Firefox 67 will display a profile icon in the main toolbar by default

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 17, 2019

The next stable Firefox version, Firefox 67, will display a profile icon in the main toolbar to make Firefox Account features more accessible and discoverable in the web browser.

Firefox can be used without an account and that won't change; Firefox Accounts are needed to enable sync functionality in the browser and that is without doubt the main functionality right now. Mozilla started to use Firefox Accounts for other web services such as Firefox Monitor, Firefox Send, or Lockbox recently, and there is an option to use a "send tabs" feature to send open tabs to another device.

Mozilla ran a Shield Study recently to find out how it could improve the discoverability of the Firefox Account feature. The Shield study ran for 28 days; Firefox displayed an account icon in the main toolbar during the study and this resulted in an 8% increase in sign-ins to Firefox Accounts.

Users who participated in the study were asked to fill out a survey. 45% of users liked the profile icon (avatar), another 45% were indifferent to it, and 10% disliked it.

Mozilla decided to go ahead and implement a profile icon natively in Firefox to improve Firefox Account discoverability and use.

Firefox 67: Profile Icon

firefox new account controls

The profile icon is already visible in Firefox and Nightly versions at the time of writing. It will launch with Firefox 67 in the coming month in the Stable channel. Firefox 67 is scheduled for a May 14, 2019 release.

The icon is displayed by default, even to users who are not signed in to a Firefox Account at the time. A click on the icon displays several options that depend on your sign-in status.

If you are signed in, you get the following options:

  • Send Tab to another device.
  • Show Synced Tabs.
  • View Synced Tabs Sidebar.
  • Connect Another device.
  • Manage Account.
  • Sync Settings.
  • Sync Now.

Note that Firefox does not display options to sign-out of the account using the menu. You need to click on "Sync Settings" to get an option to sign-out of the account.

The options are self-explanatory for the most part. Selecting "connect another device" displays an option to send "Firefox" to a mobile device to add it to the main Firefox Account.

Managing the Profile Icon in Firefox

remove profile icon toolbar

The profile icon is delivered in a non-fixed status. Means: Firefox users may move it or remove it from the browser's toolbar just like many of the other icons; this is a fundamental difference to Chrome's profile icon which users cannot remove or move.

Just right-click on the icon and select  "Remove from Toolbar" to remove the icon and hide it. Select "customize" instead if you want to move it to another location. Use drag and drop operations to move it to another place in the user interface after the customize selection.

Closing Words

Signing in to a Firefox Account is useful if you use multiple versions of Firefox on the same device or multiple devices, and want to sync data between them. It can also be useful as a backup of data that is stored in encrypted form in the cloud.

Mozilla does the right thing by allowing users to remove it or move it; those who don't use Firefox Account functionality can remove it once and be done with it.

Now You: Do you use Firefox's Account feature?

Firefox 67 will display a profile icon in the main toolbar by default
Article Name
Firefox 67 will display a profile icon in the main toolbar by default
The next stable Firefox version, Firefox 67, will display a profile icon in the main toolbar to make Firefox Account features more accessible and discoverable in the web browser.
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  1. Don said on August 8, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    I removed the icon from the toolbar back then. It never came back.

  2. Dont need tha blip said on July 3, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    Can’t remove that annoying shit. When you remove the icon, it comes back when i restart the browser.
    Shoving shit down to people throats is not the best way increase popularity.

  3. adsadasdada said on June 16, 2019 at 2:11 am

    absolutely bye bye firefox. update to quantum, local bookmarks gone and a message that my bookmarks should be in the cloud for my own good from now on.
    Are you friggin kidding me?
    like the pocket thingy, collecting data and then let a AI elsewhere decide what to show next,
    and thats mozillas superior view on privacy?

  4. John said on June 4, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Bye, bye firefox after 20 years of browsing

  5. Coldfox said on April 25, 2019 at 11:10 am

    Stuff like this is the reason I created Coldfox:

    Fully portable, privacy respecting, old school interface.
    No install, already set-up with adblock, noscript and dissenter preinstalled.

  6. Lord-Lestat said on April 19, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    And here does Mozilla what they can do best… blaming others for their own naivety – Have they really been thinking that Google is the friendly benefactor they acted towards Mozilla? And that removing features and choice and adopting stock features and stock design – as persuaded by Chrome engineers – would be a clever idea to mobilize the user-masses?

    And now where this failed – oh.. it is Google’s fault all along… because they have…. sabotaged Mozilla! The idea that Mozilla must blame itself for being naive… Impossible taught… never ever! It is always the other party which is to blame!

    And here the statement from their leader – who also does not get it at all:

    The glory days of past Mozilla are SO over sadly!

  7. ULBoom said on April 19, 2019 at 4:15 am

    The only stuff I sync isn’t browser based anyway and I have no need for a firefox account. I have no need for a google account either but can’t use gmail or you tube without one.

    A Venn diagram of mozilla’s universe and google’s has a very, very, very small intersection. When google began shoving chrome down everyone’s throats with android, the game was over. Mozilla could never have won that contest, not even if they hadn’t junked up firefox. IE was No. 1 forever, even after being forcibly unbundled, now we have Chromedgium? Another of the 20 or so google licensed Chromium based browsers.

    Maybe some monopoly legislation will cut chrome down to size, time will tell. Users definitely won’t start a mass migration from chrome; most are too busy chasing notifications to care.

    Try FF ESR, it’s not even close to the twisted mess the release channel version has become, it’s simple and works well. The FF Tor browser is based on it.

  8. nogooglezilla thank you said on April 19, 2019 at 1:26 am

    mozilla trying so hard to be our little google alphabet…

  9. Pierre said on April 18, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Not understood anything

  10. Don said on April 18, 2019 at 12:06 am

    I like Firefox Sync, and I think the account and sync buttons at the top of the main menu are perfect. I don’t want another button crowding the toolbar; but it will be easy to move. If it helps other people find the great feature, I’m OK with it.

    Send Tab to Device is nicely in the tab context menu, and Send Page to Device is nicely in the page context menu. Both features have been handy in the past.

  11. Robert said on April 17, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    As long as I can move this bloat to “Toolbar Items” page then I am fine with the change. I would rather uninstall that option though.

  12. John Fenderson said on April 17, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    “Do you use Firefox’s Account feature?”

    No. Having a Firefox account gives me nothing that I need. I also prefer to avoid the cloud when possible.

  13. Yuliya said on April 17, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    We Chrome now

  14. Ray said on April 17, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    Jeez, copy Chrome again?

    1. Stan said on April 17, 2019 at 7:04 pm

      Monkey see, monkey do..

  15. user17843 said on April 17, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    I want to add that in general this feature is a very good idea and I appreciate that the engineers do what they can to improve the product.

    The problem is just that 90% of the users expect a local profile management, and not a cloud service.

    1. Malte said on April 17, 2019 at 3:26 pm

      At the end of the day Mozilla is just like any other company craving for your data.

  16. user17843 said on April 17, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    > “Most users failed to understand the value proposition of an account and why they should create one.”

    Mozilla philosophy in a nutshell: Users fail to understand everything we do. They are so confused that they even stop using Firefox at all and switch to Chrome!

    Where is the proof on this user failure? Show me the quotes from users saying this.

    This is such a backward thinking. Firefox Sync is basically “in your face” these days in Firefox:

    – After every update
    – After a new install
    – In the settings
    – and now also in the browser menu

    And their own study showed a meagre 8% increase in usage. And what do the 8% mean anyway? “Users authenticated into Firefox Account roughly 8% more” – this means there wasn’t even an 8% increase in sign ups, but simply a slight increase in usage among those that already use Firefox Sync.

    45% indifferent, 10% did not like it – and 45% said they like it, but in reality they din’t care as their usage did not increase apparently. So in reality we have >92% that didn’t like it or are indifferent.

    Mozilla is busy creating features for minorities.

    Note that the study design itself is already flawed because Firefox Shield Study users are probably not comparable with average users.

    If you participate in a shield study you simply log into this stuff 8% more because you want to experiment with the new feature. So the entire move is completely unnecessary.


    Now, lets look at the numbers:

    According to Mozilla, Firefox Sync is used by around 1% of users! It gets even more absurd: Only 20% of these use Firefox Sync with more than 1 device – so 80% use Firefox Sync without even syncing anything!

    Which simply means that most people do not use Firefox on different devices, and do not care about syncing.

    The dependence of Mozilla on their own deeply flawed study data makes them come to the wrong conclusions all the time.

    Please guys, just talk to real people in the real world.

    No one in the industry relies on this kind of flawed telemetry data!

    That’s why Google, Microsoft and Apple collect the important telemetry from ALL users and do not care about much else. Only Mozilla has tried to built a complete survaillance system of their users, but most power users, organizations and corporations who use Firefox have propbably opted out of the survaillance – thus Mozilla only observes their noob user base and forgets the intelligent users.

    Recently the product team at mozilla has even declared interest in getting all URLs (!) their users visit, to “protect” them from “slow websites”. What a joke – the most visited websites are already publicly available for everyone to look at.

    But I know what they are up to: They know that more and more sites will stop supporting Firefox due to their ignorant policies of isolating themselves from the entire industry. So they want to monitor where their users browse to see when a website stops working in Firefox – in an effort to launch quick superficial fixes.

    > “…solicited input from our Growth and Marketing teams, […] From these discussions, we decided […] putting a top level account menu item next to the Firefox application menu.”

    So the marketing team decided you need to copy Chrome in look and style. But the marketing team forgot that the icon has an entirely different meaning in Chrome, because it works primarily without any sync features – it is a local user management system with optional sync!

    That is why your users do not care about this. A browser has to be local first, and offering cloud sync as secondary features.


    Just like with the Firefox Screenshot feature that confused people with uploading to the cloud BY DEFAULT, this Account feature is backwards too, and thus will repel the majority of the user base.

    1. John Fenderson said on April 18, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      @user17843: “The dependence of Mozilla on their own deeply flawed study data makes them come to the wrong conclusions all the time.”

      A million times this — but Mozilla doesn’t want to hear it. Just mention the idea to Mozilla devs sometime and see their reaction.

    2. Anonymous said on April 18, 2019 at 2:03 am

      Well said! Mozilla should also bring back Brendan Eich.

    3. Anonymous said on April 18, 2019 at 12:49 am

      Thanks for this excellent analysis!

    4. Hunter said on April 17, 2019 at 8:39 pm

      You know that 1%/20% statistic you just referenced? It’s from a wiki page that was last updated in 2014. The upcoming release at that time was Firefox 29.

      If you’re going to make the argument that very few users care about Firefox Sync, try to find a statistic that isn’t from 5 years ago.

      >That is why your users do not care about this. A browser has to be local first, and offering cloud sync as secondary features.

      What are you even saying here? Firefox has the exact same local feature set if I don’t use Sync as opposed to using Sync, except for the one icon I can remove from my bar.

      1. user17843 said on April 18, 2019 at 8:06 am

        @Hunter: It is up to Mozilla to publish the new statistics about Sync, the 2014 numbers are their latest ones.

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