The Firefox Browser Settings You Should Tweak Right Now

Even if you’ve been with Firefox since the very beginning—2002, to be precise—there are always new tricks and features to discover inside Mozilla’s browser, which continues to grow and evolve.

These are our favorite Firefox productivity tweaks and hacks to help you work faster and more efficiently. If you’re heavy into Apple’s ecosystem, try our guide to Safari on iOS and macOS instead. If you’re a Chrome diehard, we’ve got you covered here.

1. Pick up where you left off

Having a brand new, empty tab greet you when you start up Firefox certainly has some advantages, but a lot of the time you’d rather just carry on with what you were doing last time. To do so, head to the Preferences option on the Firefox menu (three bars, top right), then choose Restore previous session under Startup on the General tab.

2. Reach your favorite features quickly

Firefox gives you plenty of control over how the browser toolbar is arranged and what it includes. Open the Firefox menu and choose Customize; from there, you can drag and drop shortcuts to certain features—including edit tools, your browsing history, and private browsing—into the toolbar, so they’re always available to you.

3. Forget what just happened

One of the shortcuts you can add to the Firefox toolbar (see above) is a Forget button, which will erase a very specific part of your recent browsing history for you. Click the button and you can wipe out the last five minutes, two hours, or 24 hours, clearing the history and any logged cookies; all traces of that browsing period will be deleted.

Courtesy of Wired staff via Firefox

4. Customize the new tab page

The new tab page can be a very useful jumping off point for getting around the web, showing pages you’ve visited recently, pages you visit a lot, and bookmarks you’ve saved in the browser. To change how much you see of each, open the Firefox menu, click Preferences, then scroll to Firefox Home Content under Home.

5. Share large, encrypted files

If you’ve got large files to share with other people, Firefox can take care of this for you—it has its own service called Firefox Send, which you can find on the web here. Sign in with your Firefox account and you can send files up to a total of 2.5 gigabytes via a simple online link, with end-to-end encryption as standard and the option to password protect the link.

6. Add tags to your bookmarks

You’ve got two ways to organize bookmarks: by using folders and by adding tags. Tags give you an easy way of collecting bookmarks around certain topics or ideas, like work, leisure, family, research, or whatever. You can add tags when you save a bookmark via the star icon on the address bar, and through Show All Bookmarks on the Bookmarks menu.

Courtesy of Wired Staff via Firefox

7. Clean up your view of a page

Firefox includes a reader view that removes distracting elements from a page, like unnecessary overlays or ads. Click the reader view icon on the right of the address bar, or choose View then Enter Reader View, or hit F9 (Cmd+Option+R on a Mac) to enable it. Various formatting options controlling the font size, colors, and more show up on the left.

8. See if you’re affected by data breaches

Sign up for a (free) Firefox account, and not only can you sync bookmarks, passwords, browsing history, and more between devices, you can access additional features too. One of these is Firefox Monitor, which will automatically ping you if it detects that your email address has been involved in a data breach, and give you advice on what to do next.

Courtesy of Wired Staff via Firefox

9. Save articles to read later

You don’t have to use an extra read-it-later service with Firefox, because it comes with one built in: Pocket. Click the Pocket icon (it looks like a bookmark) on the right of the address bar to save articles, videos, and more that you want to come back to. Articles can be favorited and tagged for easy organization, and you can highlight specific sections too.

10. See how Firefox is protecting you

Firefox comes with some pretty aggressive anti-tracking features standard. To see how these affect your journey across the web, open the Firefox menu and pick Privacy Protections. You can see exactly how many trackers and other internet nasties Firefox has stopped, and get more information on them.

11. Lock down website permissions

If you type “about:preferences” in the Firefox address bar and hit Enter, then go to Privacy & Security, you’ll find a comprehensive list of what websites can and can’t do by default under Permissions. The list includes accessing your computer’s location, playing audio and video without prompting, accessing your microphone and webcam, and more.

Courtesy of Wired staff via Firefox

12. Take back control of your tabs

One of the reasons Firefox appeals is the many, many third-party add-ons you can get for the browser, covering everything from online privacy to media management. Even in a big crowd, OneTab stands out. It lets you quickly save bunches of tabs and free up system resources, then call them back again with a click when you actually need them.

13. Manage multiple accounts more easily

Another extension worthy of a mention is Mozilla’s own Firefox Multi-Account Containers. It essentially lets you sign into multiple accounts (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple) in the same browser session, without logging out and back in again each time. That makes it much easier to manage separate online accounts for work, leisure, family, and so on.

14. Give Firefox a refresh

Firefox has one of the best reset options in the business, clearing out clutter (junk data, bad extensions, misconfigured settings) without touching personal info like bookmarks and passwords. It basically returns Firefox to its default state. From the browser menu (three bars, top right), choose Help, Troubleshooting Information, then Refresh Firefox.

More Great WIRED Stories

Read More