An annoying thing mostly, but occasionally results in data loss. It happens when I am typing - as I am now - in a browser window in Firefox on my MacBook Pro (2016, Mojave 10.14.6).

When I'm typing on a SE site, I get a warning, asking for confirmation that I want to leave the page:

enter image description here

This is the same warning you'll get if you hit the "Back" button in Firefox after typing in a form that you've not yet posted. If I get the warning, obviously I select Stay on Page, and return to my work. But sometimes, I don't get the warning (or it happens in a flash); this is when I lose my data. The tab I'm typing in 'backs up' to the previous page instantly. When I go forward, the work/data I've entered is gone.

I've checked my touchpad settings & find nothing other than Swipe between pages that seems suspect. I disabled Swipe between pages over a year ago with no apparent effect.

Firefox also has some built-in shortcuts, but they don't look like suspects either:

enter image description here

I'm not a touch typist. The heels of my hands rest on either side of the touchpad while typing. I don't believe I am accidentally typing command + ←.

What is causing this? More importantly, how do I stop it? Is there any way to recover the data, or is it truly "lost"?

  • You talk about SE sites giving the warning but then say "But sometimes, I don't get the warning". Are you asking about the same SE sites or saying some sites do it and some don't? I always assumed giving the warning was up to the specific website as some do (on some fields) and some don't.
    – lx07
    Feb 14, 2020 at 12:12
  • Sorry for the delayed reply - I lost track of your comment. I've edited my question in an effort to eliminate the confusion. But if it's still unclear, please advise.
    – Seamus
    Feb 28, 2020 at 4:25
  • If you're not in a text box, for instance and you press the backspace key, it will attempt to navigate back. If you have pending items like text in a form, you'll get that message. This happens when you inadvertently move your cursor from the form to another element (like brushing your hand against the track pad, for instance). This can also happen if the page is automatically refreshed with items still pending in forms.
    – Allan
    Feb 28, 2020 at 4:59
  • @Allan: I don't get a "backup" when I move the cursor to another element on the page. I've tried many times to identify a track pad gesture that causes this, but haven't discovered anything. But yes, a Reload (command-R) zaps the text box input without warning. I'll put that on my "watch list" - thanks.
    – Seamus
    Feb 28, 2020 at 5:28
  • not backup, but back space. It's not a gesture I'm referring to...it's moving out of the form input box by accident, then pressing something like backspace. As far as refresh, some sites auto refresh. Just save often.
    – Allan
    Feb 28, 2020 at 5:41

1 Answer 1


It's been nearly 2.5 years since I asked this question, and I have just now found the answer.

The "culprit" was the Touch Bar - more specifically, the setting on my touch bar. And full disclosure: this probably has something to do with my awful 4-finger typing style (evolved from 2-finger).

I never use the Touch Bar, except to change display & keyboard lighting. I never pay attention to it as I've long-regarded it as brain~dead masquerding as innovation. But I finally noticed that there was an odd array of controls displayed while typing in a comment box on SE, and the control on the left looked like this: <; i.e. the browser's "back button". The ring finger on my left hand will brush against this control occasionally, and I am suddenly on the previous (or 2-5 previous) pages.

One "solution" is illustrated in the ss below: From the System Preferences Panel, Keyboard widget, change the Touch Bar Display from App Controls to Fn Controls. A far better solution IMHO is to disable the Touch Bar entirely, but unfortunately - as with Siri - Apple refuses their customers the ability to disable their skanky innovations :P

Touch Bar Default Setting

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