Moving Bookmarks and Passwords from Firefox to Safari

After many, MANY years of using Firefox, I have made the switch to Safari. I’ve always hated Internet Explorer after version 6. I’ve never wanted to use Chrome because, while it’s blazingly fast and easy to use, I’m not a great fan of Google. Yes, I know, Apple uses my information and I’m sure little of what I do is private. But I just know that Google is looking at everything I do, even in private mode, and using that to build some sort of advertising logic to quietly push me ads in places I would not expect, or to filter my search results based on what THEY think are my preference. Yes, paranoid I can be I suppose.

Anyway, the main reason for the move from Firefox to Safari is that recent versions of Firefox are just unstable on my Mac. It locks up, runs my battery down and generally misbehaves. I like the UI on Firefox better than Safari, but that’s pretty much it.

The problem is, I have years worth of saved passwords in Firefox that I want to move to Safari. Moving Bookmarks is very simple. And I really don’t use Bookmarks much anymore. And I don’t want to upload my passwords to any server for storage at this point.

So, after much research, here’s the simple way to move both from Firefox to Safari. Please let me know how this works for you. And this is specifically targeted for a Mac platform, specifically Maverick 10.9.4, Firefox 32.0.

WARNING: IF YOU FOLLOW MY PROCEDURES BELOW, THEY *SHOULD* WORK. BUT IF THEY DO NOT, I DO NOT ACCEPT ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE POTENTIAL LOSS OF YOUR PASSWORDS. THE PROCESS ALLOWS YOU TO EXPORT PASSWORDS TO A DISK FILE FOR SAFE KEEPING. IT IS *YOUR* RESPONSIBILITY TO MANAGE THAT TEXT FILE BECAUSE IT CONTAINS ALL OF YOUR FIREFOX LOGINS AND PASSWORDS. ONCE THIS PROCESS IS COMPLETE, I RECOMMEND YOU DELETE THAT FILE AND THEN EMPTY YOUR TRASH FOLDER. REMEMBER, THIS WORKED FOR ME, MY VERSION OF MAC OS, SAFARI AND FIREFOX. THAT DOES NOT GUARANTEE IT WILL WORK FOR YOU.

(okay, now that THAT’S out of the way)

First, Bookmarks:
1. Install Safari – pull it down from http://www.apple.com
2. Bring up Firefox, Select “Bookmarks” from the menu, and “Show All Bookmarks”
3. In the Bookmarks window, select the little star button in the tool bar, and select “Export Bookmarks to HTML”. Put the file somewhere you’ll find it again, such as your Desktop.
4. Bring up Safari
5. Select “File” then “Import Bookmarks..”, select the bookmarks file you exported above. And there ya go.

Now you may want to go into Show All Bookmarks in Safari and move things around. You can highlight multiple bookmarks and drag the order around. Also, anything under Favorites will go in your toolbar so you can mess with that as well.

Now the more interesting one, passwords. This is assuming that you use Firefox to save passwords. Firefox saves these passwords in an encrypted format somewhere on disk. It’s not important where at this point. Safari more appropriately stores passwords in your Mac Keychain under the category “logins”. To do this export/import from Firefox, we don’t even use Safari as there’s no simple way that I could find to import passwords into the Keychain.

So, here we go. And note, there is a destructive part of this step, but Step 5 below makes sure you have saved your passwords before you destroy them.

1. Go into Firefox, select Preferences from the Firefox menu, then choose the Security tab.
2. Select Import/Export passwords.
3. Select “Export Saved Passwords” and do NOT check the “obfuscate Usernames/Passwords” box. Obfuscate is a technical term meaning “encrypt” or “jumble up”
4. Click the Export button and put the passwords file somewhere you’ll find it.
5. (Important) Open up TextEdit on your Mac, find that password file you just saved, open it, and triple check to make sure it has stuff in it. If it does not, STOP. The Export did not work correctly.
6. If you made it to here, then you’ve exported your passwords properly and can continue (whew!). Next, select Manage Passwords, and (gulp) select “Remove All”. Yes, that’s correct. Delete all of your passwords in Firefox. You have them saved off just in case, remember? Do it!
7. Next, close the Preference pane and select “Tools” then “Addons” from the Firefox menu.
8. Select “Get Addons” from the page that come up, and search for “Keychain”, and select “Keychain Services Integration” to install. Go ahead and install that add on and restart Firefox.
9. When Firefox comes up, you may get prompted to confirm access to your Keychain. Select “Allow Always” for each of these prompts.
10. Now, Firefox is storing all of its passwords in the Keychain, which is where Safari stores its passwords. We’re almost there.
11. Next, select Firefox Preferences again, then select (you guessed it) the “Security” tab.
12. Select Import/Export passwords, and this time select “Import”
13. Find the passwords file you exported and select that.
14. It will now start importing passwords. It’s okay if all of them don’t important, but nearly all should. You can view the error log and see what did not import. If nearly all did not important, something is wrong. See the “reset back” section below.
15. To make sure this worked, select “Manage Passwords”. This should bring up the Keychain editor and you should see all of your passwords listed under the Keychain type “logins” and the Category “passwords. If not, head to “Reset Back” below.
16. Exit Firefox and bring up Safari.
17. Check out some sites and make sure the passwords populate. You may again get challenged for Safari access to Keychain. Click “Always Allow” each time.

And that’s it! Eventually you can delete Firefox.app from your Applications directory. Also, unless you have some special use or place for your exported password file, I would delete it and empty your Trash folder. That file has all of your logins and passwords in clear text, and that could be bad if it falls into the wrong hands.

Reset Back:
If it did not import your passwords correctly, it’s easy to set everything back. Here’s how. In Firefox:

1. Select Tools from the Firefox menu, then Addons.
2. Select “Extensions” from the left. Scroll down and find “Keychain Services Integration”
3. Choose Disable for that extension and restart Firefox.
4. When Firefox comes back up, select Firefox Preferences, then click the Security tab.
5. Go into Manage Passwords, and “Remove All” – just to clean things up.
6. Select Import/Export, and then Select “Import”. Find the passwords file you saved previously and load it.
7. Go into “Manage Passwords” to make sure the passwords are there. If not, something very bad happened and you’re hosed. Do not delete your passwords file you saved.
8. If they are there, you are in good shape. Delete the password file you saved. At this point, you can try the whole thing again.

Hope this worked for you. If you have any questions or comments, please post them.

Eeep!

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