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How can you copy the Android Firefox profile folder to another phone?

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I customise Firefox on Android extensively - settings, about:config, addons, bookmarks etc. etc. (mostly privacy as a priority). I look after five identical model phones for all my family to make sure they are safe online. The phones are all running custom roms and I have access to the whole file system along with access to the SD card and data transfer from Linux to the phone directly via USB or even KDE connect.

How can I get a profile folder for one phone to work on the others? This would speed up deployment for me as at the minute I'm performing the same things over and over.....

I've done this in the past with desktop - just copy the profile folder from one to the other very easily. Heck it's even cross platform from Windows to Linux and vice versa. Very easy.

Currently I have tried copying the profile folder directly in /data/data/org.mozilla.firefox/files/mozilla/xxx.default and corresponding profiles.ini with no joy. I've tried copying and renaming the configured profile folder to the one that was just installed and editing the profiles.ini file. I've even tried the whole /data/data/org.mozilla.firefox folder with no success. I've also tried a slightly older version of Firefox, replaced the profile folder and then tried upgrading. None of which seems to work.

There is a backup profile folder addon and another profile folder switcher addon from the Mozilla Addons site - both are no longer working. I've never used sync, but I doubt that would handle custom settings in about:config (yeah, I switch off the weak ciphers) and to be honest I'm not a fan of cloud services - think Richard Stallman on steroids after a meeting with Edward Snowden and replace "free software" with "privacy" and you'll get an idea of how we browse the internet.

Anyone have any ideas?

I customise Firefox on Android extensively - settings, about:config, addons, bookmarks etc. etc. (mostly privacy as a priority). I look after five identical model phones for all my family to make sure they are safe online. The phones are all running custom roms and I have access to the whole file system along with access to the SD card and data transfer from Linux to the phone directly via USB or even KDE connect. How can I get a profile folder for one phone to work on the others? This would speed up deployment for me as at the minute I'm performing the same things over and over..... I've done this in the past with desktop - just copy the profile folder from one to the other very easily. Heck it's even cross platform from Windows to Linux and vice versa. Very easy. Currently I have tried copying the profile folder directly in /data/data/org.mozilla.firefox/files/mozilla/xxx.default and corresponding profiles.ini with no joy. I've tried copying and renaming the configured profile folder to the one that was just installed and editing the profiles.ini file. I've even tried the whole /data/data/org.mozilla.firefox folder with no success. I've also tried a slightly older version of Firefox, replaced the profile folder and then tried upgrading. None of which seems to work. There is a backup profile folder addon and another profile folder switcher addon from the Mozilla Addons site - both are no longer working. I've never used sync, but I doubt that would handle custom settings in about:config (yeah, I switch off the weak ciphers) and to be honest I'm not a fan of cloud services - think Richard Stallman on steroids after a meeting with Edward Snowden and replace "free software" with "privacy" and you'll get an idea of how we browse the internet. Anyone have any ideas?
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  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/59.0.3071.26 Safari/537.36 OPR/46.0.2602.0 (Edition developer)

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kbrosnan
  • Moderator
507 solutions 3360 answers

You will need to chown the files to the correct user. If that does not work then I don't have any other ideas.

You will need to chown the files to the correct user. If that does not work then I don't have any other ideas.
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Hi kbrosnan - a big thank you! That got me thinking in the right direction. You are correct that all the permissions were messed up. As far as I can tell this happens with the SD card being formatted to NTFS and I was also using a shared Windows / Linux drive. I did get this working using adb and Linux Mint:

Retrieving the Profile Folder:

In software manager install Android-skd Download QtADB from https://qtadb.wordpress.com/download/ Unpack QtADB Run QtADB and select adb location (/usr/bin/adb)

Plug your phone into USB On the phone go to settings, about phone and tap the build number until developer options are enabled Settings, developer options, android debugging enabled + set transfer mode to Root for Apps and ADB Change the transfer mode from charging to USB transfer

In QtADB: Access a Linux directory (not NTFS - screws up permissions) On the other window access the profile folder on the phone at: /data/data/org.mozilla.firefox/files/mozilla copy xxxx.default and profiles.ini to the Linux directory

You can then compress profile folder and profiles.ini file as .tar.gz for future use

++++ Remember to turn off Root for Apps and ADB, Android Debugging and developer options when finished ++++


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Copying to new phone:

If you have compressed the profile folder and profiles.ini then copy the tar.gz file to a Linux directory and unpack (NOT NTFS) I used Firefox 49.0.2 as I had it already Install Firefox 49.0.2 on phone Run Firefox Settings, Apps, Firefox, Force Stop Delete the profile folder and profiles.ini from /data/data/org.mozilla.firefox/files/mozilla (I just used stock file manager) Settings, developer options, android debugging enabled Set transfer mode to Root for Apps and ADB Change the transfer mode from charging to USB transfer Run QtADB copy profile folder and profiles.ini from Linux directory to /data/data/org.mozilla.firefox/files/mozilla on phone Run Firefox Check Settings and configure as these will change Install Firefox 50.1.0

This will retain top sites, bookmarks, addons and about:config settings - saves a load of time for deploying on multiple devices.

I also tried upgrading to Firefox 51.0.4 but I found the addons (although still working) lost the ability to configure them. I'm assuming this a Firefox transition thing towards extensions rather than addons.

Hi kbrosnan - a big thank you! That got me thinking in the right direction. You are correct that all the permissions were messed up. As far as I can tell this happens with the SD card being formatted to NTFS and I was also using a shared Windows / Linux drive. I did get this working using adb and Linux Mint: Retrieving the Profile Folder: In software manager install Android-skd Download QtADB from https://qtadb.wordpress.com/download/ Unpack QtADB Run QtADB and select adb location (/usr/bin/adb) Plug your phone into USB On the phone go to settings, about phone and tap the build number until developer options are enabled Settings, developer options, android debugging enabled + set transfer mode to Root for Apps and ADB Change the transfer mode from charging to USB transfer In QtADB: Access a Linux directory (not NTFS - screws up permissions) On the other window access the profile folder on the phone at: /data/data/org.mozilla.firefox/files/mozilla copy xxxx.default and profiles.ini to the Linux directory You can then compress profile folder and profiles.ini file as .tar.gz for future use ++++ Remember to turn off Root for Apps and ADB, Android Debugging and developer options when finished ++++ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Copying to new phone: If you have compressed the profile folder and profiles.ini then copy the tar.gz file to a Linux directory and unpack (NOT NTFS) I used Firefox 49.0.2 as I had it already Install Firefox 49.0.2 on phone Run Firefox Settings, Apps, Firefox, Force Stop Delete the profile folder and profiles.ini from /data/data/org.mozilla.firefox/files/mozilla (I just used stock file manager) Settings, developer options, android debugging enabled Set transfer mode to Root for Apps and ADB Change the transfer mode from charging to USB transfer Run QtADB copy profile folder and profiles.ini from Linux directory to /data/data/org.mozilla.firefox/files/mozilla on phone Run Firefox Check Settings and configure as these will change Install Firefox 50.1.0 This will retain top sites, bookmarks, addons and about:config settings - saves a load of time for deploying on multiple devices. I also tried upgrading to Firefox 51.0.4 but I found the addons (although still working) lost the ability to configure them. I'm assuming this a Firefox transition thing towards extensions rather than addons.

Modified by arobertson

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kbrosnan
  • Moderator
507 solutions 3360 answers

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The extension issue is fixed in Firefox 53.

The extension issue is fixed in Firefox 53.
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