The Firefox Password Manager securely stores the web login credentials you trust the browser to hold, and automatically fills them in the next time you visit those same websites. It also allows the convenience of erasing cookies and browsing history using a Mac optimization app (or manually) to protect your privacy.
However, even though the Firefox Password Manager stores the credentials on your hard drive in an encrypted format, anyone with access to your computer can still use them. That's why we recommend the use of a Master Password to protect stored logins and passwords. But beware: there is an option to reset the Master Password if you forget it, but that also means Firefox will remove all of your saved usernames and passwords.
Moving Your Saved Password Data Between Different Firefox Browsers
The Firefox profile acts as the storage location for all important data, including your logins and is stored in different locations dependent on your operating system. Password data is stored in two different files, and both files are required when moving the data, for example from Windows to a Mac. The key3.db file stores the key database for your passwords, while logins.json contains the saved passwords.
Copying the two files – while keeping the data protected – only allows users to move the login data from one Firefox profile to another. However, the Opera web browser breach is a strong reminder that it can be a risk when storing all your passwords and credit card information within a web browser. Just a quick note here: Opera confirmed that hackers were likely able to access personal information, including some of the password and account information of users using the sync feature. And let's be honest, who doesn't prefer having all their logins on every device that they own?
The best way to have all the passwords and much more in sync across all devices is by using a password manager. And if the program of choice is right, all the data – even that in transfer – is protected. But that also requires importing all the saved data into that specific password manager so, if you need to migrate all the saved passwords to a password manager app then there are two options available to you.
The Safest Way to Import the Database to a Password Manager
Password managers do not support the .db and .json formats, and you won't be able to keep the database encrypted while copying to the chosen service. That means the transfer can be done either the hard way, which is more secure, or the less secure but much easier way.
The harder way is to open Firefox and select Preferences > Security > Saved Logins, then copy every single username and password one-by-one into a new login item for that specific account credential in the password manager app. While it may take a lot of your time, this is the safest method.
The Less Secure Way of Importing the Database to a Password Manager
Firefox allows users to export their password data only by installing an extension called Password Exporter. This add-on streamlines the import-export process: just open Firefox and select Preferences > Security, and a new button called Import/Export Passwords appears. The extension has the option to encrypt usernames and passwords, but it has a bug: it only exports the data in XML format despite CSV format being listed as supported. Most password managers support CSV files.
This bug means all the exported data is exposed, since the only way you can import it into a password manager is by giving that data to a third party converter that then converts the file into a supported format. We highly recommend checking the source of that converter and only use the one recommended by the password manager's developers.
We understand that browsing the web using Firefox for years also means a tremendous amount of password data has been stored by Firefox's Password Manager, but as the internet culture evolves we now find ourselves requiring more data to be stored than simply web page logins. Using a password manager means sophisticated password generation, storing secure notes, a variety of credentials, and much more. That's something web browsers aren't designed to do; it’s better to switch to a password manager as soon as possible, and be sure to make the right choice.
Best Password Managers of 2019
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