Middle click on non-link opens recently closed tab


Hope, I’m right to ask here. I do only see this on Ubuntu Linux, not Windows.

When clicking with middle mouse anywhere else on a page but on a link, then in the same tab the most recently closed tab will be loaded. I find this very annoying as this always happens when middle-clicking slightly next to a link. (i.e. missing it and loading a recently closed tab instead). This drives me crazy.

Does anybody see the same behaviour with Firefox on Linux? I am on Nightly 56 (no addons). To reproduce just go to https://duckduckgo.com/?q=mozilla and middle-click on any of the white space.

(Leo McArdle) #2

Are you sure it’s the most recently tab closed, or the most recently highlighted URL?

I’ve seen this behaviour in Firefox on Linux as long as I can remember, I expect it’s to fit in with the Linux paradigm of “middle mouse pastes most recently highlighted text”.

To turn it off, go to about:config (hey, you could highlight that and then click your middle mouse button!) and set middlemouse.contentLoadURL to false.


@leo Thanks so much. You’re right :heart:

I would be really interested if there’s telemetry data about this behaviour?

AFAIK there’s data that DevTools are only open for a very short time because user hit F12 or other shortcut by accident and think WTF and immediately close it. I only have data for Edge here (see “The motivation and data behind this change” section). AFAIK there are plans to take action because of this as mentioned in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13225543

Anyway, I’d guess that it’s the same for this UX “feature”. So I’d guess the pattern is:

  1. User hits white space with middle-click
  2. New URL is pasted
  3. User immediately presses “Back” or “Close” button

If step 3 happens that I’d argue that this ‘feature’ is more of a ‘bug’. I’m using Linux for 15 years now and very much accustomed to the ‘middle-click pastes clipboard’ (and really love it). But this was really driven me nuts because Firefox felt crazy. I’m a firefox fanboy, so no worries :wink: but I could really understand people changing browser because of this… Kind of like mouse gestures that are not known to a user (and hence offed by default).

(Leo McArdle) #4

I must be honest, until today, I’ve only ever ‘used’ this feature like this:

It was after seeing the name of the about:config pref that I wondered if it might be mimicking the ‘middle-click paste behaviour’. Now that I know how it works, I might find it somewhat useful.

I wouldn’t mind at all if it was off by default and still hidden behind a pref, though.


FWIW, there’s a bug report to set middlemouse.contentLoadURL to false by default. Looks like many people bumped into this “feature”.