Anybody else suffering from iCloud bookmark syncing issues? (vanishing bookmarks)

(Simon) #1

iCloud bookmark syncing sucks. Lately, every time I add a new bookmark, a few hours later some of my older bookmarks disappear. And instead one or several duplicates of some of my bookmarks appear at the root of my bookmark list. Of course none of the bookmarks that vanish are available for restore on so apart from those I can gather from memory or those I might find in my history it appears I’m out of luck. This in on the latest macOS and Safari. /smh

Is there any Safari pref file that has a local snapshot of my bookmarks? Is any of that human-readable? I’m thinking I could use my TM backup to find the lost bookmark info there in that way if such a file existed.

Anybody else see this annoying behavior? Argh. I can’t believe something as simple as bookmark syncing (over a massive DOE Gigabit Ethernet connection) isn’t working reliably. Of course the iCloud status website says everything is peachy. Whoever said Apple has no clue about internet services wasn’t kidding. :angry:

(Simon) #2

So I’ve discovered ~/Library/Safari/Bookmarks.plist but opening that in TextEdit just shows a lot of garbled text. Is there any way to turn that into something I can read so that I could use that top restore my lost bookmarks?

(Simon) #3

I realize that the standard approach to reading plist files is to get Plist Editor. I’d really prefer not to have to download and install all the XCode stuff. I’d just like to see the bookmarks listed in that file. There must be an easier way.

(Simon) #4

BBedit can display the plist file, but it’s a huge list and totally not human-readable. Any better ideas?

And of course most importantly, any ideas how to get iCloud bookmark syncing to just behave???

(Allen Gainsford) #5

BBEdit can open .plist files. Um, if you have BBEdit.

(Simon) #6

Definitely. I have it and it will display the contents of the plist file. But as I wrote above, that’s not really a whole lot of help because the file contains a lot of other stuff that gets in the way. I’m hoping there’s some other way of getting at the deleted bookmark hyperlinks because with BBEdit it’s not really practical at all.

(gastropod) #7

The plist is an xml file, so in principle you can find or write a parser. If you have Filemaker, it should be able to open it directly and do something something halfway sensible with it.

More easily, on a Mac you can export bookmarks as an html file (in the File menu) which may be enough for what you want.

I still use an old version (3.n) of URL Manager Pro to manage bookmarks, which still works as of Sierra. It can read and write bookmarks from a wide variety of browsers, amongst other things. A modernized version is available from the Mac App Store ($23), but I don’t know how it compares. A demo is available at the website:

(Simon) #8

That’s a great point, but only works if you know beforehand that you my lose something. In my case, the damage is already done.

(Ray Kloss) #9

Can you locate the file on the Mac and use Time Machine (if enabled) to bring it back?

(Simon) #10

Thanks, that’s a good idea for sure. The only problem is that I added several new bookmarks before I noticed that some older additions had vanished. I’m worried if I now simply roll back to a backup from before, I’ll get those back that vanished, but loose others. Part of the issue is I can’t recognize any pattern which vanish and which stay around or when that happens. I just note that every once in a while a whole bunch that I added a day or so before all of a sudden aren’t around anymore. To add insult to injury, the iCloud bookmark restore feature doesn’t show a single one of those that disappeared. :frowning:

(gastropod) #11

Try URL Manager Pro. It would take some fiddling, but one of the features is to delete duplicates, and now that I look, it can also import the plist files directly.

Import all of the plist files you think covers everything into a single URL Manager file. Edit -> Delete duplicates…, rearrange stuff (it will necessarily be a mess with many of the hierarchy folders duplicated), and squirt the results back into Safari. (URL Manager overwrites current browser bookmarks, it won’t merge.)

Or if there are only a few differences, merge them in by hand. BBEdit is your friend for finding the differences.

(Simon) #12

Any ideas on what’s causing this? Nobody else see any bookmark issues? I can’t imagine I’m the only one trying to sync a couple hundred bookmarks over 4 devices (3 Macs, 1 iPhone).

(Doug Miller) #13

3 Macs, an iPhone, an iPad. All are fine. I remember that I once had bookmark sync issues, but I haven’t had iCloud bookmark sync issues for a long time now. And I believe that my issues were back when I was using XMarks to sync with Chrome, which I stopped doing a while ago.

Have you considered a Genius Bar or AppleCare support call?

(Neil Laubenthal) #14

Typically this is some sort of synchronization problem…the solution is to essentially turn off iCloud sync of bookmarks on all devices, then remove all bookmarks from all but 1 device. Then I would reboot everything, turn on sync on the 1 device that has the proper bookmarks and allow sync…then reenable other devices one at a time.

The only time I ever had bookmark sync issues with Safari that solved it.