Next-Gen Firefox Sync to use Mozilla Persona for identification

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 30, 2012

Mozilla is currently working on the next generation of its data synchronization service Sync and aims to release the updated version with Firefox 20. Firefox Sync currently relies on setting up a Mozilla account on all devices running Firefox to sync browsing data such as bookmarks, passwords or the browsing history.

Mozilla plans to improve the experience by switching to Mozilla Persona for identification purposes in the next version of Firefox Sync. It is still necessary to create a Firefox account, but in the new version that is handled by Persona. Existing Sync and Mozilla Persona users get upgrade options to switch to the new version of Sync.

It is however complicated if existing Firefox Sync users want to update. The problem here is that the old and new synchronization options are not compatible with each other. Firefox users therefor need to either upgrade all devices to the new version of sync and thus Mozilla Persona, or stay with the old system and not upgrade. The latter is however only a temporary option since Mozilla plans to retire the old Sync eventually.

Probably the biggest improvement from a user perspective is the way a Sync account is configured on a device. Mozilla Persona users can simply use their email address and password to add another device to the list of systems they want to keep in sync. The current implementation of Firefox Sync requires you to enter a username, password and 12 digit pairing code.

Another negative is that the first implementation won't support setting up a custom sync server.

For now, this means that the new version of Sync will make it a bit easier to set up the service on other systems for new and existing users. Existing users on the other hand will lose functionality to set up their own servers, have to set up a Mozilla Persona account, and make sure that all of their Firefox versions use the new Sync.

What's interesting though is what Mozilla considers adding in future versions. This includes a Windows System Restore like feature to create snapshots of Firefox sync data and the use of third party services to sync data with those services directly.

You find additional information about the plans on the Mozilla Wiki. (via)


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  1. Randall Hampton said on January 27, 2018 at 1:49 am

    I really need my app passwords restored from my OLD Firefox on the desk top. How can I accomplish this?

  2. Jim said on October 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I tried Sync when it first came out. It quickly lost about 60% of my bookmarks before I caught it. Luckily I had a backup. I turned it off and am reluctant to ever try it again. Is Persona more than just a re-branding of the same functionality?

    I normally use Xmarks, but it has a tendency of duplicating bookmarks. (I think it is related to using it to sync different brands of browsers. Seems to work fine until Chrome comes into the mix.) I currently have about 200-300 bookmarks which Xmarks has turned into over 3000. Cleaning it up is such a PITA that I just keep putting it off.

  3. SAN IT said on October 1, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I solved the sync issues by contacting a good company for the IT services. This is because I could relate to the issue as before as well while the Firefox was Netscape navigator.
    The company coded for me a compatibility pack to run the sync easily.



  4. Caspy7 said on October 1, 2012 at 12:54 am

    I imagine that Mozilla will make sure there are Persona enabled versions of all the major 3rd party implementations before cutting off the first generation sync functionality entirely.

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