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Services/Sync/Xmarks

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If you are an Xmarks user who is interested in trying out Firefox Sync as a potential replacement, you might find this document useful. In particular, it explains some of the differences between Firefox Sync and Xmarks so you know what to expect. This is not meant to be a feature-by-feature comparison checklist.

Contents

What is Firefox Sync

Firefox Sync is a service that allows you to access your bookmarks, history, Awesome Bar intelligence, passwords, form-fill data and open tabs from Firefox running on other computers and mobile phones.

It is available in a variety of options (see below).

Here are some important features of Firefox Sync:

  • Firefox puts security as a top priority, especially when it comes to all your important data. That is why your data is encrypted by default so only you have access to it.
  • You can use Mozilla's servers or you can set up your own server.
  • You will not see a lot of knobs/levers as we've built Sync to be minimalist, non-intrusive and something that just works. You will be notified in case of errors or issues that need your attention, but for the most part, you should hardly notice it.

Compatibility

  • If you are running Firefox 3.5 or 3.6, install the add-on.
  • If you are running the latest Firefox 4 beta, Sync is an integrated feature. Get Firefox 4 beta.
  • If you are an iPhone user, try the free Firefox Home app.
  • If you use Firefox on a mobile phone, Sync is an integrated feature of the latest development versions of Firefox Mobile.
  • If you are an advanced user, you can use nightly builds of Firefox or the developer channel version of the add-on.
  • Warning: Expect stuff to break as we work towards stabilizing them. It is strongly recommended to not mix production with developer channel versions as they may be incompatible for some periods.

Setup process

  • Main difference is that Firefox Sync requires a Sync Key (also called secret phrase) that is used to encrypt all of your data. This is different from your username and password. It is used to provide additional security for your data and ensure that only you ever have access to it. You will need this every time you set up Sync on new computers, so don't lose it.
  • Tip: Sync stores your login credentials in Firefox's Password Manager. So, if you ever forget your password or Sync Key, you can view it from the Password Manager.

Features

  • You can sync the following types of data:
    • Bookmarks
    • Passwords (especially useful on mobile phones)
    • History (for AwesomeBar search)
    • Open tabs
    • Preferences
    • Form history (especially useful on mobile phones)
  • All of your data is encrypted on your clients
  • Sync works automatically once you have set it up.
  • You can host your data on your own server (for advanced users)
  • Sync currently does *not* support the following:
    • Web access of your data - Since your data is encrypted on your computers, you cannot log on from any computer to access your data. You will need the Sync software to decrypt your data and display it to you.
    • Home/Work Profile support - You will need to set up two separate Firefox Sync accounts.
    • No Sync on quit - Your data will be synced when you restart your browser. You can also manually force a sync before you quit if you need immediate access to that data.