Mozilla Firefox disabling backspace key to prevent data loss


Mozilla Firefox is disabling the browser’s backspace key to prevent users from accidentally losing data typed into forms.

In 2014, Google removed the ability to go back to a previous page by using the backspace key as it could cause the loss of data entered into forms on the current page.

“Would be useful to determine how commonly backspace is used as a “back” action shortcut, so we can figure out if we need to tweak the UX somehow to avoid accidental loss of form data due to mistyping the backspace key,” Google Chrome developers stated in a 2014 bug post.

Seven years ago, Mozilla opened a bug post to discuss whether the backspace key should be disabled but decided at the time not to make any changes.

Over six years later, Mozilla has finally decided to implement this change after Firefox and Internet Explorer 11 are the only browsers to support this keyboard shortcut.

“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,” Firefox Release Manager Pascal Chevrel added to the Firefox Nightly 86.0a1 release notes.

According to TechDows, who first reported on this change, the change is now live in the latest Firefox nightly build for users to test.

For those who wish to continue using the backspace key, you can enable it again in about:config using the following steps:

  1. Enter about:config in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Search for browser.backspace_action and change its value to ‘0’.

Once the setting is enabled, you can use the backspace key to go back to the previous page in Firefox.

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