Modern browsers have features that send user data over the internet, and Firefox is no exception. For instance, Firefox by default contacts Google, Yahoo and Mozilla servers to do its thing behind the scene. Since these features have their benefits, we don’t recommend you disable them altogether. However, by the end of this article you’ll hopefully have a better understanding of what these various features are and how to fine-tune them.
The simple bit first: open a private browsing window by clicking menu > New Private Window and you can browse privately without leaving your internet foot prints on your PC.
Stop Suggested Sites from showing on your New Tab page
When you start a new tab in your Firefox, it’ll you show you a page that has links to websites. These sites include your most frequented sites and suggestions from Mozilla.
It’s especially relevant to state that previously Mozilla used to display sponsored advertisement as site suggestions, which it has now replaced with “content discovery”.
To keep Firefox from fetching and subsequently displaying suggested sites, all it takes is a click on the gear icon at the top right corner of the new tab page and unchecking “Include suggested sites”. If you want a blank page, select “Show blank page”.
You can make Firefox behave your way by making changes in its “Options”. Click menu > Options to open the “Options” window.
As you type something in Firefox’s search box, it sends your keystroke to your set search engine. The search engine gives you suggested searches as you’re typing.
If you don’t want Firefox to send searches to the search engine until you hit Enter, select the “Search” category on the “Option” page and uncheck the “Provide search suggestions”.
Firefox by default doesn’t send your input in the address bar to your search engine to get suggestions. However, if you enable the “Show search suggestions in location bar results” option, it’ll also give you search suggestions whilst typing in the address bar.
Customize Privacy Settings
There are other useful options in the “Privacy” on the “Options” screen, including:
Use Tracking Protection in Private Windows: Firefox automatically blocks web trackers, but only when you’re private browsing. Click “Change Blocklist” to beef up tracking protection. If you don’t want Firefox to block tracking sites, disable the feature.
Manage your Do Not Track settings:
Firefox sends a “do not track” request to websites when you’re private browsing. If you want Firefox to send a “don not track” request to every website you visit, click “Manage your Do Not Track settings”. However, this is only and request you can’t tell if a website will honor it – most websites don’t.
Firefox’s default settings allow it to remember your history and let websites place cookies on your device. If you like Firefox to always be in private mode, set it to “never remember history”. The “Use custom settings for history” option will custom set it to your liking. For instance, set it to not accept third party cookies, or clear history upon exit.
This option lets you decide what you want (or don’t want) Firefox to suggest as you type something in the address bar.
The “Security” option let’s you control Firefox’s behavior towards Google Safe browsing service.
Block dangerous and deceptive content:
With this feature enabled, Firefox will automatically download a list of dangerous web addresses from Google at regular intervals. When you visit a web address, Firefox verifies it against the addresses on its list and blocks it if there’s a match.
Block dangerous downloads:
Firefox blocks the downloading of a file if its address has a match on the list of bad pages. If it doesn’t, Firefox will still send its information to Google’s Safe Browsing service for a safety and malware test. On windows systems, Firefox doesn’t send data on downloads from trusted sources like Microsoft to Google.
Warn me about unwanted and uncommon software:
This option works in the same manner as “Block dangerous downloads” option. With this option enabled, Firefox will alert you if it finds the software you’re trying to download to fall in “potentially unwanted programs”.
Tell Firefox What Browser Data to Sync
You can restore your synced browser data (history, add-ons etc) from your Firefox Account on a new PC.
To tell Firefox what to sync, go to the “Sync” pane on Firefox options window and set your options. “Disconnecting” a Firefox account will stop syncing of everything.
Define Your “Data Choices”
Under the “Data Choices” on the “Advanced” pane, you can tell Firefox which information it can send to Mozilla servers.
Enable Firefox Health Report:
Firefox shares information like how long it takes to start up, health and crash frequency with Mozilla. You can disable/enable the sharing of this basic data. You can your Firefox’s health report yourself clicking menu > Help > Firefox Health Report.
Share additional data:
Enable this option to share addition details on performance, feature usage and customization and hardware specs with Mozilla to better help it improve Firefox. This option is left off by default.
Allow Firefox to send backlogged crash reports on your behalf
A Crash report is generated every time Firefox crashes, which you can send to Mozilla for diagnosis of the problem. This option is off by default.
You can tell Firefox whether or not to automatically install updates under Advanced > Updates. We recommend you don’t turn automatic updates off because they are important to ensure your online security.