Greg·Wolanski —designer

How to make Firefox as nice as Google Chrome on macOS

AKA We are one Firefox away from a monopoly: A year later

It’s official: The new Microsoft Edge is based on Chromium. Today is the day to switch to Firefox.


How Firefox looks fresh after installation:

Firefox after installation

After applying the instructions below:

Firefox after 7 minutes of configuration

How to achieve that

Import your data from Google Chrome

Close Google Chrome. Open Firefox. Select “File” from the menu bar. Choose “Import Data from Another Browser….” If you see more than one browser in the list, choose Chrome. Click “Continue” twice. Enter your password. Click “Done,” and voilà, your data from Google Chrome is in Firefox. You’ll find your bookmarks in Bookmarks → Bookmark Toolbar → From Google Chrome.

Set your preferences

General

  • Language

    If you’re like me, you'll want to turn off “Check your spelling as you type.”

  • Downloads

    I don’t know about you, but I like to save files directly to “Desktop” instead of in “Downloads.” No matter what your download preferences are, this is where you can express them.

Home

  • New Windows and Tabs

    Change “Firefox Home (Default)” to “Blank Page.” Less is more in this context.

Search

  • Default Search engine

    Change “Google” to “DuckDuckGo” – the search engine that doesn’t track you.

    Relax, it’s not as huge a change as you may think. Google will still be at your fingertips: Start your search query with “!g” (like “!g greg wolanski”), and Firefox will show you search results from Google.

  • Search Suggestions

    Turn off “Provide search suggestions” if you’re not 100% sure that they’re essential to you.

  • One-Click Search Engines

    Remove every search engine except DuckDuckGo.

Privacy & Security

  • Do Not Track

    Change “Only when Firefox is set to block known trackers” to “Always.”

  • Login and Passwords

    Consider turning off “Ask to save logins and passwords for websites” and using 1Password instead.

  • Firefox Data Collection and Use

    Turn off “Allow Firefox to send technical and interaction data to Mozilla.”

Sync

  • Sign in

    Sign in to Firefox Sync even if you use only one computer. You’ll thank yourself when you're forced to change computers. Let’s face it: Configuring web browsers isn’t fun. Firefox Sync can help you avoid doing it again.

Customize the toolbar

Right-click the toolbar and choose “Customize….”

  • Toolbar items

    Remove “Home,” “Library,” “Sidebar,” “Firefox Account,” and “Flexible Space” from the toolbar. You can do so by dragging the icons into the grid of items below.

  • Themes

    It’s up to you, but I prefer my computer in dark mode. If you do as well, set the theme (at the bottom) to “Dark.”

  • Density

    Set the density to “Compact.”

  • Touch Bar

    If you use an Apple computer with a touch bar, remove all items from the touch bar to prevent yourself from accidentally going back in your browser history.

Install extensions


Now, you’re ready to set Firefox as your default browser. Go to “Preferences” and click “Make Default….” Enjoy! :)

Firefox after 7 minutes of configuration
January 2020