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Tabbing Links in OSX/macOS Firefox

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  • Category: accessibility

What the hell is going on here?

For those of you who have attempted to do basic accessibility testing with Mac OSX or MacOS and Firefox, you’ve likely wondered why the hell you couldn’t use the Tab key to set keyboard focus to links.

For reasons that continue to baffle me to this day (I’ve updated this post a few times since 2014…), OSX and macOS have limited keyboard tabbing to only ‘text boxes and lists’ as default behavior.

That seems pretty dumb, how do I fix this?

First open System Preferences, and then go to Keyboard Preferences. Once there, update the radio button selection to “all controls”, as shown in the screen shot below, then OSX/macOS, and thus Firefox, will allow keyboard tabbing to all focusable elements.

mac OSX keyboard, shortcuts preferences window with the 'all contents' radio button being selected to enable all focusable contetn to be focused

For some additional information on this, and where I originally found the solution to this “feature”, check out this stackoverflow on how to allow keyboard focus of links.