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Settings for privacy, browsing history and do-not-track

This article describes the settings that are available in the Firefox OptionsPreferences Privacy panel.

The Privacy panel allows you to:

  • Control how Firefox handles your history, which includes what pages you've visited, what files you've downloaded, what you've entered into forms, and what cookies sites have sent you.
  • Control what sites can send you cookies and remove cookies that sites have sent you.
  • Control how the Location bar (address bar) uses your history to suggest matches for what you type in it.

Privacy panel 38

Tracking

Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked: Checking this box will tell websites that you wish to opt-out of tracking by advertisers and other third-parties. Honoring this setting is voluntary — individual websites are not required to respect it. See How do I turn on the Do Not Track feature? for more information.

Fx42PrivacyPanel Fx43PrivacyPanel

Tracking

Request that sites not track you: Checking this box will tell websites that you wish to opt-out of tracking by advertisers and other third-parties. Honoring this setting is voluntary — individual websites are not required to respect it. See How do I turn on the Do Not Track feature? for more information.

Use tracking protection in Private Windows: Checking this box will make Firefox actively block domains and sites that are known to track users while browsing with Private Windows. Click Change Block List to choose the list Firefox uses to block trackers. See Private Browsing - Use Firefox without saving history and Tracking Protection in Private Browsing for more information.

Fx46PrivacyPanel

Tracking

Use tracking protection in Private Windows: Checking this box will make Firefox actively block domains and sites that are known to track users while browsing with Private Windows. Click Change Block List to choose the list Firefox uses to block trackers. See Private Browsing - Use Firefox without saving history and Tracking Protection in Private Browsing for more information.

You can also manage your Do Not Track settings. The Do Not Track feature is turned off by default. To turn it on, click manage your Do Not Track settings and then check the box, Use Do Not Track.

do not track fx46

You can also manage your Do Not Track settings. The Do Not Track feature is turned off by default except in Private Browsing where it is always on. To turn it on, click manage your Do Not Track settings and then check the box, Always apply Do Not Track.

Fx49DoNotTrack

See How do I turn on the Do Not Track feature? for more information.

History

The Firefox will setting controls how Firefox saves information about your web browsing.

Remember history

When Firefox will is set to Remember history:

Click on:

Never remember history

When Firefox will is set to Never remember history:

Using Never remember history is equivalent to always being in Firefox Private Browsing mode. For more information, see Private Browsing - Use Firefox without saving history.

Click on clear all current history to open the Clear Recent History window, which allows you to erase some or all of your history quickly. For more information, see Delete browsing, search and download history on Firefox.

Use custom settings for history

Use custom settings for history

When Firefox will is set to Use custom settings for history, the following settings will be available:

Location Bar

The Location Bar is the field where you enter a site's web address (URL). The Location Bar suggests results as you type in a search based on the following:

fx38 location bar Fx42PrivacyPanel-LocationBar
  • History: If selected, sites you've previously visited will appear on your results list.
  • Bookmarks: Sites you've bookmarked will appear on your results list. These results appear with the blue star next to them.
  • Open tabs: Select this if you want tabs that are currently open to appear in your results list. This is especially useful if you have many tabs open.

Click on Change preferences for search engine suggestions… to go to the Search OptionsPreferences panel, where you can enable or disable search suggestions from your preferred search engine. See How can I control what results the location bar shows me? for details.

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Version History
Revision #:
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Last update:
3 weeks ago
Updated by:
 
Comments
AlanBaxter

Starting with Fx 4.0, Firefox no longer retains a default number of days of history. I suggest "* Your browsing history, which is the list of pages you've visited, will be kept for 90 days." be replaced with "{for fx35}* Your browsing history, which is the list of pages you've visited, will be kept for 90 days.{/for}{for fx4}* Firefox will keep a record of your browsing history, which is the list of pages you've visited."{/for}

See /forums/knowledge-base-articles/704945 for related discussions about this article.

underpass

Don't know which version is the last one to have this option but in version 13 the preference Remember download history is not available.

You're right. Under "Use custom settings for history", the settings "Remember my browsing history" and Remember download history" are now combined into a single setting, Remember my browsing and download history. I uploaded a screenshot for Windows 7 here:

I posted a link to this thread in the Knowledge Base Articles forum "Firefox 13 Updates" thread, here, to make sure that Michael Verdi sees it.

Hi Alice and Underpass ;)

I downloaded version 11 and 12 to check, and the options "Remember my browsing History" and "Remember download history" are still two divided options. The change occurred with Firefox 13.

Personal opinion, I think that combining the two options was not a very "happy" idea.

michro said

Personal opinion, I think that combining the two options was not a very "happy" idea.

I agree. They were better separated..

Hi Alex, Your revision is great. I have two small things that I think will improve it:

  • Line 17 reads: "You should not that this does not mean that you will not be tracked, in fact it's effectively the same as the previous option, and you are likely going to be tracked." There is a typo (not should be note) and the sentence can probably be broken in to two like this: "You should note that this does not mean that you will not be tracked. In fact, it's effectively the same as the previous option and you are likely going to be tracked."
  • Instead of linking to How do I turn on the Do Not Track feature? in each section, how about adding that as a note that's visible to everyone?

Thanks, Michael

Thanks Michael! I just reformed the article and corrected the typo. Please, have a look!

I set up a "Needs change" entry to update this article for Firefox 36.

Windows screenshot (Firefox 36 Beta5): /en-US/gallery/image/21206

Fx36optionsPrivacy-Win7

[[Image:Fx36optionsPrivacy-Win7]]

Under Tracking, Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked is now the only option. Other tracking options (Tell sites that I want to be tracked and Do not tell sites anything about my tracking preferences) have been removed.

Note: There's already a revision to How do I turn on the Do Not Track feature? based on this change (I approved it).

Done.

It still needs Mac and Linux screenshots.

I'm sorry. This article needs more updating then I first thought. The Location Bar section also needs updating, since there are three options now, History, Bookmarks and Open tabs, which can be selected in different combinations, or you can deselect all (no more drop-down list).

I also noticed that another screenshot is needed when "Use custom settings for history" is selected. I uploaded this one: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/gallery/image/21214

Fx36optionsPrivacyCustom-Win7

[[Image:Fx36optionsPrivacyCustom-Win7]]

Thank you, both.

I've updated the "Location Bar" section. I also took Alice's screenshot, cropped it, and added it to the History section.

I'll wait a day before marking it RFL in case anyone catches any mistakes that I've missed.

I made a new revision to add a placeholder for a Mac image next to the new Windows and Linux images at the top of the article. I moved the new, cropped {for fx36}[[Image:custom history fx36]]{/for}{/nowiki} under "Use custom settings for history" (you had it under the History section). I also removed some outdated {for} content for versions older than fx13. Could you review? I think I got it right.

P.S. The Awesome Bar - Search your Firefox bookmarks, history and tabs from the address bar article, which is linked from the top of this article, also needs updating for fx36. I set up a Discussion thread and Needs change entry for that.

AliceWyman said

I made a new revision to add a placeholder for a Mac image next to the new Windows and Linux images at the top of the article.

Approved. Thanks, Alice. I've also revised the Awesome Bar - Search your Firefox bookmarks, history and tabs from the address bar article. I'll wait until someone looks at it with fresh eyes before self-reviewing it.

Thanks! Joni

I added a "Needs Change" entry, [Fx42] Update screenshot, "Tracking" section for new option, "Use Tracking Protection in Private Windows"

Here's a screenshot (Firefox 42 on Windows 7) [[Image:Fx42PrivacyPanel]]

Fx42PrivacyPanel

The "Learn more" link goes to the new Tracking Protection in Private Browsing article.

Also, the first "Tracking" option is now called Request that sites not track you (the fx41 option was, "Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked").

Related discussion under the Private Browsing - Use Firefox without saving history and Tracking Protection in Firefox articles.

I reviewed the last revision by underpass and made a new revision to use the above screenshot and I removed old content.

Why is the Firefox 42 screenshot set {for win}?

Marko said

Why is the Firefox 42 screenshot set {for win}?

Oops. Fixed.

This was posted in the Tracking Protection in Private Browsing article discussion.

ideato said

New in 43, "change block list" button beside "Use tracking protection in private windows" change block list fx43 if you click the button you get the next window change block list window fx43

I set up a "Needs change" entry.

I updated the article with a new screenshot for Fx43, [[Image: Fx43PrivacyPanel]].

Fx43PrivacyPanel

We should make a new revision to describe the "Change Block List" button and remove outdated sections (e.g., {for not fx36}) so I left a needs change entry and approved my revision as a minor edit.

Under Location Bar settings for fx42, there's a new "Change preferences for search engine suggestions..." link to the Search panel, described in the Awesome Bar - Search your Firefox bookmarks, history and tabs from the address bar article. We should mention that new option and link to the How can I control what results the location bar shows me? section of the Awesome Bar article for details. We should also either update the Location Bar image or remove the outdated image from the end of the article since the Privacy panel screenshot already shows the same Location Bar settings.

I see that philipp already has a revision pending for fx44 based on Bug 606655 - Remove "Ask me everytime" cookies option so this should be incorporated.

I made a new revision with the above changes and some other edits.

AliceWyman said

We should make a new revision to describe the "Change Block List" button and remove outdated sections (e.g., {for not fx36})

I just made a new edit to a revision that was already pending and included the above changes.

Firefox 46, 47 and Firefox 48 both have a new Privacy panel item, You can also manage your Do Not Track settings Screenshot using Firefox 47 (on Windows 7) fx47PrivacyPanel Fx46PrivacyPanel

Fx46PrivacyPanel

Clicking on the "manage your Do Not Track settings" link opens a Do Not Track dialog box with a Use Do Not Track checkbox (blank by default) and a "Learn more" link that goes to https://www.mozilla.org/firefox/dnt/

Edit: here's the image and description of the Do Not Track dialog, from the How do I turn on the Do Not Track feature? article:

{for fx46} The Do Not Track feature is turned off by default. To turn it on:

  1. [[T:OptionsPreferences]]
  2. Select the {menu Privacy} panel.
  3. Click manage your Do Not Track settings.
  4. Check Use Do Not Track.
    do not track fx46
  5. [[T:CloseOptionsPreferences]]

{/for}

The new entry is actually from Firefox 46. See: How do I turn on the Do Not Track feature?.

I made a new revision to update this article for Firefox 46.

AliceWyman said

.......I made a new revision to update this article for Firefox 46.

Done.