Firefox: Mozilla disables the Backspace key on the keyboard to avoid crashes

Firefox becomes unresponsive when pressing the Backspace key – to prevent accidental loss of what you write in forms. This key could indeed until now be used both to delete text and return to the previous page, depending on where the cursor is.

Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox on Mac / Credits: Unsplash

It’s here conclusion of a debate (incidentally not very exciting, we grant you) which began 7 years ago on the Mozilla forums. Should we keep the shortcut of the Backspace key which offers an alternative to the previous page button? Depending on where your cursor is in Firefox, pressing this key, which we have become accustomed to using 90% of the time to delete text, can actually do just that, or come back. on the previous page.

The problem is that this behavior is often confusing. There are especially those cases where the browser returns to the previous page while you were filling out a form. Then causing the loss of the data you just entered. This shortcut, almost as old as the Internet, is a regular source of errors, which has led most competing browsers to remove it. As early as 2014 Chrome for example made the decision to part with this shortcut.

Read also: Firefox – Internet users have massively abandoned the browser in 10 years

Mozilla: pressing the Backspace key no longer returns to the previous page

But during a debate of the same content in 2014, the Firefox community preferred instead to keep it. Today, Firefox and Internet Explorer 11 are the only ones to understand the Backspace key as a shortcut to return to the previous page. Finally … we should rather say that there is only Internet Explorer 11 because the Mozilla Foundation has finally decided to deactivate this annoying shortcut.

Mozilla explains: “Navigation to the previous page via the Backspace key shortcut has been disabled to prevent data loss when filling out forms. To re-enable the Backspace shortcut, you can change the preference in about: config by setting browser.backspace_action to 0. You can also use the recommended key combination instead of Alt + Left Arrow (or Cmd + Left Arrow on Mac) ”.

Change is included in the latest Firefox Nightly 86.0a1 version – so this will be the default behavior as soon as you apply the update. Mozilla recently proposed a redesign of its browser in version 83 with the arrival of HTTPS only and better performance. Even though the browser has been losing speed for several years, Firefox remains recommended by the government as an alternative to Chrome. It can even recently replace Safari as the default browser in iPhones running iOS 14.