Firefox 75 Quantumbar, Megabar: privacy and other concerns

Whilst the principle may be welcome – type less, find more:

– the implementation is not:


If you have any privacy concerns regarding the address bar, you can disable suggestions …

This appears to be not suitably effective:

– typing nothing discloses divorce, cyanide and fake passport.

The example is exaggerated for my personal amusement but surely there’s something wrong here.

Test environment

grahamperrin@momh167-gjp4-8570p:~ % date ; uname -v
Wed  8 Apr 2020 08:31:57 BST
FreeBSD 13.0-CURRENT #5 r359628: Sun Apr  5 00:25:58 BST 2020     root@momh167-gjp4-8570p:/usr/obj/usr/src/amd64.amd64/sys/GENERIC-NODEBUG 
grahamperrin@momh167-gjp4-8570p:~ % pkg query '%o %v %R' firefox
www/firefox 75.0_1,1 FreeBSD
grahamperrin@momh167-gjp4-8570p:~ % 

– Tier-3.

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In a forum post somewhere, someone mentioned that the selections on the automatically displayed drop-down list match the top row of your Top Sites on the Firefox Home / New Tab page.* That list may contain pre-pinned URLs, user-pinned URLs, frecency-based URLs, or a combination of those.

Perhaps there are other ways to modify that, but one way is to turn off the automatic display as follows:

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button accepting the risk.

(2) In the search box on the page, type or paste URLB and pause while the list is filtered

(3) Double-click the browser.urlbar.openViewOnFocus preference to switch the value from true to false

I think it would be a good idea to have a checkbox in the UI for showing Top Sites in the drop-down.

* Edit: Actually, that’s explained in the support article:

Also put up a page with more info on settings:

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I tried the new features for a few hours, trying to not think about them, to not have knee-jerk reactions.

First to go was browser.urlbar.openViewOnFocus. The repetitive drop-down arrays of unrelated distractions were intolerably disruptive to what should have been focused work.

I continued, trying to enjoy (or at least ignore) the enlarged bar – without its drop-down – but this, too, became intolerable. It’s gone.

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I agree - I came here trying to find a way to revert to the old behavior, but alas all I can do it completely disable it, rather than make the megabar stop unless I click in the right place.

I can appreciate some folks like the less typing, but for me it’s incredibly annoying and a disclosure issue. When I want to look at my historical entries I would click on the arrow, when I didn’t then I didn’t. Please bring back the arrow at least, so that if the other preferences are set to false it will then show the history nonetheless.

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Which old behavior have you not been able to restore so far? If you set the browser.urlbar.openViewOnFocus preference to false, then when you are in a new tab or other tab with a blank address bar, pressing the down arrow key (or typing either ^ or #) should drop down the old “frecency”-based list accessible with the “Show History” button.

I will try that. It’s not obvious to do so, like it was with the visible arrow button.

Learned yesterday that if you uncheck the Top Sites box for the Firefox Home / new tab page (on the Options/Preference page) then the drop-down will switch from the Top Sites back to the “Show History” list. If you don’t curate your Top Sites, this might be the simpler workaround for you.

Also put up a page with more details on settings:

Poll: how do people feel about the address bar in Firefox 75.0? (megabar – QuantumBar design update 1)


Discussion/promotion of the poll:

The poll’s configuration was not ideal for public responses but still, numbers might be interesting.

The redesign is fine - as long as it can be turned off, because apparently a bunch of people including me think it sucks.


Hello, I have joined this forum and feedback system exclusively to find this thread and give this comment a +1. You can do whatever you want, just give me a clear option to disable it, because I also think that this sucks.

I don’t mind the functionality of the new address bar but there is a bug that is really frustrating. When you open a new window and start typing a URL, the first few characters are lost if you type before the window is fully opened. The old address bar didn’t exhibit this behavior

According to the reddit post on this, the results were initially overwhelmingly negative, for which some people expressed relief. Then the numbers changed drastically overnight, leading to some speculation that the results had been “tinkered with.” Seeing as a very good way to change results would be to write a script that would change your IP address and autovote, I suspect that it was somebody with coding experience. My guess is an embarrassed developer who is watching this thread. I have not read a single positive opinion about the design, anywhere.

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Your IP address is determined by your connection – home, work, coffee shop, VPN exit node – so it is not that trivial to change your IP address.

I think if the URL bar expanded by 3 pixels in each direction instead of 7 pixels, it wouldn’t annoy as many people.

My notes and userChrome.css rules:

Really? My home internet doesn’t have a fixed IP. If I were to unplug it and plug it back in, the IP would be different. I’m pretty sure it can be done with a script.

That aside - because I’m just speculating, and I don’t really know what I’m talking about - I just don’t know why the URL bar would need to expand at all. It adds no functionality. Is it a branding exercise? I think that if the URL bar expanded by 0 pixels in each direction instead of 7 pixels, it probably would annoy even less people. Why does it have a shadow? Jeez louise.

Also, thank you for making a post about how to temporarily disable this. I hope those fixes work long enough for the developers to return to their senses.

All the best

I sincerely hope the option to disable the Mega****bar is available in the future release of Firefox. Having to go through userChrome is really too much work for such a feature. I for one miss the old address bar where I could open my top sites with only my mouse. The new addressbar seems to be geared solely to users on touch devices and the desktop/laptop users are forced to swallow this “feature”.

The default behavior of the bar is to automatically open a Top Sites list when you click the bar (or the cursor enters the bar for other reasons). That doesn’t require any typing or even aiming for a small button. If your list doesn’t open automatically, make sure this preference has its default value of true:

  • Firefox 75-77: browser.urlbar.openViewOnFocus
  • Firefox 78-79: browser.urlbar.suggest.topsites

If the Top Sites section has items you don’t want to see in the automatic list, you can unpin, rearrange, add, pin, etc., on the new tab page:

If you want to switch the list from showing the first 8 Top Sites from the new tab page to your classic frequently visited URLs list, you can turn off the Top Sites section of the new tab page:

So there is no way to get both: the top sites on the new tab page and frequently visited URLs in the urlbar? I had disabled the viewonfocus -setting, so that does alleviate the pain a little, but not enough when the functionality in the urlbar is changed.

Hi mleino, as far as I know, there is no “mouse only” method to keep Top Sites on the new tab and have the frequently visited URLs open in the address bar. The most convenient method is to type a space in the address bar.

For a mouse-only approach, I created an add-on that shows a very similar top sites list but it can’t integrate into the address bar drop-down, so it has its own. You can review its features and limitations on the Add-ons site here:

A few days ago I stumbled into a situation where I found some value in it. An obscure use case (I can’t recall the details) – and it took months for me to get some value, but there are uses.