The key thing that sets DuckDuckGo’s search engine and web browser apart from most others is that DuckDuckGo is focused on user privacy: the company promises not to track your behavior. But that makes it tricky to offer some of the features user expect: like the ability to keep your passwords and bookmarks synchronized across multiple devices – like PCs, smartphones, and tablets.

Now DuckDuckGo has figured out a way to do it. The company says its new Sync & Backup feature lets you synchronize data between devices without creating a user account. Data is protected with end-to-end encryption, and DuckDuckGo does not have the encryption key: that only exists on your devices.

In other words, the DuckDuckGo browser works a little more like other browsers, allowing you switch between devices without having to enter your bookmarks and passwords all over again.

The down side is that since nothing is tied to a user account, it’s a little trickier to use than other browser synchronization tools.

Users will need to:

  1. Open the DuckDuckGo browser for Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS.
  2. Navigate to the Settings screen.
  3. Choose the Sync & Backup option.
  4. Click the Sync With Another Device button.
  5. This will generate a QR code, which you can scan with a smartphone or mobile device.
  6. You can also click the Enter Code tab to view an alphanumeric code that you can type into a PC or other devices that may not have a camera.

You can repeat the process for every device you want to keep synchronized.

Or if you’re only using DuckDuckGo on a single device and want to make sure your bookmarks and passwords are backed up, you can choose the Sync and Back Up This Device option to created an encrypted backup file that’s stored on DuckDuckGo’s server – the company won’t have the encryption key, so the data can only be decrypted with the key stored on your local device. But this allows you to recover your data from a previous backup. And if you decide to synchronize your data to other devices in the future, you can use this backup as a starting point.

Now here’s the biggest down side: When you’re done backing up and/or synchronizing your data, the DuckDuckGo Browser will bring up a Save your Recovery Code screen, allowing you to either copy and paste a string of letters and numbers into a new text file or save it as a PDF. Make sure to save this somewhere secure because if your devices are lost, stolen, or damaged, you won’t be able to access your bookmarks and passwords without this code.

That’s the trade-off users have to consider: most web browsers allow you to save your data by creating an account. And if your devices are lost, there are usually ways to recover access to that account via email, text, or by answering questions. Since DuckDuckGo’s focus on privacy means the company does not know who you are, the only way to recover access to your synchronized data is with your recovery key. So make sure not to lose it.

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  1. 2019: https://twitter.com/DuckDuckGo/status/1114524914227253249

    “[W]hen you search, you expect unbiased results, but that’s not what you get on Google,” @matthewde_silva quotes @yegg.

    You can revoke Google’s access to search & location histories, but the only true way to protect yourself is to leave Google.”

    2022: https://twitter.com/yegg/status/1501716484761997318

    When you search, you expect unbiased results, but that’s no longer what you get on DuckDuckGo. You can revoke DuckDuckGo’s access to search & location histories, but the only true way to protect yourself is to leave DuckDuckGo.

    lol, Gabriel Weinberg deleted the 2022 message: https://archive.fo/https://twitter.com/yegg/status/1501716484761997318
    / https://archive.fo/CnhpY

  2. Why not let us export/import bookmarks into html or plaintext file like a real browser should be able to do?

    1. It does; this is just a new feature for people to be able to use. Do bots post these questions or is it actual people who don’t know how to research anything?

      1. So sue me. I used DDD mobile when it first came out and did not have that feature yet. I reinstalled DDD and you are right that the mobile app allows import/export now.

      2. Go away Mr. Everything Is E-waste And I Hate Everything And I Title My Usernames Like This says:

        It’s the same idiot posting these factually incorrect and otherwise just offensive complaints on this website.

        1. Lighten up bro. Your feels are simply out of control and overly sensitive. No one is attacking you on a personal level.