The New Firefox Sync (Firefox 29)

Besides the UI overhaul aka Austrilas, Firefox 29 features a new and improved Firefox Sync. I didn’t really know what was so new about it since I had tried a long time ago to use it without much success. Turns out, Mozilla has made the sign-up as well as management processes a lot simpler now. This help article checks your user agent and will automatically direct you to Sync instructions based on what browser you are using. Reading through this article you will see the current method is very complicated and time consuming. Note: If you click the link in Firefox 29 or any of the newer developmental builds you will be directed to the new and much simplified instructions.

With the New Firefox Sync in Firefox 29, you create a Firefox Sync Account (you can also port over your existing account) from within Firefox:

  1. Select Sign into Sync from the Firefox Menu.
  2. Click Get Started
  3. On the next screen enter your email address, chose a password and select the year you were born. Note: there is no longer a CAPTCHA challenge.
  4. Firefox Sync will then send you an email with a link to activate your Sync account.
  5. Once you click the email verification link your Firefox Sync account is setup and activated.

Now, to add and sync another device all you need to do is sign-in using your email address and the password you created. That is it! No more having to “pair devices” with security codes. Once you have signed in Sync will automatically start syncing that device.

Firefox Sync will store your data and preferences securely on Mozilla’s servers and then sync them between devices (other computers, tablets and/or phones) including:

  • Bookmarks
  • Saved Passwords
  • History
  • Open Tabs
  • Installed add-ons (only those that are hosted at addons.mozilla.org) and status (enabled or disabled)

Here is what it does NOT sync:

  • about:config settings
  • userContent.css/userChrome.css files
  • Some installed add-ons preferences (see below)
  • Greasemonkey/Stylish Scripts
  • Add-ons that are hosted elsewhere such as the ChromEdit Plus add-on.
  • Toolbar Customization and Buttons

I went ahead and gave this a try earlier tonight and was able to successfully create a Firefox Sync account as well as sync my main desktop, laptop and tablet (I have not yet tried this on my phone). So once I signed in to Firefox Sync on the laptop it went ahead and installed all my add-ons (that were hosted at addons.mozilla.org). You will need to restart to fully activate your add-ons.

A couple things to keep in mind with the add-ons; some of your preferences may not being synced. Case in point, all the preferences I had setup within Classic Theme Restorer did not carry forward. However, I suspect that is because it makes changes to your about:config settings and those setting are not synced. Second, some add-ons such as AdBlock Plus will sync settings if you activate that option in the add-on itself.

Overall, I am very impressed with the new Firefox Sync. The sign-up and adding devices processes have been greatly simplified. The process is far less complicated and can be done in less than a minute. While there are some limitations to what it will sync with add-ons, just being able to get all my (AMO hosted) add-ons automatically downloaded and installed was an incredible time saver.

One last thing, I have noticed I really don’t use the ChromEdit Plus add-on much anymore. The only reason I noticed it was missing on the laptop, was when I was going to restart Firefox to finish the add-ons installed. That was when I noticed I didn’t have the reset button (which is the only feature I was still using it for). A quick search on AMO tuned up Restart Button. This add-on works perfectly, thus allowing me to remove the ChromEdit Plus add-on.

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