Firefox Sync: have all your bookmarks, tabs, and passwords everywhere

Keeping passwords, bookmarks, and other things synced across the internet is a pain. There are third-party services like LastPass and Xmarks, but none of them sync all of your data, leaving you with shreds of data across each device. Luckily, Mozilla has seen the problem, and in Firefox 4, introduced syncing of things like history, bookmarks, passwords, and even open tabs across your computers and even your mobile phones.

Image Credit: iPod, Nexus S, Firefox 4

Setting up your first computer

To start using Firefox Sync, go to Firefox>Options>Sync and click Set Up Firefox Sync:

Click Create a New Account:

You’ll need to give them your email, a password, and a server to sync to:

After signing up for a new account, you’ll be given a Sync Key–a code known only by you and your computer, not theirs, that is used to encrypt all of your data.

After seeing your sync key, you’ll be asked if you’re a robot or not.

Select what you want to sync and you’re done!

Setting up additional computers

To set up additional computers, you’ll need to go through relatively the same process.  Before setting up sync on a new computer, make sure that your data is synced by going to Manage Account>View Quota:

After waiting, open up the syncing wizard on the second computer.

It will show you a screen with a series of numbers on it.

Now go back to your first computer. There, click the Add Device button:

Type in the code shown on the other computer:

Once it’s accepted you can close the window.  Your bookmarks, passwords, and settings are now on both devices!

Setting up your mobile device

Firefox Mobile QR codeTo get all of your synced data on your mobile device, you can simply set up sync on Firefox 4 Mobile on Android or Firefox Home on iOS.

To set up Firefox Home, you simply have to go through the Add Device process above, using the codes given by your iPhone:

You can almost instantly view all of your bookmarks, tabs and history!

Conclusion

Firefox Sync is a great new integrated way to sync all of your passwords, bookmarks, and most other data between all of your computers–your work computer, your iPod, and your Android phone.  It’s good to see browser makers continue to add cool features that make each browser stand out.

Version reviewed: v4.0.0/v1.1.1

Supported OS: Windows 2000+, Mac OS X 10.5+, Linux, iOS, Android 2.0+, Nokia N900

Mozilla Firefox | Mozilla Firefox Mobile | Firefox Home for iOS

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10 comments

  1. Locutus
    Author/

    @o(o.o)o: I’ll have to look that up.
    But!
    It also uses a secure key stored on each computer (approx 15 digits I think) to encrypt the data so no one can read it unless they hack your computer. But, this key is automagically transfered when you set up the second computer… hmm….

    From what I Googled on, it seems that it’s being boasted as secure, but I don’t have time right now to read the things, so I’ll look it up maybe tomorrow. :)

  2. Pandora

    @Locutus “Noscript is the bane of evil for web developers.” … but the saviour of surfers – good guys will make it onto the white list …ditto AdBlock ditto Flashblock
    @JvD Xmarks for me works better – more granularity. Dont tend to do the cross browser stuff but do sync work-home-laptop and dont want everything everywhere. I tried FF sync when it looked like X-marks were going under (big hoorah! for LastPass) but it was a bit simplistic for my needs
    Cant comment on mobile-phone sync
    Each to their own.

  3. Dru

    “What I like in FF Sync from screen shot is ability to sync preferences; too bad there’s no Export of settings.” ==> “What I like in FF Sync is apparent ability to sync preferences. Too bad FF3 doesn’t have an Export of settings; however”…

    [when I click Edit screen darkens but I don't see a Comments box; sorry... any ideas how to fix? i use noscript, requestpolicy, among many other addons]

  4. Dru

    I also use FF3+XMarks and love it. Main purpose is to sync to IE. What I like in FF Sync from screen shot is ability to sync preferences; too bad there’s no Export of settings. FEBE/CLEO/OPIE fills that need. Doesn’t sync but can backups and those can be scheduled.

  5. Jim Van Damme

    Is there any compelling reason to switch from XMarks? That is cross-browser, and has a rating system for websites (DotTech is #3 among freebies). Although it seems to be a memory hog when it’s syncing.

  6. Farrukh

    Yes, it is a very nice tool

    I use it to sync my Bookmarks to FF server..

    But in FF4, the status bar (Addons bar) is too static and frozen and it doesn’t display the Sync icon animation and doesn’t allow to interact.