What are Firefox container tabs?

Updated: 04/01/2018 by Computer Hope

Illustration: Firefox Multi-Account Container tabs.Container tabs are an optional feature of the Firefox web browser, available as an add-on. They allow you to keep your login information completely separate between your Firefox browser tabs. They do not share session information with each other. These color-coded tabs help you control your identity online.

How are container tabs useful?

Normally, there is no way to keep session information separate between tabs. So, if you're logged in to a website in one tab, you're logged in to that site in all tabs.

However, you might want to keep your sessions separate in different tabs. Google Drive is a great example: Let's say you have two Google Drive accounts, one for work, and one for personal documents. You can't use both accounts at the same time because the first login will carry over to any new tabs. With container tabs, you can use both accounts at the same time, side by side.

Screenshot: Two Google Drive accounts running simultaneously, each in different containers.

Containers are also useful if you're conducting financial transactions online. When you log in to your bank's website or go shopping online, you might not want other tabs to have access to that sensitive session information.

Container tabs help you keep your session information separate as you see fit. You can have multiple containers open at once, and each container can have multiple tabs. The container shares session information with its own tabs, but not with those of other containers.

How to install container tabs

Container tabs are part of the Multi-Account Containers add-on for Firefox Quantum. All Firefox browsers version 57 or above support the add-on. (If you don't have Firefox installed, you can get it at https://www.mozilla.org/firefox. For more information about installing Firefox, see our guide.)

To install Multi-Account Containers, open a Firefox window and go to the add-on download page. Click the +Add to Firefox button.

Screenshot: Click 'Add to Firefox' on the add-on page at the Firefox website.

Grant permission by clicking Add, then OK.

When the add-on is installed, a new icon Firefox Multi-Account Containers appears on your Firefox toolbar.

Screenshot: The Multi-Account Containers icon appears in your Firefox toolbar.

How to use container tabs

To begin using Multi-Account Containers, click the Firefox Multi-Account Containers icon, then click Get Started.

Screenshot: Click the Multi-Account Containers icon, then click Get Started.

You are presented with a series of introductory tips. Click Next, Next, Next, then Done.

Click the Firefox containers icon to view your containers. You start with four by default: Personal, Work, Banking, and Shopping. In this window, you can open a new container tab by clicking the container name. For instance, to open a new Personal container tab, click Personal.

Screenshot: The four default containers. Click Personal to open a new Personal container tab.

The container tab is color-coded: it has a blue line underneath it to remind you of its container type. Also, when you're viewing a container tab, its label is displayed on the right side of your address bar.

Screenshot: a new Personal container tab is created. The tab is color-coded with a blue line.

Another way to open a container tab is to long press (click and hold) on the new tab icon icon to create a new container. For instance, you can long press the new tab icon and select Work to create a new Work container tab.

Screenshot: Long press the new tab icon and select Work to open a new Work container tab.

The Work container tab is color-coded yellow. Any logins you use in this tab will be separate from the others.

Screenshot: Regular, Personal, and Work tabs open.

You can open as many container tabs as you want, and rearrange them in any way. All tabs of the same container type share session/login information, even in another browser window.

Animation: Multiple tabs of the same container type share session information, even in different browser windows.

Tip: Non-container (regular) tabs behave the way you would expect, and do not share their session information with container tabs. Private Browsing windows also work normally, and their data is not shared with containers. You cannot use container tabs in a Private Browsing window.

Customizing containers

You can change the name, color, and icon of your default containers. You can also delete containers and create new ones.

Editing existing containers

To edit an existing container, click the Firefox multi-account containers icon, then click Edit Containers.

Screenshot: To edit an existing container, click the Multi-Account Container icon, and select Edit Containers.

Then, click the pencil ( 🖉 ) icon next to the container you'd like to edit.

Screenshot: Click the pencil icon next to the container name.

Choose a container name, color, and icon. Then press the button on the left side of the window.

Screenshot: Choose a name, color, and icon for your container, then press the back button on the left side of the window.

Click < Exit Edit Mode to save your changes.

Screenshot: Click Exit Edit Mode to save your changes.

Creating a new container

To create a new container, click the Firefox new container icon, then click the button at the bottom-right of the container list, next to the Edit Containers button.

Screenshot: Click the + button to create a new container.

Then choose a name, color, and icon for your container, and click OK.

Screenshot: Choose a name, color, and icon for your new container, then click OK.

Deleting a container

To delete a container, click the Firefox new container icon icon, then click Edit Containers. Click the trash can icon next to the container you'd like to delete.

Screenshot: To delete a container, click the Multi-Accounts Container icon, then Edit Containers. Click the trash can icon next to the container name.

At the confirmation prompt, click OK.

Screenshot: Confirm deletion of the container by clicking OK.

Can I convert a regular tab to a container tab?

You cannot convert a regular tab to a container tab.

If you have a website open in a regular tab, and you want to open it in a container tab, follow these steps:

  1. Copy the URL from your address bar by right-clicking it, and selecting Copy from the menu. Or, highlight the entire URL and press Ctrl + C ( + C on macOS X).
  2. Open a new container tab.
  3. Place your cursor in the address bar, and press Ctrl + V ( + V on macOS X) to paste the URL.
  4. Press Enter to open the container tab to that address.