There is a fine line between privacy and flexibility. Some think the options could really affect the privacy while others might think they offer flexibility. The thumbnails on the browser’s home page and new tab page are one simple example for this topic. Though it helps easily accessing the previously opened pages, it is not always the case. Sometimes you might have accessed some personal or confidential sites. When you open the browser in front of all, it will show those sites with thumbnail images. Every new tab page will also show the thumbnails making it annoying.
New Tab Page Thumbnails – Chrome Vs Firefox Quantum
Both Chrome and Firefox Quantum browsers will show the thumbnail history on a new tab page. Unfortunately, Chrome does not offer default way to remove those thumbnails and we have explained in a separate article how to remove those thumbnails form Google Chrome browser.
Firefox, better known for its privacy features, at least allow disabling the thumbnails and show blank page when you open a new tab. You can also make the blank home page so that it will be blank when you open Firefox.
Firefox New Tab Page
Firefox Quantum shows four major items on the new tab and hoe pages.
- Web Search box – search box with Google search engine. Remember Google is the default search engine in Firefox. You can change this if you prefer with Bing or Yahoo!
- Top Sites – list of most accessed sites with thumbnails.
- Highlights – list of sites that you have visited or did some action on the page like bookmarking, downloading or saved to Pocket.
- Snippets – suggestions and updates from Mozilla.
These are the default items shown on Firefox home page, new tabs and new windows. Below is how the default Firefox Quantum browser’s home page will look like. Let us check out how to remove these items.
Remove Thumbnails from Firefox Home and New Tab Page
Open Firefox browser and click on the gear icon shown just below the top right corner.
You can also open the shortcut URL about:preferences#home to reach Firefox customization page. There will be two sections on this page.
- New Windows and Tabs
- Firefox Home Content
Showing Blank Page – New Windows and Tabs Section
If you like to show a complete blank page for home and new tabs then choose “Blank Page” from the dropdown against “Home page and new windows” and “New tabs”.
Now open a new tab and see that Firefox has no annoying thumbnails. Note that the new tab page will have no gear or Firefox icons and will be completely blank.
Disabling Top Sites and Highlights – Firefox Home Content
As mentioned, showing blank page will also remove search box which you may need for quicker search. Therefore, in this case, you can enable or disable individual components under “Firefox Home Content” section. You can disable top sites, highlights and snippets checkboxes and enable web search option.
This will allow having search box on the new tab page while removing other thumbnails.
In addition, you have an option to show the top sites in 1 or 2 rows when viewed in larger screens. On mobile or small screens, the thumbnails will automatically adjust according to the available width of the browser. Firefox does not offer option to control the number of thumbnails shown for top sites and highlights.
Managing Top Sites Section
Open a new tab page when top sites and highlights sections are enabled. Hover over the section and click on the three dots. You can remove the entire section, collapse and move up or down. When you remove the section, it essentially remove the checkbox in the customization settings as explained above. Hover over individual thumbnail on top sites section and click on the three dots button.
You can pin, edit the URL, set custom image and dismiss the site from the list.
Managing Highlights Section
Similarly, you can do different actions on thumbnails under highlights section like bookmarking, save to Pocket, dismiss and delete from history.
You can also remove or collapse the entire highlights section.
Setting Custom Home Page
You may be interested in visiting certain webpages, whenever you open the browser. In this case, follow the below instructions:
- Go back to “New Windows and Tabs” section.
- Select the “Custom URLs…” option against “Home page and new windows”.
- Enter the website’s URL you want to set as a home page. You can also set the home page from bookmarks or from the current opened pages.
- When you want to add more than one site, just use | as separator between URLs.
- All the entered URLs will open when you launch the browser or open a new window.
You can only set custom pages for home and new windows. Firefox does not have the option to set custom pages for new tabs. You can use either the default or a blank page.
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