Does iCloud Tab Syncing work for anybody on Catalina & iOS 14.2.1?

I’m trying to figure out if this is an iOS bug or related to Safari on Catalina. Has anybody here who’s still on Catalina seen their Safari tabs update properly and consistently across iCloud to an iPhone running the latest and greatest 14.2.1?

I have a recollection of something similar happening back when iOS 13 was new too. It’s almost as if iCloud tab syncing breaks when there’s new major versions of iOS and Safari/macOS, and you’re not using the latest on all your devices.

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I’m on Mojave still, and when I updated my phone a couple of days ago the computer tabs disappeared from my phone. However, now they are back.

(I’m using an XS)

I don’t have a 12, so I don’t have 14.2.1, but tabs are syncing fine between Catalina and 14.2.

I noticed my iCloud tabs disappeared on my Catalina laptop, after I remotely deleted a tab from my phone. I then went to my phone, and they were gone there as well. They were still present on my iPad though. It’s now a day or so later, and they’ve returned on all devices. Go figure…

Like so many things in Apple’s ecosystem these days, it appears to me that things that used to be rock solid just kind of come and go these days. The search function in Mail is a glaring example. I’m too tired to come up with another example…

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Sorry for the trifecta here, but it occurred to me to check something out about the iCloud tab function, and I discovered that if I delete an iOS tab from the iCloud tab list on my laptop, all the tabs disappear immediately. This time they still appear on both my phone and iPad, but they’re gone from the laptop.

I’ve used that functionality to transfer tabs to my laptop and clear them from my iOS devices for years, so this is definitely a new bug…

Things are still broken here, but just to clarify, it’s not that there are no iCloud tabs at all. It’s that they don’t sync properly. This morning my iPhone showed one open tab on my Mac’s Safari, but that was a page I was looking at 14 hours earlier and had closed right after. Go figure. My Mac OTOH is now displaying both open tabs on my iPhone as of this morning. Yesterday when I went to bed it was displaying nothing despite 5 tabs open on the iPhone. :confused:

Once again, I’m bothered by the fact that these “cloud services” essentially offer nothing to troubleshoot yourself. There’s no “what’s it doing now” information, no option to reset or restart the service (well you can nuke iCloud, but that’s not going to fix it). It’s basically just: great if it works, but if it doesn’t you’re up a certain creek.

Apple’s iCloud Status page of course never mentioned any issues with this service.


I don’t think it’s Big Sur or Catalia per se, as I’m not running either, yet I’m experiencing broken iCloud Tab syncing too. My feeling is that it’s the recent Safari updates. It’s frustrating as I’ve come to use that feature quite a bit.


Same here, @bb1. That’s maybe the iCloud feature I use most of all.

I think you might be on to something. Last time I encountered this issue there had also been a recent Safari update.

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Seeing your clarification of the issue, I will say that I’ve always experienced inconsistent syncing of open tabs, at best, ever since I discovered the utility of the feature. I would guess that it’s usually about 80% accurate, and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to why certain tabs sync or don’t sync. I also seem to often see my iOS tabs listed as “Favorites”, as if they’re empty new tabs, but they’re not.


That’s interesting. In my case it’s usually more of an all or nothing. When it worked, it worked fine in both directions and for all tabs. But ever since it’s been broken, it’s been thoroughly broken. :frowning:

It’s odd too because bookmark syncing seems to be entirely unaffected and so far has been working as always.

Yes, no, what day is it? It seems hit and miss for me. :slight_smile:

Still not updating here. :frowning:

So I just installed the latest Safari update for Catalina hoping this might finally fix the iCloud Tabs issue. But to my surprise, the iCloud Tabs button is now simply grayed out. WTH? :astonished:

Anybody see any recent change in behavior? I just recently updated my main system to Big Sur so that now both my iPhone (latest gen) and my main Mac (latest gen) are on the very latest and greatest OS with all available updates installed. But still no iCloud tab syncing whatsoever. Not a single tabs shows on either end. :sob:

If not server side, then it really smells like a Safari issue. :frowning:

Hey Apple, any plans to release a big fix for Safari in the near future? :pleading_face:

FWIW, after a few weeks checking periodically and finding that safari tab syncing wasn’t really working, I’ve noticed in the last few days that it is syncing just fine between all of my devices (two Macs, an iPhone, and an iPad.) Mojave and Catalina for the Macs, all iOS devices on 14.3. There is a bit of a lag for things like new tabs opened or tabs closed - I’m not sure how often it updates - but it is reasonably up-to-date (i.e., within the last hour) on all systems.

Thanks for the update, @ddmiller. I guess within the hour is better than nothing… But heck, I recall almost instantaneous syncing for iCloud bookmarks tabs only a few months back. Pre-pandemic I used this feature all the time and I’m sure it was much better synced than ~ hourly. I would be interested to know if it’s entirely client-side and related to Safari, or if it’s perhaps more of a server-side issue.

For me, Safari history is always immediately up to date. And of course handoff works great - literally immediately - from the multi-tasking screen on iOS (from Mac or other iOS device activity) or the dock on MacOS (from other devices.)

I’m afraid even my history has stopped updating at what used to be basically instantaneous (as you report, @ddmiller). My Mac history updates at once for Mac activity, and my iPhone also immediately updates its history to reflect iPhone activity, but it’s the syncing of the two histories via iCloud that now seems to lag on the ~ hour scale. That used to be instantaneous for me.

My history is also incredibly slow or incomplete or unreliable. I don’t use the tab sharing enough to notice that.