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"What precisely does “sync” mean with respect to transferring Firefox information between devices?

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  • 1 has this problem
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  • آخر ردّ كتبه lbecker

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I’ve not had much success with my online searches to learn the details about what takes place when Firefox syncs browser information across devices. To keep things simple, assume I interested only in syncing bookmarks and staying within the Firefox environment, i.e., no syncing to another browser. Please note that I am NOT asking for help in setting up Sync on different devices or in how to turn Sync on and off. Rather I am seeking help to understand what “sync” means, that is, the details of the sort of information transfers that take place between individual devices and the Firefox Sync server.

Here’s what I currently understand. After signing in to my Firefox account on Device 1, setting up syncing on that device, specifying that I want only bookmarks to be synced, and turning syncing on, the set of bookmarks on Device 1 is sent to be stored on a Firefox server. After that, whenever one is signed in to the Firefox account on Device 1 and syncing is turned on, any changes to the bookmarks on Device 1 will "automatically" (but I don't know how quickly) end up being reflected in the set of bookmarks stored on the server. Fine so far.

In addition to Device 1 I have another device, Device 2 which has not been set up for Firefox Sync. It has its own set of bookmarks. Some of them are also on Device 1, some are not. I sign into my Firefox account on Device 2 and set up syncing on it. I follow the steps for doing this in https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-do-i-set-sync-my-computer, “Connect additional devices to Sync.” I then click Sync Now. OK, now what happens?

1A. Do the bookmarks in Device 2 get added to the bookmarks stored in the Firefox Sync server? 1B. Do the bookmarks NOT in Device 2 get deleted from the bookmarks stored in the Firefox Sync server?

OR

2A. Do the bookmarks stored in the Firefox Sync server get added to the bookmarks in Device 2? 2B. Do the bookmarks NOT stored in the Firefox Sync server get deleted from the bookmarks in Device 2?

After whatever transfers of bookmark between Device 2 and the Firefox Sync server take place, and assuming that I’m still signed in to my Firefox account on Device 1 and that syncing on that device is still turned on, what sort of transfers of bookmarks takes place between the new set of bookmarks stored in the Firefox Sync server and the set of bookmarks already on Device 1?

3A. Do the bookmarks then present in the Firefox Sync server get added to the bookmarks in Device 1? 3B. Do the bookmarks no longer in the Firefox Sync server get deleted from the bookmarks in Device 1?

Finally, what happens to the set of bookmarks in Device 1 and Device 2 if I’m simultaneously signed in to my Firefox account, syncing is turned on in both Devices 1 and 2, and a bookmark is a) added to either device OR b) deleted from either device?

I’m sorry this message is so long, but I’ve wanted to be clear about the things I don’t understand in regard to Firefox Sync. I’d really appreciate what anyone can say to help me clarify these points. Thanks so much.

I’ve not had much success with my online searches to learn the details about what takes place when Firefox syncs browser information across devices. To keep things simple, assume I interested only in syncing bookmarks and staying within the Firefox environment, i.e., no syncing to another browser. Please note that I am NOT asking for help in setting up Sync on different devices or in how to turn Sync on and off. Rather I am seeking help to understand what “sync” means, that is, the details of the sort of information transfers that take place between individual devices and the Firefox Sync server. Here’s what I currently understand. After signing in to my Firefox account on Device 1, setting up syncing on that device, specifying that I want only bookmarks to be synced, and turning syncing on, the set of bookmarks on Device 1 is sent to be stored on a Firefox server. After that, whenever one is signed in to the Firefox account on Device 1 and syncing is turned on, any changes to the bookmarks on Device 1 will "automatically" (but I don't know how quickly) end up being reflected in the set of bookmarks stored on the server. Fine so far. In addition to Device 1 I have another device, Device 2 which has not been set up for Firefox Sync. It has its own set of bookmarks. ''Some of them are also on Device 1, some are not.'' I sign into my Firefox account on Device 2 and set up syncing on it. I follow the steps for doing this in https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-do-i-set-sync-my-computer, “Connect additional devices to Sync.” I then click Sync Now. OK, now what happens? 1A. Do the bookmarks in Device 2 get added to the bookmarks stored in the Firefox Sync server? 1B. Do the bookmarks NOT in Device 2 get deleted from the bookmarks stored in the Firefox Sync server? OR 2A. Do the bookmarks stored in the Firefox Sync server get added to the bookmarks in Device 2? 2B. Do the bookmarks NOT stored in the Firefox Sync server get deleted from the bookmarks in Device 2? After whatever transfers of bookmark between Device 2 and the Firefox Sync server take place, and assuming that I’m still signed in to my Firefox account on Device 1 and that syncing on that device is still turned on, what sort of transfers of bookmarks takes place between the new set of bookmarks stored in the Firefox Sync server and the set of bookmarks already on Device 1? 3A. Do the bookmarks then present in the Firefox Sync server get added to the bookmarks in Device 1? 3B. Do the bookmarks no longer in the Firefox Sync server get deleted from the bookmarks in Device 1? Finally, what happens to the set of bookmarks in Device 1 and Device 2 if I’m simultaneously signed in to my Firefox account, syncing is turned on in both Devices 1 and 2, and a bookmark is a) added to either device OR b) deleted from either device? I’m sorry this message is so long, but I’ve wanted to be clear about the things I don’t understand in regard to Firefox Sync. I’d really appreciate what anyone can say to help me clarify these points. Thanks so much.

Modified by cor-el

الحل المُختار

Hi

Firefox Sync is designed so that (to use an example) bookmarks on device one are replicated on device two. Any changes (bookmarks added or removed) on device two are then replicated back to device one.

The same applies to usernames and passwords. Firefox Sync is not designed as only storage, but a way to keep data between copies of Firefox in "sync".

I hope that this helps.

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Oops, the Subject line should read as follows: "What precisely does “sync” mean with respect to TRANSFERRING Firefox information between devices?

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الحل المُختار

Hi

Firefox Sync is designed so that (to use an example) bookmarks on device one are replicated on device two. Any changes (bookmarks added or removed) on device two are then replicated back to device one.

The same applies to usernames and passwords. Firefox Sync is not designed as only storage, but a way to keep data between copies of Firefox in "sync".

I hope that this helps.

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Sync uploads the content (bookmarks) of each connected device to the Sync server and merges that to the other devices with the result that all devices have the same set of bookmarks. There is no master drive, all devices are equal when it comes to Sync. Normally this shouldn't get bookmarks deleted or give you duplicates, but if you remove a bookmark on one device then this bookmark will be removed on other devices as well.

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Thanks to both Paul and cor-el for your replies. It is now clear to me that if I want to keep some bookmarks unique to Device 1 and others unique to Device 2 when I have Sync operating, I'll need take some extra steps of my own devising. I have a couple ideas of how I might go about it and will try them out over the next day or two. Thanks to both of you again.

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The only way to be sure that you keep bookmarks separate with Sync is to use separate accounts or use other means to transfer the bookmarks like an (edited) HTML bookmarks backup.

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Thanks, cor-el, for the tip! Much appreciated.

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