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How to Stop GIF Animations in Firefox 20 and Above

Up until Firefox 19, you could stop an animated GIF by hitting the Escape key. This is no longer possible in Firefox 20. Furthermore, if an animated GIF is still loading and if the load is interrupted by pressing the Escape key or clicking the Stop button, the GIF is removed instead of keeping the partially loaded image. This can potentially break the page layout.

The new behavior was adopted by Firefox 20 when developers fixed an old bug related to the Esc key. Previously, pressing the Escape key not only stopped GIF animations but also terminated all XMLHttpRequests and WebSocket connections of the current tab. This caused problems with many modern web applications such AJAX that doesn’t retry requests once aborted, leading to broken behavior.

In Firefox 20, Mozilla removed the ability to terminate connections by hitting the Esc key. Escape now only has an effect when the stop button is visible. Since the stop button doesn’t stop animating GIFs, hitting the Esc key also has no effect on animations. If you are reading this is Firefox 20, you can test this behavior by trying to stop the animated GIF below.


Solutions: There are three ways to bring back the old behavior.

SuperStop is restart-less add-on that adds a Shift+Esc shortcut that stops active WebSocket connections, XMLHttpRequests, and any animated images, regardless of the state of the Firefox Stop button.

Active Stop Button makes the Stop button be never inactive so that you can stop gif animation by mouse click, as well as with the Esc key. The add-on can be further configured to stop all tabs with single click, double click, ctrl+click or right click on Stop button.

Absolute Load Control is another restart-less add-on that adds a context menu to the Stop button that offers fine grained control over page loading. Simply right-click on the Stop button and on the context menu, hit the Stop button. This will freeze any animating GIF image. There are other options as well, such as reload from memory and stop Javascripts. Each action as a keyboard shortcut.


  1. Much Thanks and Appreciation for these ... Very Helpful ...

  2. It is a BUG IN THE BRAIN to think that you have to take out features or reduce functionality because the worst users don't know how to use it or make mistakes. This is even more true when the use of the functionality is so simple as to press the ESC key and know that it will stop all the loading of the page.
    It is a BUG IN THE BRAIN to think that it is better to place that functionality as an add on for those who want it because that functionality is essential when people are being attacked. You may be attacked or you may be on the phone helping someone that has a problem and you cannot start searching for the add on, downloading it and installing it.



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