Disable Firefox Address and Search Bar Suggestions

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.

firefox address search bar
Firefox Address and Search Bars

Now beside this change, the behaviour of the bars hasn’t changed. Firefox still shows suggestions whenever you start typing anything in either bars. The suggestions may be fetched from the following five 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)
  • currently opened tabs or
  • synced services e.g synced tabs

While these suggestions are useful, you may want to disable them for various reasons e.g. privacy. Here’s how to do it.


Disable Search Suggestions in the Address Bar

1. Go to the address bar, and with nothing typed in it, click the down facing arrow on the far right.

address bar down arrow
Address Bar Down Arrow

2. At the far right bottom of the drop down window, click the Change search settings gear icon.

search gear
Change Search Settings Gear

3. That will open Firefox Search Settings. Now just below the Default Search Engine disable remove the checkmark from the Provide search suggestions option.

search suggestions settings
Default Search Engine Settings

Disable History and Bookmark Suggestions in the Address Bar

1. In the address bar type about:config then press Enter key. Agree to the prompt.

2. Next, search for browser.urlbar.suggest in the search bar.

3. In the results, double click the following two options to toggle their value from true to false:

  • browser.urlbar.suggest.bookmark
  • browser.urlbar.suggest.history
change values
Double-click to change values

Disable Opened Tabs Suggestions in the Address Bar

Firefox will also suggest opened tabs in the address bar. You can identify these suggestions by the tab icon on their side and the Switch to tab label.

opened tabs
Opened Tabs Suggestions

To disable them do the following:

1. Repeat the first two steps in the previous section.

2. Then double click the following result to toggle its value from true to false: browser.urlbar.suggest.openpage

opened tabs value
Opened Tabs Value

You’ll now not see suggestions from your default search engine, history, bookmarks and opened tabs when you type anything in the address bar. To restore the suggestions, restore the checkmark for the search suggestions and toggle the changed boolean values back to true.

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 synchronise e.g. history, bookmarks and opened tabs.

synced settings
Sync Settings

To disable suggestions of any of these synced settings, do the following:

1. In the address bar type about:config then press Enter key.

2. Next, search for services.sync.prefs.sync.browser.urlbar.suggest in the search bar.

3. 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
synced suggestions
Synced Suggestions Values

Disable Search Bar Suggestions

The search bar has only two types of suggestions:

  • live search suggestions from your default search engine
  • suggestions from your search bar history

To disable both, do the following:

1. Right-click inside the search bar and deselect the Show Suggestion options

search bar menu
Search Bar Right-click Options

2. To clear the existing search suggestions click the Clear Search History option.

The Show Suggestions option is linked to the Provide search suggestions option in the settings. Thus, disabling either will turn off the search engine suggestions for both the address and search bar.

You therefore cannot retain suggestions in the search bar whilst it’s disabled in the address bar and vice versa.

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