How to run two versions of Firefox on Mac OSX concurrently
Running two versions of a browser on one machine is something that should be easy… but not always. Recently I needed to assist with deploying a fix to a slightly larger userbase than normal and provide the ability for Mac OSX users to concurrently run two versions of Firefox.
Therefore after researching this in my own time this weekend I have thrown together these simple launchers to make the process far more easy for everyone. If you follow the steps below you should be up and running in no time. Before we begin though PLEASE back up your existing Firefox Profile.
Firstly download the two versions of Firefox you want, for the latest build see the Latest Downloads page, or for the previous build see the Older Downloads page. Following that get your hands on the launchers I have created: Firefox Workaround Zip File.
The Easy Way:
Assumptions: You already have one version of Firefox installed on your machine and that you would like to run Firefox 3 and Firefox 4.
- If you have the older version of Firefox installed on your machine open the applications folder, click the existing Firefox Application and rename it to “Firefox 3”. Then install the new version of Firefox in the applications folder.
- If you have the newer version installed and want to install the older version along side, rather than dragging and dropping the old version to your applications folder to install. Drag it to your desktop first, rename it to Firefox 3 and then move it to the applications folder after it is renamed.
- Open Terminal and run “/Applications/Firefox\ 3.app/ContentsOS/firefox-bin -profilemanager -no-remote” this will load the Firefox 3 Profile Manager.
- You will have one profile already showing. If you wish to keep this for the latest version rename it to “Firefox-4” then create a new profile along side this called “Firefox-3” the names and case are important as the scripts use these to auto run the different versions. It should now look like this:
- Extract the Firefox Workaround Zip File to a location of your choosing. The two launchers can then be dragged onto your dock to use them for Launching the two versions of Firefox concurrently.
The Hard Way: so the assumptions above don’t apply?
OK so I am a realist, the above will only work for the aforementioned versions of Firefox and we would like to give you the ability to make some changes, or you want to name the folders differently (or whatever issues you may have).
- After you have downloaded the Firefox Workaround Zip File extract it to the Desktop
- Run Applications –> Automator
- Choose to open an existing workflow
- Open the Firefox 3 file extracted from the above zip
- In the script there are two things you can edit the ‘-a “Firefox 3″‘ defines the application name so if you wish to change the application name you can do so there, the ‘-P “Firefox-3″‘ defines the profile to use.
- As an example if you wish to call the application Firefox Old with a profile name of Original Firefox you would write:
- Save the scripts and they can now be used.
Because I am nice – A generic version of the loaders:
I figured that it might be nice to have a version of the loaders that will load any version of Firefox, one old and one new. Therefore if you download the Firefox Workaround Generic you can use the following settings:
Application Name: Firefox
Profile Name: Firefox Default
Application Name: Firefox Old
Profile Name: Firefox Old
This should allow you to not have to continuously overwrite the loaders if you wish to have this available as a permanent solution. Then when a new major version is released, before you upgrade just replace the application names.
Let me know if you have any feedback or ways of improving this.