I've been using undocumented Database functions with Mathematica V9 to acces my SQLite database, which is a Firefox-generated database that contains cookies.

db = Database`OpenDatabase[
  "/Users/username/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/sjk6e588.default/cookies.sqlite"];
Database`QueryDatabase[db, "SELECT sqlite_version();"]


In order for this to work, I had to manually replace the outdated libsqlite3.dylib, which is located at


otherwise Mathematica could not read the database. Now in V10 the undocumented Database functions no longer work, but instead there are new functions available to work with databases. The new code looks like this:

db = OpenSQLConnection[JDBC["SQLite",
  "/Users/username/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/sjk6e588.default/cookies.sqlite"]];
SQLExecute[db, "SELECT sqlite_version();"]


As you can see the bundled SQLite library is still outdated and does not work with this database. I tried replacing the libsqlite3.dylib file, which is now located at


but Mathematica apparently ignores it and still uses the outdated library.

How can I update the SQLite library (or driver) so I can work with this database?

  • $\begingroup$ OpenSQLConnection and SQLExecute have been around, and documented extensively, for several versions. As for the driver issue it might be something you need to ask Wolfram tech support. $\endgroup$ Oct 1, 2014 at 22:28

1 Answer 1


Mathematica 10 ships with version 3.7.2 of the Xerial SQLite JDBC driver. Let me first verify your findings.

SQLiteVersion[] := Module[{v, c = OpenSQLConnection[JDBC["SQLite(Memory)", ""]]},
    v = First@First@SQLExecute[c, "SELECT sqlite_version();"];

There are a few SQLite databases in that profiles directory:

$dir = "/Users/dillont/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/2bd5ni53.default";
    dbs = FileNames[{"*.sqlite"}, $dir];
dbNames = FileBaseName /@ dbs

{"addons", "content-prefs", "cookies", "extensions", "formhistory", "healthreport", "permissions", "places", "signons", "webappsstore"}

Try opening connections to each of these:

connAssoc = AssociationThread[dbNames, OpenSQLConnection[JDBC["SQLite", #]] & /@ dbs];
readable = SQLConnectionUsableQ[#, {"SELECT name FROM sqlite_master WHERE type='table';",
    {{_String} ..}}] & /@ connAssoc


Four of them don't work (including the cookies database). Probably they were added to the application more recently. Note here I've used the two-argument form of SQLConnectionUsableQ to supply my own test. This is because the newer database will happily answer older drivers issuing the trivial query used by the default test (typically something like SELECT 1), but it won't actually let you look at any tables.

I'll close these connections and then try the newer driver.

CloseSQLConnection /@ Keys[connAssoc];

The procedure here will be like adding a driver for any unbundled database, like Oracle (documentation; see especially the section on JDBC Connections). The short version is, I'm going to download a jar and put it on the classpath.

A new release of the SQLite JDBC driver dropped a few hours before this writing. There are a bunch of places I could put it; a reasonable choice is $UserBaseDirectory/Applications/SQLite/Java/. I do that.

I can now restart my Mathematica session, or just restart Java:

<< JLink`;

If you wear a belt and suspenders, verify that the new driver is taking precedence over the old one on the classpath:

Flatten@StringCases[JavaClassPath[], ___ ~~ "sqlite" ~~ ___]

{"/Users/dillont/Library/Mathematica/Applications/SQLite/Java/sqlite-jdbc-3.8.6.jar", "/Applications/Mathematica.app/SystemFiles/Links/DatabaseLink/Java/sqlite-jdbc-3.7.2.jar"}

And the version should have incremented:



The installation looks good. Try opening and testing the connections again:

connAssoc = AssociationThread[dbNames, OpenSQLConnection[JDBC["SQLite", #]] & /@ dbs];
readable = SQLConnectionUsableQ[#, {"SELECT name FROM sqlite_master WHERE type='table';",
    {{_String} ..}}] & /@ connAssoc

<|addons->True,content-prefs->True,cookies->True,extensions->True, formhistory->True,healthreport->True,permissions->True,places->True, signons->True,webappsstore->True|>

Better. Try getting some data out of the cookies database:


{SQLTable[moz_cookies, TableType->TABLE]}

SQLColumns[connAssoc["cookies"], "moz_cookies"][[All, 1]][[All, -1]]

{id,baseDomain,appId,inBrowserElement,name,value,host,path,expiry,lastAccessed, creationTime,isSecure,isHttpOnly}

SQLSelect[connAssoc["cookies"], "moz_cookies", {"id", "baseDomain", "name", "value", "expiry"}, "MaxRows"->5, "ShowColumnHeadings"->True]


CloseSQLConnection /@ Keys[connAssoc];
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, everything works except the penultimate SQLSelect command, which gives me an error "JDBC::error: [SQLITE_ERROR] SQL error or missing database (no such table: id) >>". Nevertheless, I can read the cookie database with these instructions, so I will accept your answer. $\endgroup$
    – shrx
    Oct 8, 2014 at 17:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ My typo; edited. $\endgroup$
    – Ibn Opcit
    Oct 8, 2014 at 19:24

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