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Or, The Hot Mess that Was My Safari Bookmarks

Safari iconFor the most part, my use of iCloud works as expected. iCloud is pretty handy to have.
But, there are parts of iCloud that really don’t work for me at all. Maybe you’ve read about my struggles with Contacts and iCloud, and the lengths it took to get it all working correctly. That’s still working fine.

But, for the longest time, since iCloud, my Safari Bookmarks were more than impossible to control on anything but my computer. Syncing with iCloud gave me hundreds of duplicate bookmarks or folders on my iPhone or iPad.

No matter how many times I turned off syncing to iCloud and all iDevices, deleted Bookmarks from all iDevices, deleted Safari bookmarks on the computer and created a new Bookmarks pref file to try to reset the Bookmarks being synced to the Cloud, my iDevices would not do the same. As soon as I’d turn on Bookmark syncing, the hundreds of duplicates returned.

I always ended up with something like this for folders and just imagine the same for single URLs.

Bookmarks 1

Or, many, many duplicate Bookmarks in the left column, under the Bookmarks title.

Bookmarks 2

Deleting these duplicates would create lots of empty folders on my iDevices with one large tab at the end of the Bookmarks Bar with ALL of my URLs in that single tab. Not pretty.

So, out of sheer frustration, I just completely turned off Bookmarks syncing EVERYWHERE. Tackling this problem wasn’t anywhere near as important as the Contacts issue I had with iCloud, that I solved.

Recently, as I was backing up my iPad to my computer, I reviewed a section of iTunes that I’ve been trained to ignore by Apple, the “Info” Sync options, because everything is being sync’d up to iCloud.

When iCloud syncing is active in the System prefs, iTunes gives you a notice in some areas that “Your Contacts/Calendar, etc., is being synced with your iPhone/iPad/IPod Touch over the air from iCloud” and may remove the checkbox to sync in iTunes.

Since I’d turned off Safari Bookmarking everywhere, the option to “Sync Safari Bookmarks” for my iPhone (and iPad) was available. So, I did. I had nothing to lose. And as quickly as that, the Safari Bookmarks on my iPad matched the Safari Bookmarks on my computer. So, painless and trouble-free. I then did the same with my iPhone. Again, worked perfectely.

iPhone Bookmarks 1

So, is iCloud syncing of Safari Bookmarks still turned off on my iDevices?

Well…..I gave it one last try.

During the process of trying to troubleshoot and fix the multiple duplicate bookmarks issue my iPhone would crash when I turned its Safari setting back on. And with the iPad, the experience was a never ending churning cycle. So, with one last try, I turned on iCloud syncing on the iPhone. It asked to merge with iCloud, which should be empty because I turned off syncing to the computer. So all my correct bookmarks from my now iPhone bookmarks (and computer) should be merging in iCloud? Yes?

iPhone Bookmarks 2

After an initial crash, the computer Bookmarks remained on the iPhone, though there were 5 bookmarks not created by me. Then, the iPhone started a continuous cycle of crashing, no matter what app I was using. Turning off the Safari Bookmarks sync settings ended the crashing cycles.

So, for me, for the moment, yes, no Safari syncing of bookmarks using iCloud on my iDevices. Only through iTunes. While nice to have, it’s not crucial at the moment. I’ll figure out the problem later, right now this is the solution that works for me.





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