Firefox 57 will ship with a redesigned new Tab Page that displays more content to the user when it is opened.
Firefox users have full control over what is displayed on the page; Mozilla plans to launch the browser with options to turn off any module that is displayed on Firefox’s New Tab page, but it is also possible to install add-ons that change the default page.
You can check out New Tab Override for instance which gives you even more control over the New Tab page of the Firefox web browser.
I previewed the changes of the Firefox 57 New Tab page here, and I suggest you check them out as they still hold true.
Basically, what Firefox displays by default is a search box, a top sites section that is prefilled for new installations and new users, and a highlights section. Top Stories, another new feature showcased in previous months in Firefox Nightly is not shown in recent versions anymore; it is unclear right now whether it will be part of Firefox 57.
Disable highlights on the Firefox New Tab Page
Mozilla defines highlights as a “way back to interesting things you’ve recently visited or bookmarked”.
Basically, what Firefox does is display sites you visited or bookmarked recently so that you are exposed to these sites or pages again, and may revisit them with a click on them in the Firefox interface.
Highlights differ from top sites in two distinct ways:
- Highlights may display media, e.g. an animated GIF that plays on the Firefox New Tab page, while Top sites are always static (thumbnail and name).
- Highlights change often, and they lead usually to inner pages of a domain and not the homepage.
Mozilla added options to the Tab Page of Firefox to disable the Highlights functionality. Some users may find it distracting or unneeded; if you are one of them, you can do the following to turn it off:
- Open the New Tab page of the Firefox web browser.
- Select the cogwheel icon in the top right corner.
- Remove the checkmark from Highlights there.
The entire Highlights section is removed immediately. You can undo the change at any time by enabling the Highlights section again in Firefox.
You may turn it off using Firefox preferences as well if you prefer that option:
- Load about:config?filter=browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.section.highlights in the Firefox address bar.
- Double-click on the preference browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.section.highlights to toggle its value.
A value of true means Highlights is enabled, a value of false that the feature is disabled.
Tip: Find out how to load any about:config entry directly.
You may add the preference to your Firefox user.js configuration file, or use it when you deploy Firefox.