover this topic exhaustively, Mozilla’s website does have more information about the data they share and with whom:
        https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/navigate-web-faster-firefox-suggest
        https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/privacy/firefox/#suggest-relevant-content

        Based on the above I am far from confident that my data is safe, despite Mozilla’s protestations. Firstly, I currently have no way of disabling this option (despite seeing Suggest content) as I am not in the US. That in itself is a problem from my perspective as my data is shared without explicit consent. Location data and other data types which are confirmed to be collected, per the second link above, can be considered a GDPR breach when combined.

        Secondly, ‘technical and interaction data’ is being sent to Mozilla as part of Suggest, despite me disabling such data sharing in Options. As long as there is confirmation to the contrary, it means that Firefox is bypassing this deselected option.

        Thirdly, unless I explicitly opt into such schemes, I am unwilling to see or experience any sponsored contents.

      8. Anonymous said on September 14, 2021 at 12:44 pm
        Reply

        https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/navigate-web-faster-firefox-suggest
        https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/privacy/firefox/#suggest-relevant-content

        The privacy policy in the second link that not contain yet the part about Firefox Suggest.

        The first link says “technical data” is sent to advertisers and links to the privacy policy but as the Suggest part is missing that sent data remains unspecified.

        But it’s details, even if no data was sent, software developers should not monetize the local private data their code has access to for personalized advertising, it’s a privacy aberration. If we do not fight this today, there is zero reason why in the future Google and Mozilla would not inspect and monetize for personalized advertising everything a device has access to: all local files, all user interactions with the device, all sensor data (location, microphone, camera…). And sell outs like Mary will still claim that “you have zero proof that this is bad for privacy you’re shit have some more drugs”. Surveillance capitalism is currently extending the reach of the private data it can spy on for its own needs completely for free because too few react against this as being obviously a privacy nightmare. Our private data belongs to us only, it should never be misused for money, it doesn’t matter how technically those bastards do it.

  3. Anonymous said on September 9, 2021 at 3:55 pm
    Reply

    Seems like it is easier just to uninstall, I mean, if they add this “Sponsored” stuff, even if they get so many millions from Google, then they don’t care about the user at all, they only want to see how they milk their dying browser with the few clueless 5 cats that think that forcing themselves to support the only non-chromium browser will make things better when Mozilla doesn’t even really believe in their “open internet for everyone” when they support even censorship, better wait for a real company to appear that create their own render engine that deserves to be supported, the old mozilla is dead, so uninstall it and stop supporting it, kill it already and move on.

  4. Jozsef said on September 9, 2021 at 3:57 pm
    Reply

    Over here we call that advertising. So, if you don’t want ads but would like suggestions, too bad for you. That’s pretty manipulative and insulting but that’s the new Firefox, focused primarily on making M. Baker the CEO, richer for as long as it lasts. I can’t have a multi-row tab bar but I can have ads. I guess that’s innovation in FF land.

    1. Anonymous said on September 14, 2021 at 12:12 pm
      Reply

      You are being very unfair with M. Baker. If she wasn’t so honest, her loyalty would cost Google and the surveillance economy much less to buy than what they spend on her monthly >200 000 dollars. Everyone has a price but it means she was not ready to sell her soul for a few pennies only, that she has lots of moral rectitude to sell.

      Besides, as she complained herself in the press, she should be paid 5 times more by Google, she’s really sacrificing herself for the cause of selling her loyalty to Google instead of even more lucrative jobs. She explained that this is how she fights income inequalities for greater social justice, by accepting from Google only 200 000+ dollars a month to betray humanity for Google and the surveillance economy instead of 5 times more. Coincidentally, what Google pays to the Mozilla boss has been multiplied by 5 between a decade ago and now.

  5. Scott said on September 9, 2021 at 4:01 pm
    Reply

    It’s really hard to stay loyal to a browser when every new release I have to go find out how to disable the new undesirable feature.

    1. Herman Cost said on September 9, 2021 at 4:09 pm
      Reply

      This was not enabled on my FF installation, which is in fact an en-* one. However, I still do agree with what Scott wrote. I would add ‘and hope that it stays disabled’ to his last sentence.

    2. Sol Shine said on September 10, 2021 at 10:51 am
      Reply

      @Scott,
      Agreed.
      As the stupidity of Mozilla increases, the number of users of Firefox decreases.

  6. Arne Anka said on September 9, 2021 at 5:06 pm
    Reply

    I don’t get any suggestions (it’s all turned off), but now I get ‘This time, search with’ and all my search-engines. But I have a search-field, and all other kinds of suggestion-stuff turned off!

  7. Martin P. said on September 9, 2021 at 5:07 pm
    Reply

    Firefox designers should realy concentrate on what can improve their browser and avoid bloating it with totally useless junk like this “Suggest” junk. They should also keep thinking about the power users out there who can’t stand losing long standing customizing options and features that made Firefox so popular in the past.

    It’s coming to a point where Firefox risks becoming so insignificantly bland because of its regular downgrading by Mozilla that it will die off because more and more people will abandon it. Keep it up Mozilla and your Firefox user base will gradually be reduced to a microscopic level…

    1. Jozsef said on September 10, 2021 at 4:16 am
      Reply

      It went from being the dominant browser to 3% so dying off is not the remote possibility it once was. It does seem that their goal is complete irrelevance with no features to distinguish it from Chrome, although users’ indifference to the data harvesting in that browser completely baffles me so just being not Google won’t save FF.

  8. Alberto said on September 9, 2021 at 5:09 pm
    Reply

    I can’t find that setting on my Firefox 92 :(.

  9. Tom Hawack said on September 9, 2021 at 5:48 pm
    Reply

    Firefox Suggest? Personally : no. Some users may like it or won’t care, and that’ll bring a few extra pesos to the company. As long as it can be disabled, no problem.

    I hadn’t even noticed it because i don’t use the Megabar or whatever it’s called now. I always remained faithful to the ‘search bar in toolbar’ option and, with the help of a few css lines, it closes and reopens with a click on a button. No lost space.

    Frankly, again stating Firefox is my default browser since always, I have to admit that several innovations appear to me as charming as an inconsistent gadget can be. Speaking of inconsistencies, worse is that the browser’s core code happens here and there to be running after the devs’ implementation of new “features” : Proton, dear fella, is implemented and with it a bunch of consequences on the whole which are taken care of update after update, a perfect example of the absurdity of monthly updates : take your time (except for security issues) and deliver Firefox a la proton once it’s done, fully. Otherwise it appears to be a Firefox Proto soap opera.

  10. ULBoom said on September 9, 2021 at 8:25 pm
    Reply

    Still the only browser you can customize and remove all this crapware until it doesn’t even resemble the mess it and every other browser is out of the box. Learn about:config, find arkenfox; 92’s not out yet, though.

    Ads on top of ads, suggestions inside suggestions, most everything “tech” is drowning in itself. Good thing, if there is one, is with copious effort and using better products (Win 10 Home? Ha ha! Pro? Yup) most of the annoyances can be quashed.

    Browsing on a phone is an insult to users. Ads, ads and more ads, so big and obtrusive you’re bound to accidentally click on some as you scroll infinitely, giving someone their fraction of a penny.

    You can get to about:config in FF Focus now, add DDG as a homepage with ads disabled, put AdGuard system on the device and you get clear search results with no ads plus no ads inside apps. What a phone should be, your device, not someone else’s.

    1. Yash said on September 9, 2021 at 10:27 pm
      Reply

      For phones another option is to use Mull with add-ons.

      about:config in Firefox Focus! Haven’t used it for a while but this does sound good.

  11. Anonymous said on September 9, 2021 at 10:05 pm
    Reply

    Mozilla should give out BAT for clicking on search suggestions and looking at ads like how Brave does.

    1. Yash said on September 10, 2021 at 11:21 am
      Reply

      Would you care to explain use of BAT in real world and how much can be earned through it, if any?

  12. Anonymous said on September 9, 2021 at 10:17 pm
    Reply

    I use the Firefox ESR version, but I am forced by Ubuntu(Canonical) to get the regular release by Software Update. I don’t use it, but looking it over, I don’t see anything about Firefox Suggest. I have suggestions turned off. I don’t need people I don’t know thinking for me.

    If the ESR version goes the same way, and things get worse, then I will have to try Waterfox, but it is such a pain to install on Ubuntu properly. There are no installation instructions, one has to search for them, and then things don’t work properly.

    I may be stuck with Pale Moon, but I don’t really like that either, and it also is difficult to install, but at least has installation instructions.

    Thanks as always for the information, Martin.

    1. Lemegeton said on September 10, 2021 at 12:49 pm
      Reply

      > Waterfox

      Try LibreWolf, Luke

      1. Anonymous said on September 10, 2021 at 2:14 pm
        Reply

        Tried the appimage, but couldn’t import bookmarks. It’s also too spartan for my taste.
        I am giving it a pass, but thanks anyway,

  13. owl said on September 10, 2021 at 8:01 am
    Reply

    > Now You: what is your opinion on this?

    I checked with my actual Firefox Nightly 94.0a1, and the new feature was not enabled.
    https://i.imgur.com/fVRk56E.png
    There is no problem also with Firefox Developer Edition 93.0b3.
    Checked on: 2021-09-10, 05:26 (UTC)
    Application Settings:
    App Locales “en-US”
    Default Locale “en-US”
    Operating System:
    System Locales [“en-US”]

    Since the ghacks test case is a test installation (new installation spec), it was probably the default (enabled).
    In short, the existing settings in about:preferences#search will continue to work and will not be changed (disabled settings will not be forced to be enabled).
    If you are an existing user, your “opt-in/opt-out” settings will continue to work on updates.
    So it doesn’t seem to be a problem to make a big fuss about.
    It might be wise to check the actual device just to be sure, though.

    1. Lemegeton said on September 10, 2021 at 12:53 pm
      Reply

      Apparently, it’s not the locale, but the location. And selectively (at least for now).

      From Mozilla site:

      > Note: Firefox Suggest is currently available for a limited number of users in the U.S. only.

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 10, 2021 at 1:37 pm
        Reply

        Well, I’m not in the US but in Germany, and I have it enabled.

      2. owl said on September 18, 2021 at 5:06 am
        Reply

        Source: Mozilla
        Get where you’re going faster, with Firefox Suggest
        September 15, 2021
        author Mozilla
        https://blog.mozilla.org/en/products/firefox/firefox-news/firefox-suggest/
        Some of them are quoted in excerpts:
        We’ll begin offering contextual suggestions to a percentage of people in the U.S. as an opt-in experience.
        Opt-in prompt for smarter, contextual suggestions
        Find out more about the ways you can customize this experience here.
        Navigate the Web faster with Firefox Suggest | Firefox Help
        https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/navigate-web-faster-firefox-suggest?as=u&utm_source=inproduct

  14. Anonymous said on September 10, 2021 at 10:54 am
    Reply

    Hi Martin,

    I skimmed the article, but is there a way to disable sponsored content without turning Suggest off completely? Thanks

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 10, 2021 at 1:37 pm
      Reply

      Maybe there is an option, but I don’t know about it (yet).

      1. Anonymous said on September 11, 2021 at 8:00 pm
        Reply

        Thanks

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