Managing Multiple Firefox Profiles in OS X

Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

One of the great features of Firefox is the ability to manage multiple profiles. This is a very handy feature with many different uses. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to do on a mac. I will show you how to setup multiple profiles on a mac that appear and run like normal mac applications so you can click on them and run them from quicksilver.

UPDATED 10/16/09 : Now working with Snow Leopard!

Firefox is a great browser in any operating system. One of the great features of Firefox is the many extensions that can alter or add functionality to the browser. If you are like me, you use quite a few extensions. While these extensions make life easier, they also slow down firefox. I use two different profiles, one with all my extensions loaded, which I use for work. And one without any extensions which I use for light browsing, watching videos and checking mail.

Setting up your profiles

So we will use the Terminal, but just once here. Fire up the Terminal, it is found in Applications << Utilities < < Terminal. And run the following:

/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox-bin --profilemanager

A window will appear. Create your profiles. I created two called “Heavy” and “Lite”. Whatever you call your pofiles, write it down and remember the names are case sensitive.

Creating the scripts

You will want to repeat the following for each of your profiles

  1. Open the script editor
  2. Add the following line replacing profileName with your profile name.

    do shell script “/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox-bin -P profileName”

  3. Save the script as an Application Bundle. I called mine FFHeavy which seems to work well

  4. Control-click the icon < Show Package Contents. A “Contents” window will appear.

  5. Edit the file Contents < Info.plist with your favorite editor

  6. Look for the entry < key>LSRequiresCarbon</key> <true/>

  7. Add these two lines after that entry.

    LSUIElement 1

  8. Save the Script

Changing the Icon

By default your newly created script will have a “script” icon, not all all representative of what it does. Let’s change that to a more relevant icon.

You can use any image you want. I found a good one on gnome-look. Unfortunately OS X requires icons to be in the icns format. There is a handy Opensource application that can turn images into icns files. img2icns from shinyfrog. Png files work well as they are already 24 bit and transparent.

Run img2icns and drag your png file(s) onto the dock icon for img2icns. It will place the newly created icns file on the Desktop by default. “Get Info” on the script you created and drag the icon onto the icon towards the top of the get info window.

You now have a working icon and alias/script/shortcut to your profile