I want to open a new tab in an existing Firefox instance through bash. Older answers point towards the -remote command line option, but this switch has been depreciated since Firefox 39. The new way to accomplish this is by using the --new-tab option:

firefox --new-tab

However, on Ubuntu this opens a new window instead.

1 Answer 1


What's completely undocumented is that Firefox expects a --url parameter and will launch a new window otherwise. If you don't want the new tab to navigate to a url, give about:newtab as the url parameter.

firefox --new-tab --url about:newtab
  • 2
    The correct command is firefox -new-tab about:newtab
    – vanadium
    Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 19:14
  • This answer is hard to read because you're using incorrect grammar, it's a simple fix just change "an url" to "a url"...
    – user535764
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 13:34
  • @TheresaLane i rejected your edit because you changed it to "otherwise it will launch a new window otherwise" which is even more confusing in my opinion. I've repaced the "an" with "a" now
    – Boltgolt
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 14:09
  • @TheresaLane i can't fix an edit, only accept or reject it
    – Boltgolt
    Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 15:03
  • 3
    I'm getting the following error when trying this: Firefox is already running, but is not responding. To use Firefox, you must first close the existing Firefox process, restart your device, or use a different profile.
    – ucsky
    Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 9:26

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