The classic Firefox desktop browser had by default a separate address bar for navigation and a search bar for search.
This however changed with Firefox 57 (Quantum) which introduced the option for a unified bar that combines the address and search bar into one. Mozilla calls it the Awesome Bar. Nevertheless, in the Search Settings one has the option to use the separate bars.
Now beside this change, the behavior of the bars hasn’t changed. Firefox still shows suggestions whenever you start typing anything in either bars. The suggestions may be fetched from any of the following sources:
- live search suggestions (autocomplete) from your default search engine e.g. Google Search
- suggestions from your search history
- browsing history and saved bookmarks addresses (in the address bar only)
- top sites
- currently opened tabs or
- synced services e.g synced tabs
While these suggestions may be useful for some, you may want to disable them for various reasons e.g. privacy. Here’s how to do it.
Disable Search Suggestions in the Address and Search Bar
- Go to Firefox Preferences > Search > Search Suggestions
- To remove suggestions from both the search and address bar remove the check mark from Provide search suggestions option.
- To disable search suggestions in the address bar only remove the check mark from the Show search suggestions in address bar results.
The above options only disable live search suggestions and not those from your search history. To disable those from the address bar check the next section.
On older versions it was however also possible to disable and clear from your search bar history. This option however seems to have been removed in newer Firefox Quantum versions.
Disabling the browsing history in the address bar as explained in the next section does however get rid of the search history suggestions but only in the unified bar. I suppose Mozilla prefers that we use the new unified bar.
If you’re still on an older version you can disable these suggestions by doing the following:
- Right-click inside the search bar and deselect the Show Suggestion options.
- To clear the existing search suggestions click the Clear Search History option.
Disable History, Bookmark and Open Tab Suggestions in the Address Bar
- Go to Firefox Preferences > Privacy and Security.
- Scroll down to the Address Bar where you’ll find options to disable browsing history, bookmark and open tab suggestions individually.
Note: As explained in the previous section , disabling browsing history will also disable your search history suggestions.
In Older Firefox Versions
- In the address bar type about:config then press Enter key. Agree to the prompt.
- Search for browser.urlbar.suggest in the search bar.
- In the results, double click the two options browser.urlbar.suggest.bookmark and browser.urlbar.suggest.history to toggle their value from true to false. The former disables bookmark suggestions while the latter option disables browsing history suggestions.
- To disable opened tabs suggestions search for browser.urlbar.suggest.openpage then double click it to toggle its value from true to false.
Disable Top Sites Suggestions
In addition to the search, bookmark and browsing history suggestions, Firefox now also suggests our “top sites” (presumably the sites we visit the most) whenever we click the address bar on a new empty tab.
To disable these suggestions do the following:
- First disable the browsing history suggestions as explained in the previous section.
- Next go to about:config in the address bar and search for: browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.topsites
- Double click this option to toggle its value to false.
Thanks to Sumit in the comments for sharing this tip with us.
Disable Synced Settings Suggestions
If you have a Firefox account and have enabled the option to sync settings across devices signed in with the account, suggestions from these other devices will appear based on what you’ve opted to synchronize e.g. history, bookmarks and opened tabs.
To disable suggestions of any of these synced settings, do the following:
- In the address bar type about:config then press Enter key.
- Next, search for services.sync.prefs.sync.browser.urlbar.suggest in the search bar.
- In the results, double click the following two options to toggle their value from true to false:
- services.sync.prefs.sync.browser.urlbar.suggest.bookmark – disables synced bookmarks suggestions
- services.sync.prefs.sync.browser.urlbar.suggest.history – disables synced history suggestions
- services.sync.prefs.sync.browser.urlbar.suggest.openpage – disables synced opened tabs suggestions
- services.sync.prefs.sync.browser.urlbar.suggest.searches – disables synced search history suggestions