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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 enable the classic separate bars.

Now, beside this change, the behavior of the bars hasn’t changed that much. 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

A screenshot showing Firefox address bars.
Unified Bar and Classic Address Bar

In older versions of Firefox, it was possible to disable search suggestions separately for each of the bars. This option was deprecated in later versions, and now the search suggestions settings for both bars are linked, whether unified or separate.

You can disable them as follows:

  1. Go to Firefox Settings > Search > Search Suggestions
  2. To remove suggestions from both the search and address bar, remove the check mark from Provide search suggestions option.
  3. 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 clear your past searches from being suggested, go to Settings > Privacy and Security and under History click the Clear History… button. You can then clear the searches by checking the Form & search history option.

Alternatively, if you’ve the search bar enabled, you can right-click inside it and select the Clear Search History option.

A screenshot showing the Search bar context menu in Firefox browser.

This will clear the search history for both bars and not just the search bar.

Disable History, Bookmark and Open Tab Suggestions in the Address Bar

  1. Go to Firefox Settings > Privacy and Security.
  2. Scroll down to the Address Bar
  3. There you’ll find options to disable browsing history, bookmark and open tab suggestions individually.

In Older Firefox Versions

  1. In the address bar type about:config then press Enter key. Agree to the prompt.
  2. Search for browser.urlbar.suggest in the search bar.
  3. 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.
    bookmark history suggestions
  4. To disable opened tabs suggestions search for browser.urlbar.suggest.openpage then double click it to toggle its value from true to false.
    tabs suggestions

Disable Top Sites Suggestions (Shortcuts)

In addition to the search, bookmark and browsing history suggestions, Firefox now also suggests our “top sites” (i.e. the sites we visit the most) whenever we click the address bar on a new empty tab.

To disable these suggestions, do the following:

  1. Go to Firefox Settings > Privacy and Security.
  2. Scroll down to the Address Bar.
  3. Disable the Shortcuts option.

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.

A screenshot showing Firefox 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:
    • disable synced bookmarks suggestions: services.sync.prefs.sync.browser.urlbar.suggest.bookmark
    • disable synced history suggestions: services.sync.prefs.sync.browser.urlbar.suggest.history
    • disable synced opened tabs suggestions: services.sync.prefs.sync.browser.urlbar.suggest.openpage
    • disable synced search history suggestions: services.sync.prefs.sync.browser.urlbar.suggest.searches
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Kelvin Kathia

Kelvin Kathia is a blogger passionate about finding and sharing solutions to everyday tech problems. He's the founder and editor of Journey Bytes, a tech blog and web design agency. Feel free to leave him comments or questions regarding this post or by leaving him a message on the contact page. If you found his content helpful, a donation is much appreciated.



8 Comments

  1. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. I don’t have provide search suggestions the search options checked and haven’t for several months. I still get suggestions that have nothing to do with what I’m searching for. Any suggestions?

    1. Kelvin Administrator

      Hello Sonnyboy, which options from this post have you tried changing? Also what kind of suggestions are you still getting and what version of Firefox are you currently using?

      1. Try changing this:
        browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.topsites
        By default firefox shows top sites when we click on address bar. Setting above variable to false will disable it(you can find it on the about:config page).

      2. How do you get it to JUST show the address in the address bar?

        Previously if i typed ‘g’ in the address bar it would give me auto-complete for sites I had visited beginning with ‘g’. Now instead of giving me sites beinning with ‘g’ it gives me sites I’ve visited that have a ‘g’ somewhere in the title which is really un-useful.

        I’d also like to remove the title from displaying at all, its just the address Im interested in, so instead of:
        “DuckDuckGo Privacy Simplified – duckduckgo.com”
        I want to see:
        “https://duckduckgo.com”

        Is there a way to do that?

            1. Kelvin Administrator

              Nice! I agree, some of these updates since Quantum have only made things harder for long time FF users.

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