Mozilla Firefox is rolling out the latest update in which the browser’s backspace key will be disabled. This is done to prevent the data loss which happens while typing into the forms.

The backspace key works as a shortcut for the browser, if any user wants to “go back to a previous web page”.

However, this key conflicts when users fill out any form and accidentally hits the backspace key, this leads to data loss.

Google has already removed this feature in 2014 for Chrome due to a bug reported, and as well as Microsoft has also disabled the Backspace key for its Microsoft Edge browser.

Mozilla is finally now disabling the backspace and "Shift + Backspace" keyboard shortcuts for page navigation in Firefox 86.

Why Mozilla is disabling the backspace shortcut key?

7 years ago, Mozilla filed a bug report, according to which

“Backspace keyboard shortcut on Firefox is by far the highest usage with 40M MAU, well above “Find in page (16M MAU) or page reload (15M MAU), causing concerns that users suffer useability issues and data loss issues from hitting this keyboard shortcut by mistake”.

So, finally this change is implemented to Firefox to prevent data loss.

Firefox Nightly 86.0a1 release notes:

“To prevent user data loss when filling out forms, the Backspace key as a navigation shortcut for “Go back one page” is now disabled. To re-enable the Backspace keyboard shortcut, you can change the about:config preference browser.backspace_action to 0. You can also use the recommended Alt + Left arrow (Command + Left arrow on Mac) shortcut instead,” said  Pascal Chevrel the Firefox Release Manager.

The latest update is now live on the Firefox nightly build and available for users to test.

According to the latest update, the backspace key will have no shortcut function.

However, to navigate, users can use Alt+ Left arrow (windows OS) as shortcut key to go back to the previous page. And Mac users can use command + Left arrow for the same.

To enable the backspace key again in Firefox

If any user still want to continue using the backspace key as forward/backward page navigation, then they can enable it by following the steps:

  • Type “about:config” into address bar of Firefox browser;
  • Next, search for “ browser.backspace_action and set its value to ‘0’.

After this, you can now use the backspace key to go back to the previous page on the Firefox browser.

So, for now the backspace key does not work in Google Chrome, Edge and now Mozilla Firefox too.

However, they all offers an alternative to this:

For Chrome, to use this feature, you need to download an extension from chrome store named as “Go Back With Backspace

For Microsoft Edge, it should be enabling the flag “Assigns the Backspace key to go back a page” within the edge://flags. This will enable the forward/backward navigation using the shift+Backspace and Backspace keys.

Sources: Techdows and Bleeping Computer


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