Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Sync passwords and bookmarks across devices

The ability to sync passwords and bookmarks between devices is a core feature of most browsers, but not something DuckDuckGo supported until today.

Safari lets you do this using your Apple ID, and Chrome via your Google account – but that’s not an approach DuckDuckGo wanted to take. The privacy-first company said that it was focused on creating an entirely private way to do this, with no account needed …

DuckDuckGo chose Chrome as its comparison.

When you use Chrome, there’s a good chance you’re signed in with your Google account – because they’re constantly pressuring you to do so! There is a convenience in that; all your bookmarks, passwords, and favorites follow you wherever you browse, whether you’re using your computer, phone, or tablet. But there’s a problem. This also gives Google implicit permission to collect even more data about your browsing activity than they would otherwise have and use it for targeted advertising that can follow you around.

At DuckDuckGo, we don’t track you; that’s our privacy policy in a nutshell. We’ve developed our privacy-respecting import and sync functions without requiring a DuckDuckGo account – and without compromising your personal data.

What the company does instead is store all your data locally, on your own device. But it has now added a way to privately sync that data between devices, using QR codes and text codes.

Our built-in password manager stores and encrypts your passwords locally on your device. Our private sync is end-to-end encrypted. (When you use private sync, your data stays securely encrypted throughout the syncing process, because the unique key needed to decrypt it is stored only on your devices.) Your passwords are completely inaccessible to anyone but you. That includes us: DuckDuckGo cannot access your data at any time.

The company’s comparison is a little unfair, as both Safari and Chrome use end-to-end encryption to ensure that neither Apple nor Google can access your passwords. The main benefit here is the ability to opt out of Google’s more general data collection.

DuckDuckGo: Sync passwords and bookmarks

Make sure you’re using the latest version of the DuckDuckGo browser on all devices, then go to Settings > Sync & Backup > Sync With Another Device > Begin Syncing.

The Mac app will generate a QR code you can scan with your iPhone or iPad. The mobile app will instead generate an alphanumeric code you can paste into your Mac.

If you’re only using DuckDuckGo on one device, you can use a similar process to create a backup of your passwords and bookmarks.

You can find detailed instructions here.

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