Open Bug 1557125 Opened 4 months ago Updated 5 days ago

[meta] Problems updating to FF67. Apparent loss of profile data. Poor User Experience. (Profile-per-install + safe mode)


(Firefox :: General, task, P3)

67 Branch




(Reporter: chuck, Unassigned)


(Depends on 3 open bugs)


(Keywords: meta)


(1 file)

Erik Rose, CCed here, has a case of an update from 64 to 67 failing to apply (possibly due to 1474285), and being prompted to do so manually. In the process of upgrading manually, he ran into bug 1556612, rendering the old profile unusable in 67, and the new profile entirely devoid

This bug is to track any novel issues, if any, that arose in this process. Erik will follow up here with details.

Do we have reason to think that issues other than bug 1474285 and bug 1556612 are involved? I'm confused about what this bug is for, and why it was filed in this component.

See Also: → 1557117

As promised, details:


Just had a really Sad Path with my wife's Firefox install. It started with the 67.0.1 Trailhead release tonight and degenerated from there into a series of UX bloopers, each more cryptic and unfriendly than the last. I'm hoping this will get to some overarching Firefox Experience Manager who can untangle the things that went wrong and prioritize remediations for future users in this flow.

Her story:

She was once-upon-a-time on Beta, though isn't now and I don't think has been for many months. Was on an old copy of 64 somehow, installed in her user dir, in ~/Applications. (macOS 10.13)

Firefox complained it was "critically out of date". It gave her a download link to a .dmg, at

She dragged the downloaded FF 67.0.1 to /Applications (note: new location, not in her user dir), as prompted.

Firefox (Desktop) launched with "This installation of Firefox has a new profile" page (probably due to bug 1474285, which is an awful idea), meaning all her old stuff was (as far as she was concerned) suddenly gone. She had 2 copies of FF open at this point: old 64 and 67.0.1. The page threatened, with a twist of its mustache, "Enable Firefox Sync, or you'll never see your precious saved passwords again!" Cowed, she attempted to comply, beginning by doing so on Desktop.

It next demanded she use a second device (presumably to recover profile info from—something that made sense only to me, however) and thus demanded her phone number. She entered it. Got link on phone. Clicked. Turned out she already had FF on her phone, though rarely or never used, and so didn't have to install anything.

Firefox came up showing a support article welcoming her to iOS Firefox v67. (See attachment.)

That's a weird page. (I showed up to help about here.) I was expecting some handholding to show up on mobile at this point and help us finish setting up Sync. Instead there's this broken-looking headline on an irrelevant support article. In retrospect, I guess that's a | and not a capital I, but it makes a broken-looking headline in that font. A small detail in the scheme of this mess.

Anyway, there was no evident way to "sign in", as in the Desktop page's "Install Firefox on your smartphone and sign in to complete set-up". A screenshot of Mobile with the hamburger circled would have been great.

I didn't know offhand how to sign in myself (who ever signs in more than once?), so I decided to recover her profile the old-fashioned way.

I took over and tried to use Profile Manager to switch to her old profile, but it refused, claiming that the profile was actually newer than the current 67.0.1 version of FF (plainly wrong, right? bug 1556612?) and citing corruption concerns.

At this point, I went back to Mobile and finally found Sync signin under the hamburger menu (after looking under the ellipsis (Page Action, in retrospect) menu) and got her straightened out. (Having a menu whose semantic is "More" and another whose semantic would thus appear to be "More More" is disorienting.)

Teetered on the brink of her switching to Chrome, since it's recommended as "best practice" by her university's new Google Shared Drive training, which is what she was attempting to watch when all this went down. Apparently a lot of universities are using similar training. Expect an outflux of FF users as IT nudges clueless education users Chromeward.


Anyway, I hope we can smooth out some of these tangles for future hapless users. Cheers!

Attached image Image-1.jpeg

View on iOS FF when showing up to set up Sync

:mhowell I filed it here on :jimm's recommendation, since the beginning of this set of problems was a failed automatic update. Perhaps there are logs that help identify what happened?

Matt, though Chuck might have his own purpose in mind, I see this as a sort of metabug, illustrating how the convergence of several reasonable behaviors plus recent changes in Firefox can result in disastrous UX and data loss. I see it spawning bugs about iconography, a rethinking of the hash-the-path-to-determine-the-profile strategy, and even the layout of SUMO pages.

Ooo, logs. That's a fine idea. Let's harvest them while they last! Where can I start?

For update bugs, Toolkit :: Application Update is the correct component. But app update doesn't produce anything like that "critically out of date" message (it sounds pretty intentional though if I had to guess), so there aren't any update bugs here, and it seems like this bug wants to talk about other things anyway; I'm moving this to General.

Component: Installer → General
Type: defect → task
Keywords: meta
Summary: Profile-per-install + safe mode → [meta] Problems updating to FF67. Apparent loss of profile data. Poor User Experience. (Profile-per-install + safe mode)
Version: unspecified → 67 Branch

Read over Erik's comment, and it is a good summary of how the 67 rollout has affected some users.

Just thought about another example of how 67 can fail with the same application binary on macOS - prompted by Erik's wife's experience.

  1. Download Firefox (macOS)
  2. Launch binary from mounted disk image (this is absolutely a normal use case for someone auditioning a new app)
  3. Use Firefox, set it up as you prefer
  4. Quit
  5. Move Firefox to /Applications
  6. Launch Firefox

At this point, Firefox will create a new profile for you, "losing" the profile you set up in step 3 above.

Unfortunately, bug 1474285 creates a far too brittle user experience, especially for Mac users - I would think improvements around this would result in a better user experience overall.

Note: I have zero problem with Firefox disallowing downgrades or channel switching - but it is not expected that users run into these issues from absolutely normal behavior, especially for users who aren't doing anything particularly off of the usual happy path.

See Also: → 1557401
See Also: → 1558320
Priority: -- → P3
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