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Zero regrets: Firefox power user kept 7,500 tabs open for two years

In brief: For most of us, having more than a couple dozen browser tabs open at once feels like a cluttered nightmare. But for one software engineer, managing nearly 7,500 active Firefox tabs is just another day at the office.

Hazel, who prefers not to share her last name, is what you’d call a hardcore Firefox fan and self-proclaimed “tab hoarder.” She recently posted a screenshot showing a mind-boggling 7,470 tabs open simultaneously in the Mozilla browser. Turns out, Firefox had some trouble restoring the gargantuan tab load initially, but Hazel was able to revive the vast digital collection via the browser’s profile cache functionality.

“I feel like a part of me is restored,” Hazel wrote on X after getting her 7,000+ tabs back from the great digital beyond. We’ve all felt that little pang of anxiety when our browser crashes with tons of tabs we’ve been meaning to get back to, so we get it.

But what’s the deal with Hazel’s extreme browser usage? In her words, the memory impact of running that many Firefox tabs is actually “marginal.” The session file containing all 7,470 tabs is only around 70MB in size, and Firefox optimizes things by only loading tabs into memory if they’ve been opened recently.

This aligns with what Mozilla told PCMag about the browser’s ability to handle extreme tab hoarding. A Mozilla representative confirmed that having countless tabs open consumes “practically no memory whatsoever” in Firefox.

“We’re working hard to provide people with even better tools for managing dozens to thousands of tabs,” the Mozilla spokesperson said. “While we think it’s amazing that anyone has 7,000 active tabs, it also shows the degree to which tab management is a common problem.”

Indeed, tab groups have been a highly requested Firefox feature for years now. If it had that functionality, users like Hazel could easily group together all 7,500 of their open tabs, minimize the group, and temporarily pretend that massive tab debt doesn’t exist – at least until they need to dive back in.

Currently, Firefox users can create different user profiles to segregate workflows and open tab sets, but more granular tab organization is on the way. Mozilla says it will roll out an improved profiles system and new tab management capabilities later in 2024.

In the meantime, there are third-party Firefox add-ons that can help tame tab situations like these to a certain extent.

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