Firefox, new tabs, the address bar, and focus

Volume 11, Issue 5; 09 Jan 2008; last modified 08 Oct 2010

A lazy web query. What's the deal with focus in Firefox? [Update: Patch found!]

Install Firefox on a shiny new Mac. Fire it up. Hit ⌘-T. You'll get a new tab and focus will be placed in the address bar, cursor ready for you to start typing a URI.

Wait a few days, weeks, or months.

Fire up Firefox again. Hit ⌘-T. You'll get a new tab and focus will be placed…who knows where? It's damned sure not in the address bar where it belongs though.

This has happened twice now. Once when I got the Mac and recently since I rebuilt my environment.

Does anyone know why? Or what I changed? Or, best of all, how to fix it?

[Update 22 Jan 2008] Jason pegged it. It's not one extension causing the problem, though, it's two. The problem seems to arise (only?) when VeriSign's OpenID “SeatBelt Plugin” and “Tab Mix Plus” are both enabled.

[Update 24 Jan 2008] The Tab Mix Plus folks devised a patch.


NB: ⌘-T is actually much cooler than ⌘-t (which you are describing): it opens up the last tab you just (accidentally) closed.

⌘-k: Focus to search (G:) menu [Same as Thunderbird]
⌘-l: Focus to address bar

—Posted by Keith Fahlgren on 09 Jan 2008 @ 08:10 UTC #

What extensions do you have installed? My initial suspicion is that one of those extensions is overriding the default behaviour. Perhaps temporarily disable all your extensions, and see if Firefox reverts to the original placement of focus?

—Posted by Jason Etheridge on 09 Jan 2008 @ 09:12 UTC #

I knew about ⌘-F12 to bring back a deleted tab but not ⌘-Shift-t. I deleted the search bar from my browser so I'd have more room for the address bar. (I have shortcuts for common search engines instead; "g some google search", "y some yahoo search", etc.) But at least ⌘-l will save me from fiddling with the trackpad. Thanks, Keith!

Jason, I suppose extensions are a good place to start. The bug's arrival was not coincident with a new or updated extension, so I didn't bother testing. Sloppy debugging on my part.

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 09 Jan 2008 @ 10:01 UTC #

A different extension caused the same behavior on my mac - the rewind/fastforward buttons. This was SO SO annoying, and somehow I haven't thought of extensions till now. Kept typing things in old windows even though opened new tabs...


—Posted by badolina on 12 Feb 2008 @ 01:48 UTC #

This annoys me as well; whereever the cursor might be, it´s apparently right before the adress bar, so hitting the tab right after opening the new tab also gets you there..

I´m aware that this is probably caused by tabmixplus or the like but still using shift doesn´t do the deal for me; when i open a new tab, 90% of the time i want to type something, otherwise i´d have opened it from bookmarks/recent tabs/whatever, right?

—Posted by goxinger on 02 Mar 2008 @ 04:54 UTC #

Ugh, now this is happening to me too. I'll try turning off extensions. Thanks for creating this page; I'll track it and wait for a solution.

—Posted by John B on 10 Apr 2008 @ 04:31 UTC #

I realize that this broke when I missed with my toolbars. I'd removed googlebar lite extension and was trying the firefox search box. I've reverted to googlebar lite and now focus works again as I expect when I create a new tab.

—Posted by John B on 10 Apr 2008 @ 04:35 UTC #

I want the focus to default to the search bar... any ideas of how to do this, or know if it's even possible yet?

I've been waiting for this for a while, I never type in addresses in the URL bar, in fact I think it's dangerous (whoops I went to I use as my default engine and EVERY time I open a new tab with ⌘-t I seal the deal with ⌘-k...

—Posted by David Monaghan on 13 Jun 2008 @ 02:17 UTC #

I know that this post is REALLY old, but looking for a solution, I came across this very forum. So for those who have the same problem, deactivating skype addon should fix it. At least id did work for me. Thanks

—Posted by Felipe on 04 Aug 2009 @ 01:22 UTC #