Firefox 81 for Android gets an automatic tab closing option

The next version of the new Firefox mobile browser for Google’s Android operating system will include new features for automatic tab closing.

Opening and closing tabs are very different between two major groups on the web. Lean users keep a small number of tabs open in the browser and tend to close tabs quickly. Tabs, on the other hand, have dozens or even hundreds of tabs open and keep them open for a long time.

Mozilla introduces a new feature in Firefox 81 for Android that helps users close browser tabs. The feature automates tab closing in the same way that Apple’s Safari browser does.

It is disabled by default to prevent user tabs from being closed without their explicit permission. Firefox users can change the tab closing behavior from manual, the default, to (after) a day, a week, or a month.

The setting does not provide one critical piece of information: the automatic closing of tabs requires tabs to be inactive for the selected period. If you choose to close tabs after a week, all tabs that have been inactive for at least a week are automatically closed.

It is still possible to recover them using the browsing history, as long as it is not cleaned regularly.

Firefox users who want to configure the feature must be running at least version 81 of the browser. The version is currently available in beta but will be released later this month for devices with a stable channel.

Select Menu> Settings to open the Firefox preferences. Find and activate the “close tabs” option on the Settings page. The current status of the function is immediately highlighted there.

Switch the status to one of the available options e.g. up to a week and go back to check if the change has been applied. From that point on, Firefox will automatically close tabs based on the selected time period.

The feature is not enabled by default and Firefox users must enable it before tabs are automatically closed in the browser. The main effects of an automatic behavior are that memory usage can be reduced and tab management has been improved. However, an option to add all auto-closed tabs to a specific bookmarks folder may have been a useful addition as these tabs can be lost forever if users have configured the browser to delete browsing history regularly.