CyberNotes
Web Browser Wednesday

When Apple added iPod Touch/iPhone bookmark synchronization to iTunes they, for whatever reason, didn’t include Firefox as an option. As it stands right now you can synchronize your iPhone bookmarks with Safari (available on Windows and Mac) or Internet Explorer (available on Windows). For all of the Firefox users out there we’re going to show you some tricks so that you never have to leave Firefox for managing your iPhone bookmarks.

The best way that we came up with was utilizing the Internet Explorer favorites as the backbone to syncing your Firefox bookmarks. That means in iTunes you’ll want to set Internet Explorer as the source to get the bookmarks from, and these various methods will take it from there…

–Managing Favorites from Firefox–

The best solution that I came up with is using the PlainOldFavorites Firefox extension that we’ve featured a few weeks ago in another article. It’s not exactly overflowing with functionality, but what it does do is let you manage your Internet Explorer Bookmarks from within Firefox. You can therefore bookmark a website from within Firefox and have it saved directly to the Internet Explorer favorites.

PlainOldFavoritesA new version of the extension was released to make it compatible with Firefox 3, and to the right you can see the new menu that’s added once the extension is installed. It’s pretty cut-and-dry, and one of the things that I’m not all that fond of is that the bookmarks are sorted alphabetically with no reordering options. If you click the Organize Favorites option you’ll be able to reorder your bookmarks and folders in anyway you would like, but the changes will never be reflected within this menu.

Using this method will keep your Internet Explorer favorites separate from your Firefox bookmarks, which is something that I actually prefer. I have hundreds of bookmarks in Firefox, but I only want a handful of them on my iPhone. Using this Firefox extension I’m able to directly manage the IE favorites which are then synchronized with my iPhone.

–Syncing Favorites with Firefox–

If you want all of your Firefox bookmarks to synchronize with the Internet Explorer favorites there are a few options available to you. Most of these have not been updated to work with Firefox 3 yet since the bookmarking system has been drastically redesigned, but if you’re still using Firefox 2 they should work great:

  • SyncMarks is probably your best bet. It is an extension which is able to backup your bookmarks to the Windows Favorites folder on your computer. It’s a one-way system meaning that sites you bookmark in Firefox will show up in your favorites, but things you bookmark in Internet Explorer will end up getting wiped out.
  • BookKit offers two way synchronization between Firefox and IE, as well as free web access to all of your bookmarks. The nice thing with this service is that it will likely work with Firefox 3 pretty soon since it relies on a popular extension that’s not actually developed by the site.
  • We’ve featured Zinkmo before because it is a simple and useful way to not only gain access to your bookmarks across the two browsers, but also across multiple computers.

–Overview–

Obviously the easiest solution would be for Apple to add Firefox support, but that will likely not matter once users are allowed to install custom applications on the device. At that time we’ll probably start seeing programs to sync the iPhone’s Safari bookmarks with dozens of online services, such as Del.icio.us. It will all be done without ever connecting your iPhone to the computer! I can’t wait to see that happen.

There Are 5 Comments

  1. What about Mac Users who use Firefox but not Safari? Is there a way to sync those together?

  2. Patrick wrote:
    What about Mac Users who use Firefox but not Safari? Is there a way to sync those together?

    Unfortunately I don’t know of any at this point because I don’t own a Mac.

  3. I started using Google Bookmarks because I use both Safari and Firefox simultaneously. Same rules would apply to the iPhone I would think. Google provides links that make bookmark management easier than what I was doing.

    Seems easier than trying to sync.

  4. Also, you could download Foxmarks ([foxmarks.com]) , a Firefox extension. This will allow you to sync Firefox across multiple computers (extremely useful just for that).

    Now on your iPhone, go to [mobile.foxmarks.com.] All your bookmarks will be there, auto-syncing.

    Voila!

  5. Manual workaround (works for firefox v: 3.6+)
    1) open firefox & nav to menu ‘bookmarks’ then ‘organize bookmarks’
    2) nav to ‘import and backup’ on drop down hit ‘export html’ & drop to folder
    3) open IE & select ‘file’ then ‘import & export’ then ‘import from a file’ & ‘next’ & checkbox ‘favorites’ & next & browse to your fox export html file then click ‘open’ and they will import to IE
    4) open itunes
    5) sync up
    6) bookmarks appear

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