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Does Firefox upload bookmark data?

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A recent related article states: The description field has only been removed from the user interface in the Bookmarks Manager (Library) for now. Is the information I store in the bookmark descriptions floating around in the cloud or collected in any way? And, as an aside, does "for now" imply that the descriptions are coming back? Or (heaven forbid) does it impy that the information will no longer be available in HTML exports?

A recent related article states: The description field has only been removed from the user interface in the Bookmarks Manager (Library) for now. Is the information I store in the bookmark descriptions floating around in the cloud or collected in any way? And, as an aside, does "for now" imply that the descriptions are coming back? Or (heaven forbid) does it impy that the information will no longer be available in HTML exports?

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  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; Win64; x64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/60.0

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philipp
  • Top 25 Contributor
  • Moderator
5214 solutions 23055 answers

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hi, firefox does not upload any bookmarks data unless you create a firefox account and set it up to sync bookmarks across your devices (even in this case they are locally encrypted before they leave your system, with no possibility to decrypt them on mozilla's servers other than your password or account recovery key).

and yes, the "for now" part means that the descriptions are currently no longer surfaced in the ui but at a later stage will be generally removed from the database that holds them. so please backup-up your data in the html format now in case you depend on it!

hi, firefox does not upload any bookmarks data unless you create a firefox account and set it up to sync bookmarks across your devices (even in this case they are locally encrypted before they leave your system, with no possibility to decrypt them on mozilla's servers other than your password or account recovery key). and yes, the "for now" part means that the descriptions are currently no longer surfaced in the ui but at a later stage will be generally removed from the database that holds them. so please backup-up your data in the html format now in case you depend on it!
jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8190 solutions 67004 answers

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jijawm said

A recent related article states: The description field has only been removed from the user interface in the Bookmarks Manager (Library) for now. ... And, as an aside, does "for now" imply that the descriptions are coming back? Or (heaven forbid) does it impy that the information will no longer be available in HTML exports?

Hi jijawm, the part of the bookmarks database that stores "Descriptions" is being removed (probably) in Firefox 64. As the first step toward that, the Descriptions box was removed in Firefox 62 (the data is still available for export).

If you used Descriptions to save your own notes on websites, here is what I can suggest at this point:

Step 1: Back up your Descriptions by Exporting your Bookmarks

To do that, you can export bookmarks to a locally saved web page (HTML File). Please see this article: Export Firefox bookmarks to an HTML file to back up or transfer bookmarks.

That creates a web page, so you can open it in a Firefox tab, or in any browser. You'll notice the descriptions nested below the linked titles of the bookmarks that have descriptions. You can use Find (Ctrl+f) to locate the bookmark you're looking for.

(If you are a time traveler to this post from the future and have a JSON or JSONLZ4 backup made in Firefox 63 or earlier, you can convert it to HTML using this page: https://www.jeffersonscher.com/ffu/bookbackreader.html)

Next steps:

This will depend on your needs.

(A) If you just need to consult the existing descriptions from time to time: searching in and copy/pasting from the HTML file may be good enough.

(B) If you need to access descriptions within Firefox, and prefer not to downgrade: you could investigate new extensions. For example, https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/bookmark-notes/ will provide access to Descriptions in the sidebar, and can import the file you created in Step 1.

(C) If you need to occasionally update the descriptions, but don't need them within Firefox: you could consider using a reference program such as Zotero to store your bookmarks and descriptions. See: https://support.mozilla.org/questions/1233617. This form of storage might be more resilient than an add-on if you don't make regular backups of your Firefox profile data, and cloud storage is optional.

(D) If you can't live without descriptions just the way they were in Firefox 60: you may consider the Extended Support Release of Firefox 60, also known as ESR. The ESR track was designed for companies that only want feature changes on an infrequent basis. So Firefox 60 ESR will only get security updates for the next 10-12 months, staying stable with the features of Firefox 60. Then ESR will jump to a new version, expected to be Firefox 68. We don't know what Firefox 68 will look like; it might not have descriptions, either.

More info on this option: Switch to Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) for personal use.

''jijawm [[#question-1237178|said]]'' <blockquote> A recent related article states: The description field has only been removed from the user interface in the Bookmarks Manager (Library) for now. ... And, as an aside, does "for now" imply that the descriptions are coming back? Or (heaven forbid) does it impy that the information will no longer be available in HTML exports? </blockquote> Hi jijawm, the part of the bookmarks database that stores "Descriptions" is being removed (probably) in Firefox 64. As the first step toward that, the Descriptions box was removed in Firefox 62 (the data is still available for export). If you used Descriptions to save your own notes on websites, here is what I can suggest at this point: '''''Step 1: Back up your Descriptions by Exporting your Bookmarks''''' To do that, you can export bookmarks to a '''locally saved web page''' (HTML File). Please see this article: [[Export Firefox bookmarks to an HTML file to back up or transfer bookmarks]]. That creates a web page, so you can open it in a Firefox tab, or in any browser. You'll notice the descriptions nested below the linked titles of the bookmarks that have descriptions. You can use Find (Ctrl+f) to locate the bookmark you're looking for. ''(If you are a time traveler to this post from the future and have a JSON or JSONLZ4 backup made in Firefox 63 or earlier, you can convert it to HTML using this page: [https://www.jeffersonscher.com/ffu/bookbackreader.html])'' '''''Next steps:''''' This will depend on your needs. '''(A) If you just need to consult the existing descriptions from time to time:''' searching in and copy/pasting from the HTML file may be good enough. '''(B) If you need to access descriptions within Firefox, and prefer not to downgrade:''' you could investigate new extensions. For example, https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/bookmark-notes/ will provide access to Descriptions in the sidebar, and can import the file you created in Step&nbsp;1. '''(C) If you need to occasionally update the descriptions, but don't need them within Firefox:''' you could consider using a reference program such as Zotero to store your bookmarks and descriptions. See: [https://support.mozilla.org/questions/1233617]. This form of storage might be more resilient than an add-on if you don't make regular backups of your Firefox profile data, and cloud storage is optional. '''(D) If you can't live without descriptions just the way they were in Firefox 60:''' you may consider the Extended Support Release of Firefox 60, also known as ESR. The ESR track was designed for companies that only want feature changes on an infrequent basis. So Firefox 60 ESR will only get security updates for the next 10-12 months, staying stable with the features of Firefox 60. Then ESR will jump to a new version, expected to be Firefox 68. ''We don't know what Firefox 68 will look like; it might not have descriptions, either.'' More info on this option: [[Switch to Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) for personal use]].

Question owner

Bookmark descriptions are very useful in noting why the web page was bookmarked in the first place. They are also useful to providing password hints that nobody who doesn't have insight into the mind of the user would ever be able to guess. Like, "Browser + 1 in 2"

Bookmark descriptions are very useful in noting why the web page was bookmarked in the first place. They are also useful to providing password hints that nobody who doesn't have insight into the mind of the user would ever be able to guess. Like, "Browser + 1 in 2"
TyDraniu
  • Top 25 Contributor
255 solutions 1414 answers

We know that descriptions can be very useful for some users, but developers are going to remove it anyway.

We know that descriptions can be very useful for some users, but developers are going to remove it anyway.
cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
16992 solutions 153423 answers

The API used for the description field uses synchronous access (i.e. runs on the main Firefox processor thread). These synchronous APIs have been deprecated and removed and it was decided not to create a new asynchronous interface for supporting legacy descriptions because there is already a description field in places.sqlite that is used for the Firefox Home page (Activity Stream).

The API used for the description field uses synchronous access (i.e. runs on the main Firefox processor thread). These synchronous APIs have been deprecated and removed and it was decided not to create a new asynchronous interface for supporting legacy descriptions because there is already a description field in places.sqlite that is used for the Firefox Home page (Activity Stream).