Mozilla Firefox, like other leading web browsers, lets you save passwords, emails, usernames, and more. You can then autofill them when logging into accounts or merely view them when you need to switch devices. Even better, you can sign in to your Firefox Account on another device, and thanks to its cloud syncing feature, all your bookmarks, passwords, and other data will be downloaded. The problem is that many users don’t know how to preview saved passwords. Others may forget their credentials and thus can’t use the sync feature. Luckily, they have us. We will demonstrate how to recover Firefox passwords.
1. View saved passwords in Mozilla Firefox
We will first presume that you have access to a Firefox Account in at least one browser, and that you merely need a way to see saved passwords. That is useful if you only need to sign in to one or a few places, but not sync all data to another device. Viewing saved passwords on Firefox works like this:
- Open Firefox then click the hamburger menu in the upper right corner.
- Pick Preferences from the drop-down menu.
- Click Privacy & Security in the left sidebar.
- Scroll down to the section titled “Logins and Passwords”.
- Click the Saved Logins… button.
- Select the Show Passwords button.
- You may have to authenticate yourself by entering the user account password for your computer or using the two-factor authentication if you enabled it.
- You can now see all passwords tied to your Firefox Account. They are separated into columns such as Site, User name, Last Changed, Password, and so on.
2. Use data recovery code to restore Firefox Account data
As mentioned, logging in to a Firefox Account on another device will automatically sync personal data—passwords included. However, sync may be disabled on the device with data. Additionally, some users may forget their credentials. Thus, we will go over enabling syncing. Then, we will show you how to get back into your Firefox Account to download synced passwords.
Еnable data syncing for Mozilla Firefox
You can turn this feature on if you have a device that’s already logged in (even if you’re afraid to sign out because you don’t remember the password). Similarly, if you plan to reinstall your operating system and want to prevent losing saved credentials, use this method. With that said, here are ways to activate Firefox syncing:
- All systems — Type about:preferences in the address bar and load it.
- Windows — Open the three-bar menu or click Tools at the top. Go to Preferences from the drop-down menu.
- Linux — Identical to Windows, except you can click the Edit menu rather than “Tools”.
- Mac — Same as Linux and Windows, but the menu is titled Firefox.
In all these cases, you need to go to Sync in the left column. Go to Firefox Account to see settings and make sure syncing of passwords is included on the right-hand side.
Use recovery keys to reset access to Firefox Account and its passwords
We won’t get into this in too much detail, since we will publish a Firefox Account recovery guide. However, know that you can click Forgot Password? when trying to log in, click the password reset link in your email. Otherwise, you must enter the password recovery code you generate like this:
- Use the hamburger menu.
- Go to your account (email address), then select Manage Account.
- Go to the “Security” tab and click Create next to “Recovery key”.
- Select Continue after entering your current password.
- Select the recovery key saving method (printing, copying, downloading) and click Close.
Now, when you log in to a device where the passwords are missing and can’t recall your Firefox Account password or lose e-mail access, you are offered to enter the recovery key. After doing so, you may set a new password, key, and a secondary email address. Log in, and passwords will sync on the new device shortly.
3. Copy encrypted Firefox data to recover passwords
If syncing didn’t work, we can confidently say it was disabled on all devices that use the account. It may also have stopped syncing after you changed the password in the past, as designed. Luckily, although data is encrypted, Firefox stores the necessary data if you need to reinstall or upgrade your operating system. Additionally, you may see the data even if you lose access to a Firefox Account and need to make a new profile. At the very least, you can copy data from one profile to another on the same account.
Finding password data on an old Firefox Account profile
Unsurprisingly, this option requires you to have made a profile in the past. Then, when you create one or sign in to the old one on a fresh Firefox installation, the easiest way to find Firefox data is to:
- Type about:support or about:profiles in the address bar. Alternatively, click Help → Troubleshooting Information.
- In all those cases, you should see a Profile Folder or Profile Directory option.
- Depending on the system, click Open Directory (Linux), Open Folder (Windows) or Show in Finder (Mac).
- After it opens, look for files titled key4.db and logins.json.
- Copy them to a safe location. You can use them for a future backup besides this restoration.
Restore Firefox passwords on a new or existing profile
Now that you have two files, with the .db being the encrypted table of username, site, and password information and the other being the decryption key, you can import them. The easiest way to recover Firefox passwords by importing files is:
- Enter about:profiles in the address bar again. Press Enter to open the page.
- You will now see the “About Profiles” page with a list of profiles: name, root directory, local directory, and several options below.
- Create a profile or find the existing one. You now have two options:
- Use the Local Directory and Root Directory file paths for the profile and open them in your file explorer utility/software.
- Go to the hamburger menu, then Help → Моre Troubleshooting Information → Click Open Folder in the “Application Basics” part of the page.
- Exit Firefox (hamburger menu → Exit to be safe)
- Copy the two files in the profile folder.
- Now, if the wrong profile is selected as default, repeat step 1, then click Launch profile in new browser for the one you imported data for.
- After checking for passwords using method 1 and confirming they are back, click the Set as default profile button. You now managed to recover Firefox passwords permanently and have a backup.