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New profile every time.

  • 6 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • Last reply by cor-el

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I'm currently using macOS 10.14, had been using macOS 10.12. I'm currently on Firefox 72.0.1, but I think the problems described below go back to version 69 or so.

It seems like anything I do with Firefox means that it creates a new profile and I have to set my old profile as the default, launch in a new browser, and delete the new profile. By "anything" I mean: restarting the computer; logging out and back in; updating Firefox; quitting and relaunching Firefox. The last one doesn't always happen--sometimes I close Firefox, relaunch it, and everything is fine. Sometimes I close Firefox, relaunch it, and it's created a new profile and I have to go through the little dance setting it back to the old profile and deleting the new one. Actions like restarting the computer and logging out usually mean that the icon on the dock has been replaced by a question mark and I have to drag Firefox back down to the dock to get it down there again. This is tedious and annoying, so I'd really like to figure out how to just get Firefox to keep using the same profile unless I change it for some reason. Any suggestions?

All Replies (6)

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It sounds like you are probably running Firefox directly from the downloaded .dmg file instead of copying the file to your computer.

Previously, there was no real noticeable issue if you did that. However, in Firefox 67, the way that Firefox handles profiles was changed. Firefox now makes a new default profile for each install of Firefox. Running from the .dmg file is detected as a new install because it's essentially the same as running Firefox from a CD or USB drive.

You need to copy the file from the .dmg file into your Applications folder and then unmount the .dmg file. See How to download and install Firefox on Mac for more information.

Hope this helps.

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Thanks. Firefox is installed on my hard drive in the Applications folder, though. I don't think I'm doing anything else that might cause confusion as to whether or not it's a new installation. I wondered a while ago if having Firefox on my hard drive as well as on a backup RAID drive could be the issue, so I removed it from the backup & deleted the existing copy.

I just tried updating Firefox to see if that might change anything--it hasn't before, but who knows? This reminded me of another couple of oddities: trying to update Firefox via the "About Firefox" dialogue never works. It restarts Firefox, creates another new profile, but stays at the same version. So, I need to download the .dmg from and do it that way--but this doesn't just create another new profile, it deletes my old one! Augh.

In the past, I've also tried deleting every trace of Firefox from my computer (by searching for all files / folders with "firefox" in the name and deleting all of them--I'm not sure if this gets everything, but I don't know of a more complete method) and reinstalling. This does not change anything. So far as I can tell on my side, it's just a feature of all recent versions of Firefox and does not depend on which particular version of Firefox is involved, on the version of macOS installed, or on any Firefox-related files on my computer...

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Firefox uses two locations for the Firefox profile folder. Location used for the main profile that keeps your personal data (Root Directory on about:profiles).

  • ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/<profile>/

Location used for the disk cache and other temporary files (Local Directory on about:profiles).

  • ~/Library/Caches/Firefox/Profiles/
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I have the same issue.

The first time it happened (2 days ago), I was able to go to about:profiles and change my default profile back to the original. Now, however, even at that step (launching profile in new browser to verify which is correct--currently 3 listed) I am being prompted with the below error message:

"Using an older version of Firefox can corrupt bookmarks and browsing history already saved to an existing Firefox profile. For your protection, create a new profile for this installation of Firefox"

My Mac (running Mojave 10.14.6) does not have either of the folders listed in the previous post by @cor-el.

I am not running from the install file, I am running from the same task bar icon I've always used and as far as I can tell I only have one version of Firefox installed (version: 72.0.2).

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Running from the .dmg file also makes a taskbar icon on Mac, so having a taskbar icon doesn't necessarily mean you aren't running from the .dmg file.

An easy way to check is to go to the about:support page in Firefox and look for the Application Binary value. If you close Firefox and open it again, does that value change?

If it does, it likely means that you are running from the .dmg file.

Another good way to check is to go to the Applications folder on your Mac and see if the file is in there. If it is, try opening that file. Then add a bookmark, close Firefox and open it again from that file. See if the data stays.

If the file is not in that folder, review How to download and install Firefox on Mac.

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In Mac OS X v10.7 and later, the "~/Library" folder in the Home directory is a hidden folder.