Even though I’ve switched to Vivaldi as my daily web browser, I still like Firefox. In fact, the default browser on my primary desktop (Pop!_OS, running on a System76 Thelio) seems to switch almost weekly. Maybe after writing this piece, I’ll switch back to Firefox–crazier things have happened.

There’s one thing that’s become increasingly important for modern web browser users–the ability to sync data between instances. With Google stripping the open source Chromium of this features, users who prefer to stay away from proprietary solutions will want to find an open source option that allows them to sync their desktop browser with the mobile browser.

Fortunately, most every major browser on the market does this, but the Firefox developers have made this even easier. Once upon a time, you had to actually go through the process of entering a username and password to set up Firefox sync on your mobile device. Who has time for that?

I’m kidding, of course. Sort of. For those who really are that busy (basically every system administrator on the planet), that’s not necessary now. Firefox has gone the way of the QR code to connect instances of desktop and mobile browsers.

Let’s see how it works.

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What you’ll need

To make this work, you’ll need a desktop instance of Firefox which is associated with a sync account. If you haven’t already set that up, check out this quick (albeit slightly outdated) video: How to connect Firefox Quantum to your Firefox account. You’ll also need the mobile version of Firefox, either running on Android or iOS.

Once you have Firefox connected to your account, you’re ready to connect your mobile instance of Firefox.

How to connect quickly sync desktop and mobile Firefox to the same account

Open Firefox on your desktop and click the menu button (three horizontal lines in the upper-right corner). From the popup menu, click the email address associated with your Firefox account (Figure A).

Figure A

The Firefox menu will let you know if your browser is connected to a sync account.

In the resulting menu, click Connect Another Device (Figure B).

Figure B

The Firefox account sync menu.

A new window will appear, where you can reveal the QR code for quick device connection (Figure C).

Figure C

Revealing the QR code to make it easier to sync your devices.

Open Firefox on your mobile device. If this is the first time you’ve opened the mobile browser, you should see a Sign In To Firefox button (Figure D).

Figure D

The Turn On Sync button within Firefox Mobile, running on Android 11.

Tap Sign in to Firefox and then, when prompted, tap Ready To Scan (Figure E).

Figure E

You’re one step away from scanning the QR code to connect desktop to mobile instances of Firefox.

Scan the code and your devices will begin to sync. You’ll be informed of the connection, which will include the location and IP address of the mobile device, so you know it was you.

It’ll take a few seconds for everything to sync from desktop to mobile, but once it’s done, you’ll find all of your bookmarks, tabs, cookies, and passwords are now in sync.

If you’re a Firefox user, looking to migrate from the default browser on your mobile device, this quick sync connection feature will make that process an absolute no-brainer.

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Image: Jack Wallen