Mozilla to disable backspace key in Firefox to stop data loss

Google and Microsoft both disabled the Backspace key in Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers that allows users to go back to a previous web page when pressed by citing data loss. Mozilla has now joined them, the company has disabled the Backspace and Shift+ Backspace keyboard shortcuts for forward/backward page navigations in Firefox 86.

Pressing this key does nothing in this version. Firefox still allows to make the shortcut work via a hidden pref and you can also use another shortcut Alt+ Left arrow (command + Left arrow on Mac) to go back to the last visited page.

Firefox v86 removes Backspace as a shortcut for navigation

As of now, the backspace key no longer works in Chrome, Google is offering an extension on Chrome Web Store for that to work.

When comes to the new Edge, Microsoft is smart enough to offer a flag. The flag when enabled helps in forward and backward navigations with shift+Backspace and Backspace keys.

You should be using the “Assigns the Backspace key to go back a page” flag in edge://flags and restart the browser for those key combinations to work.

Why Mozilla wants to turn off Backspace key functionality in Firefox?

After all, according to a bug filed 7 years back, “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”.

Firefox version 86 is affected by this change.

The bug states existing users won’t be affected, but the shortcut won’t work by default for new profiles or after a profile reset.

To make the backspace key work again in Firefox

  1. Visit about:config
  2. Find and change the following preference value to 0.
  3. You can also use the Alt+ Left arrow shortcut for back navigation in Firefox.

What’s your take on this change? Do you use the Backspace Keyboard shortcut? Let us know in the comments below.

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