Bug in Firefox 3 for Mac with search/location bar field focus

UPDATE: I have found through a long process of trial and error that it was the Google Personalised Homepage (google.com/ig) screwing up the Firefox search box focus. Presumably it’s still a bug in Firefox, as it shouldn’t happen, but it’s something to do with how Google uses Javascript to steal focus for its in-page search box. I created a version of the Google homepage saved locally to disk in which I removed the steal-focus Javascript code. Unfortunately of course, that means I can only have a static Google search page as my homepage which means I lose the benefits of the nice Google personalised homepage. But it’s a lesser price to pay in order to have the Firefox keyboard shortcuts working as they should.


Anyone else having a problem with Firefox 3 for Mac having multiple fields at once ‘focused’, making it impossible to copy/clear/type new data into the contents of the field?

I make extensive use of the CMD+F (find within page), CMD+L (location bar) and CMD+K (web search) shortcuts in Firefox. But since the release of Firefox 3.0 for Mac, Firefox frequently gets confused about which field should be ‘focused’ (the field that is active at the time.)

Right now, for example, my location bar is focused as well as the search field. Typing CMD+K highlights the contents of the field selects all the text in the field as you’d expect, but typing something new into the field doesn’t actually enter any data. You have to mouse up to the field and click on it, which defeats the purpose of having keyboard shortcuts in the first place.

Here’s a screenshot of the problem in action — both the location bar and the web search field are focused/active, so typing a value doesn’t have any result unless I actually click in one of the fields.

firefox-problem

It’s driving me barmy, and, even worse, I can’t find any mention of it from other users on the web. Perhaps I’m searching for the wrong keywords, or perhaps nobody uses keyboard shortcuts in Firefox for Mac as much as I do.

I will say one thing though: quitting Firefox and restarting it fixes the problem for a little while. After some hours of use, it comes back again. I haven’t been able to pin down the variables involved with it happening — whether it’s a certain number of browser tabs open, multiple browser windows, or what.

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13 Replies to “Bug in Firefox 3 for Mac with search/location bar field focus”

  1. Being a reluctant Mac newbie at work, i am seriously peeved at the crap, inconsistent support for keyboard shortcuts in Mac OS apps. Even basic stuff like jumping forwards and backwards one word is different between applications.
    Fine, Apple invented the GUI, or stole it from Xerox, but you really get the feeling they expect you to use a mouse for everything.

  2. Being a reluctant Mac newbie at work, i am seriously peeved at the crap, inconsistent support for keyboard shortcuts in Mac OS apps. Even basic stuff like jumping forwards and backwards one word is different between applications.
    Fine, Apple invented the GUI, or stole it from Xerox, but you really get the feeling they expect you to use a mouse for everything.

  3. Being a reluctant Mac newbie at work, i am seriously peeved at the crap, inconsistent support for keyboard shortcuts in Mac OS apps. Even basic stuff like jumping forwards and backwards one word is different between applications.
    Fine, Apple invented the GUI, or stole it from Xerox, but you really get the feeling they expect you to use a mouse for everything.

  4. Yep, they do, young Murgatroyd.

    But on the FF question, I’ve had this (or similar) as a problem for a while, most notably when opening a new Tab. FF should default to the address bar — but often doesn’t. In my case, it’s usually a sign it’s been open too long, and needs a restart.

    If only I liked Safari…

  5. Yep, they do, young Murgatroyd.

    But on the FF question, I’ve had this (or similar) as a problem for a while, most notably when opening a new Tab. FF should default to the address bar — but often doesn’t. In my case, it’s usually a sign it’s been open too long, and needs a restart.

    If only I liked Safari…

  6. Yep, they do, young Murgatroyd.

    But on the FF question, I’ve had this (or similar) as a problem for a while, most notably when opening a new Tab. FF should default to the address bar — but often doesn’t. In my case, it’s usually a sign it’s been open too long, and needs a restart.

    If only I liked Safari…

  7. Thank you so much for noticing that the Google homepage was doing it, at least I can avoid that while I wait for a fix from FF. This has been driving me up the freaking wall too and is still present in 3.5.

  8. Thank you so much for noticing that the Google homepage was doing it, at least I can avoid that while I wait for a fix from FF. This has been driving me up the freaking wall too and is still present in 3.5.

  9. Thank you so much for noticing that the Google homepage was doing it, at least I can avoid that while I wait for a fix from FF. This has been driving me up the freaking wall too and is still present in 3.5.

  10. For the most part, when I cmd+k, I can actually get 5 or 6 characters typed before firefox loses focus. Here's to hoping this gets resolved soon.

  11. For the most part, when I cmd+k, I can actually get 5 or 6 characters typed before firefox loses focus. Here's to hoping this gets resolved soon.

  12. For the most part, when I cmd+k, I can actually get 5 or 6 characters typed before firefox loses focus. Here's to hoping this gets resolved soon.

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