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how do I keep bookmarks and other data separate between sign in IDs?

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  • Last reply by Shadow110

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I created two different Firefox accounts and then logged into Firefox with each one, one at a time. In each case I made some bookmarks and turned on 'sync'. I could not find a method to switch accounts similar to Chrome; it appears I have to sign out of one ID and then sign into the other. So I did that, however, when I signed out of one ID and then into the next, all of the web sites I had logged into remained, and the bookmarks from the prior ID got merged into the second ID. Hmmmm??? I am trying to find a method to log into my accounts such as gmail, Amazon, etc with one ID and to create a set of bookmarks ie personal bookmarks that will stay tied to, and exclusive to, one Firefox ID. Then when I sign out of that firefox ID and into my second ID, such as for work purposes, to have a separate set of bookmarks and to NOT be automatically logged into my personal accounts. Is there a method to set up Firefox so that when going from ID 1 to ID 2 none of the history, logged in accounts, bookmarks, saved entries, etc will carry over? I'm trying to keep work / personal totally separate with distinct log-in IDs. I am aware of mutli-account containers but from what I can tell the data / history etc will all be viewable while logged into that Firefox ID so I do not think that will keep things separate enough. Any assistance is appreciated.

I created two different Firefox accounts and then logged into Firefox with each one, one at a time. In each case I made some bookmarks and turned on 'sync'. I could not find a method to switch accounts similar to Chrome; it appears I have to sign out of one ID and then sign into the other. So I did that, however, when I signed out of one ID and then into the next, all of the web sites I had logged into remained, and the bookmarks from the prior ID got merged into the second ID. Hmmmm??? I am trying to find a method to log into my accounts such as gmail, Amazon, etc with one ID and to create a set of bookmarks ie personal bookmarks that will stay tied to, and exclusive to, one Firefox ID. Then when I sign out of that firefox ID and into my second ID, such as for work purposes, to have a separate set of bookmarks and to NOT be automatically logged into my personal accounts. Is there a method to set up Firefox so that when going from ID 1 to ID 2 none of the history, logged in accounts, bookmarks, saved entries, etc will carry over? I'm trying to keep work / personal totally separate with distinct log-in IDs. I am aware of mutli-account containers but from what I can tell the data / history etc will all be viewable while logged into that Firefox ID so I do not think that will keep things separate enough. Any assistance is appreciated.

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Hi, you do not mention another Device you are Syncing to. It appears from your question, that you are using Firefox Sync as a back up service. This is not what Sync is designed to do. The Firefox Sync service takes a copy of the data you wish to include and transfers it to a second device (typically a mobile device such as a tablet or a telephone) running a copy of Firefox. The storage in between all attached devices is both temporary and fragile and is not stable enough to be (and is not designed as) a reliable backup service.

If you have a copy of your Firefox profile for desktop Firefox, you may be able to recover your bookmarks and other data. Please have a read of these article.

If you have a copy of your data on a mobile version of Firefox, please follow these instructions to connect it to Firefox Sync to copy your data.

If this is wrong please let us know.

Please let us know if this solved your issue or if need further assistance.

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If you are using only one Firefox Profile that data from each Sync account will get merged in that Profile, which will then get propagated to the other Sync account, and those Sync account not contain separate data.

Sync works at the "Profile level", as all Firefox user data is unique to the individual Profile that was being used when the connection was initially made to a particular Sync account.

See this support article to learn a bit about Firefox Profiles. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profiles-where-firefox-stores-user-data

To be able to do what you explained, it sounds like you want multiple separate Profiles, which can be managed from inside Firefox when it is running from the about:profiles internal "page". See this support article for about:profiles . https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profile-manager-create-and-remove-firefox-profiles#w_manage-profiles-when-firefox-is-open

Then when you open a Profile it would automatically connect to the appropriate Sync account, and the data for each would be as you set it up and never get merged.

As far as a comparison with the Google Chrome web browser, never used it and don't have any idea what features it has which may allow that.

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Hello "the-edmeister". Thanks for the response. I followed the links you provided and read them, that was helpful. The reason I'm trying to figure this out is because I'm trying to consolidate and simplify; instead of using Opera & Chrome & Safari etc... I used to use one for work, one for personal, one for shopping, etc. So before I take the step of setting up a profile as directed in the pages you linked me to, I'd like to give some perspective which would be perhaps a request for more help and/or product suggestion. I am confused by how Firefox handles profiles, login ID, syncing etc. Let me give you my perspective and maybe you can help clarify:

It seems to me that Firefox has 3 different levels of logging in or 'account' type of settings, and perhaps each one has a name to identify what it is (Profile) etc. I am confused about the differences between them and how they inter-relate and what functional differences there are. 1) There are "multi-account containers". From what I gather I could log into one service (ie Facebook) on one tab and then on another tab use a different "account container" and log into a different Facebook account. 2) There are "Firefox accounts", ie shown under the hamburger menu and can optionally be synced across devices if signed in and sync turned on. 3) There are "profiles". These are new to me and I thought a "Firefox account" was a profile, but from what I have read they seem to be different.

What triggered my original inquiry was logging into a "Firefox account" and saving some bookmarks, and then logging out of that account and into a new account and saving more bookmarks... and to my confusion the bookmarks were saved in both accounts. So I *think* I need to create a "profile" instead of a "Firefox account" and then save the bookmarks for work and then create a new "profile" for personal use and save a different set of bookmarks there.

So here is where I have become a very confused Firefox user and I think it's worth bringing up because ... you know the rule ... for every 1 person who highlights a tech issue there are 1,000 - 10,000 who notice the same thing but don't bother sending feedback. Here's my confusion:

If I create a "Firefox account" ... I don't understand why the bookmarks in that account would show in the browser if I sign out of the account and then log in under a different account. If this functionality is at the "profile" level... then are "profiles" synced from device to device? If not... then a profile would not be very useful... If a "profile" can be synced across devices then how is that different than syncing the "Firefox account". If I log into "Firefox account 1" under "Profile Personal" and then stay in "Profile Personal" and log into "Firefox account 2" will the bookmarks, settings, browsing history all get merged together? And if I add extensions such as the Evernote clipper, are they added to the "account" or the "profile"... ie I am working on my work computer and add "Evernote" extension to my Firefox "account # 1" and then I go home, log into Firefox "account #1" on my home computer, will the Evernote extension be there already?

Ultimately I am trying to add my extensions, bookmarks, etc under a work environment and do the same under a personal environment and be able to log into either one at any computer and see the extensions, bookmarks, history, etc. and keep one distinct from another.

As for what I mentioned about Chrome, that is how it works; I can log into the Chrome browser with my work gmail, and it is a distinct and separate environment than logging in with my personal gmail. It is similar to having different users on a computer; when one person logs out and another person logs in, the new person has their own settings, history, etc that is separate from what is saved in the other person's profile.

It seems to me that a "profile" and a "Firefox" account each have part of what I am looking for but also there seems to be some kind of overlap. As a regular computer user I can not see the purpose in having both and I can not understand why data from one 'account' gets merged into the data from a different account. Perhaps Firefox needs to eliminate the concept of having both a "profile" and "account"? Simple is good and I think the Firefox user base would certainly benefit from eliminating some of this confusion. In the meantime I'll wait to hear back from you on this. Thanks!

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How many installations of Firefox do you have? For example, home PC, work PC, one or more mobile devices? And which ones should have the same data synchronized?

Most users have one profile per Firefox installation, and zero or one Firefox accounts. If they want to synchronize data among their Firefox installations (e.g., Windows and Android), the data is merged into the one profile on each installation (note that mobile bookmarks are kept separate from desktop bookmarks).

(Firefox profiles are similar to Chrome "persons," except that they are harder to start up simultaneously because there isn't a good user interface for that.)

If you want to keep distinct sets of bookmarks and add-ons, then you could have two profiles on your main Firefox installation. If you wanted to synchronize the data in each of those profiles to corresponding profiles on a different Firefox installation, then you would need two Firefox accounts.

If you don't really care about having cleanly distinct bookmarks -- i.e., you can live with separate folders on the same toolbar/menu -- but you want to be able to access sites in separate containers, then you can work with one profile and use containers to keep site data such as cookies, local storage, and cached files separate from one another.

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It seems to me that Firefox has 3 different levels of logging in or 'account' type of settings, and perhaps each one has a name to identify what it is (Profile) etc. I am confused about the differences between them and how they inter-relate and what functional differences there are. 1) There are "multi-account containers". From what I gather I could log into one service (ie Facebook) on one tab and then on another tab use a different "account container" and log into a different Facebook account. 2) There are "Firefox accounts", ie shown under the hamburger menu and can optionally be synced across devices if signed in and sync turned on. 3) There are "profiles". These are new to me and I thought a "Firefox account" was a profile, but from what I have read they seem to be different.

Multi-Account Containers I don't use them, as I primarily use older versions of Firefox which don't have that newer feature. When I need any of those features, I just open a different Profile as we have needed to do for the last 16 years and do what I need to do which would would need "multi-account containers". <rant mode on> I am damn tired of losing extensions, many of which still aren't available 8 months after Quantum was released! I have stood pat since Firefox 38 ESR for 90% of my web browser needs, and have only used the later versions where I didn't "need" specific extensions. Typically I have 3 different versions of Firefox running at the same time; each with its own unique Profile. I have also installed more, different web browsers (which I really never used once I found them to be "lacking the basics I wanted) over the last 3 or 4 years than I had ever used in the previous 15 years to try to find something to replace Firefox since I started becoming more dismayed at the direction Mozilla was taking Firefox; end result was inaction and staying with what I knew and actually went back 6 versions to the least objectionable version at that time (circa Fx44, back to ESR 38). Yes I did keep updating one Firefox installation, but never used it all that often. <rant mode off>

Profile Where Firefox user data and user customizations are stored. Unique to each "user" of the computer; for MacOSX https://support.apple.com/kb/PH25796?locale=en_US - where on Windows they are known as Logon User Accounts (LUA) or I guess that could be called a login user. But that (a new Profile in Firefox) is handled thru the operating system automatically the first Firefox is launched in a login user.

With Firefox each login user can have more than one Profile, if they so wish. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profiles-where-firefox-stores-user-data Firefox has a "Profile Manager". https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profile-manager-create-and-remove-firefox-profiles Plus about:profiles also provides access to Profiles for each LUA.


Firefox Account ( FxA ) / Sync Synchronizes Firefox data for that Profile exclusively - unless you connect another Firefox Account to that Profile. Then all the data in the 2nd FxA is merged onto the Profile which intermixes with the data there (which is being synced to the first FxA. Once that happens you end up with a "cluster f*ck" on that Profile - data from 2nd FxA mixed with the data that is in the 1st FxA; and should you re-connect to the 1st FxA that "intermixed data" would be sent to the 1st FxA server and thence to all the other devices that are connected to the 1st FxA. Not what the "average user" would expect to happen.

That is what I would say is an "overlap" that was caused by the user. But the main cause (IMO) is the lack of documentation for Sync users that clearly is needed.

Currently, Sync doesn't identify the original source of data -- like did the data arrive in a Profile by user action (like saving a new Password or a new Bookmark) or did it come to the Profile via a Sync event from the Sync server. Although that is being worked on "as we speak"; I recently read something about a way to "undo" a Sync event, by clearing the data that "arrived" in the Profile via a Sync event. That would have been nice to have before Mozilla started "promoting" Firefox Accounts on the first launch of every new installation and with each update and making it sound like a "necessary thing in order to use Firefox". But hey, that's not the way Mozilla does things in recent years! Introduce something, then let "us" support volunteers deal with the aftermath, and then take another year or so fixing their mistakes ...

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Thanks to all who replied and gave insight. Sadly it's back to Chrome. I believe in the mission of Mozilla / Firefox and I love the browser itself. However the ability to have "work" and "personal" kept distinct automatically is a great advantage, and with Chrome I literally just click on my ID name in the upper right corner and it will give me a list of my Chrome accounts; just one click and *bam* I have a new browser window open with all my settings, background picture, web history, bookmarks, extensions, all set up the way I want for that ID. And on a Chromebook I can sign into both ID's, do a one-time connect, and with two mouse clicks I can alternate between IDs and keep all my work and personal separate. I'm beyond surprised that Firefox does not have this. As a feature request, I'd put this as Priority # 1. It seems like something that is so obvious that a user would assume it would be normal. As per my comments above, the various methods to have different installations / instances of Firefox, different accounts etc and the fact that they intermingle the data... exasperated by a very "not" user friendly method to use, has brought to the point of abandoning Firefox... a decision I feel bad about because I love the mission of the company, but the reality is that the browser is not giving me what I need, and to get even close to figuring out how to keep things separate nearly makes me go cross-eyed. Very 1980s! Oh well. I wish Firefox programmers the best and I hope they can get multi accounts working simply and efficiently as in Chrome. Thanks again to all who replied. I'm outta here... - Rod

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Hi, you asked for Containers and is made by Mozilla :

That was just recently moved, it was here for a fairly long time :

Never used Chrome myself. Enjoy