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how do I delete my iCloud bookmarks and upload a new bookmark file

73411 Views 75 Replies Latest reply: Apr 8, 2014 4:06 PM by Jerome Krinock RSS
  • goombot Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Nothing works for me.  Tried EVERY suggestion in every post.  I turned off all synching on all devices.  I have a macbook pro, ipad mini and iphone5 (all with latest software).  No matter what I delete whenever I resynch all 25,000 bookmarks (about 23,000 duplicates) ALWAYS come back.  Is there anyway to access the iCloud and delete that file?  I feel like that is the only way. 

  • Jerome Krinock Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Hello goombot.  There is no way to access Safari bookmarks in iCloud other than via Safari.  You tried everything but may not have done so in the correct order.  Try it this way…

     

    • First of all, if you have not already done so, on your MacBook Pro, in Safari, click in the menu: File ▸ Export bookmarks, or else use some other app to extract Safari bookmarks.
    • On your iPad, in the Settings app ▸ iCloud, switch off Safari.
    • On your iPad, in Safari, delete all bookmarks.
    • On your iPhone, in the Settings app ▸ iCloud, switch off Safari.
    • On your iPhone, in Safari, delete all bookmarks.
    • On your MacBook Pro , do not switch off Safari syncing in System Preferences ▸ iCloud.  Leave it on.
    • On your MacBook Pro, in Safari, delete all bookmarks.
    • Wait a few hours while you use Safari on all three devices.
    • Verify that no bookmarks ever reappear.
    • Delete duplicates from the exported Safari bookmarks.  There are utility apps which can help with this.k
    • Restore the exported bookmarks to Safari.
    • Wait a few hours while you use Safari on all three devices.
    • Verify that no duplicate bookmarks ever reappear.
    • On the other two devices, one at a time, switch Safari syncing back on and verify that only the expected bookmarks appear.
  • Peter Berglund Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)

    Goombot, if you tried everything suggested and it still isn't working my guess is that you forgot one devise.

     

    Jerome"s posted instructions that will work.

    There are slight variations depending on what software tool you use to remove your duplicates.

    The step-by-step instruction posted here (http://macandiostips.com) will work well with Safari Prairiefire, for example.  The main difference is how you remove the duplicates on your main computer and makes those bookmarks data "stick" across iCloud.

    MacBook Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), 750 GB Hard Drive
  • a-monk-at-large Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    RESOLVED!  I've been struggling with this since I bought a iPad Mini.  I restored a backup from another iPad 1 perfectly, including bookmarks.  Since the iPad 1 won't support iOS 6, it was when I started using iOS 6 with the Mini bookmarks weren't syncing correctly (in my case incompletely). 

     

    The official generic Apple knowledge base articles were of no avail, and ended up generating duplicates as discussed througout this thread. 

     

    A few suggestions from a few on this thread I found enlightening and useful.  Specifically, turning off Safari syncing and deleting local content when prompted in iPad>System Preferences>iCloud.  Then Exporting Safari bookmarks (Safari File>Export Bookmarks).  Then deleting all existing bookmarks.

     

    There does seem to be a gap as Safari will sync what still remains residually on iCloud.  Then delete that content. I left Safari open, and waited to see if the same bookmarks on iCloud would sync again.  But they didn't.  It was all clear. 

     

    I had problems all along on my Mac and iPad by just deselecting Safari syncing on both sides.  I had to turn off (sign out of) iCloud altogether on both devices.   It's only after having down this that I had sucess - no missing bookmarks on my iPad Mini, and no duplicates on my MacBook Pro.

     

    Thanks to several on here who provided useful direction to resolving this I've been working on the last couple of weeks.

  • goombot Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Jerome,

     

    Sorry it's taken so long to get back but I've had time to get back into it and I am going to try your suggestions now. 

  • goombot Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ok... I've tried every suggestion in this entire post and still nothing is working.  This is what is happening.  I have a Macbook Pro 2011, an iphone 5 and an ipad mini.  Everything has the most updated software.  I have an issue where i have a set of about 25 bookmarks that have repeated about 1000x.  25000 extra bookmarks.  No matter what I've tried they constantly re-appear.  This is what I've done.  I've turned off Safari synching on icloud on both my iphone and ipad mini and have even signed out of icloud for at least 6 hours on both.  I wiped all safari data on both as well.  On my macbook I got rid of all duplicate bookmarks with Safari PrarieFire and have even just wiped it totally clean.  I left Safari icloud synching on.  I left my macbook alone for an entire day and the old bookmarks did not come back.  I'm assuming icloud has synched to my macbook bookmarks in that time.  I turned back on my iphone and ipad icloud synch with Safari and all those old bookmarks still come back.  They don't come back on my macbook.  I've tried EVERYTHING.  I've completely wiped my iphone and ipad and still they come back.  I'm really at a loss at this point.  They seem to be stuck in the cloud and no matter what I do, even if I synch an empty bookmark file they come back.  The only thing I can think of is that I have an old macbook with the same account that serves as my house server but that computer is pre-Lion and pre-icloud and has no Safari data so that can't be interferring with all this.  I really just wish we could access our icloud and organize it ourselves.  Any information would be very appreicated.  I thought about going to a genius bar but I really don't think they would be able to figure it out.

  • Jerome Krinock Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Hello again, goombot.  In this step,

    On my macbook I got rid of all duplicate bookmarks with Safari PrarieFire and have even just wiped it totally clean.

    I wonder if you wiped them using Safari Prariefire, or Show All Bookmarks in Safari.  I recommend the latter.  If you used Safari Prariefire to do this, try it again, using Show All Bookmarks in Safari this time.  As before, keep iCloud > Safari switched on in your Mac.  When deleting all bookmarks using Safari, be careful to check through not only the Bookmarks Bar and Bookmarks Menu, but also any items listed under BOOKMARKS in the left sidebar of Show All Bookmarks, and also click the eyeglasses icon and clean out the Readng List.

  • goombot Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your quick reply Jerome but I've done all that before.  That's why this is so frustrating.  I've synched up my icloud with my mac for at least a full day with no bookmarks at all while using Safari.  Both iOS devices have been off and when I turn them back on they still grab this old set of 25k bookmarks.  I can't understand why. I'm assuming that my macbook is the so-called "master" that my icloud will synch to so why if it is blank and has synched with icloud while blank, and even when i wipe my entire ipad and bring it back do the bookmarks reappear on my ipad?.. I can't figure it out.

  • Jerome Krinock Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    So you've tried deleted the bookmarks in Safari instead of Safari Prariefire.  OK.

    I'm assuming that my macbook is the so-called "master"

     

    Actually, it is not.  As far as iCloud is concerned, all three devices are equal "peers".  The only reason people recommend deleting bookmars on the Mac is because it's faster and easier.  You've got more tools available, both software and hardware, such as a bigger display and a real keyboard.

     

    I can't figure it out.

    Maybe it's time for stupid questions then.  Are you sure that these two iOS devices are on the same iCloud account as your MacBook Pro?

  • goombot Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Certainly not a stupid question, but yes, they are all the same iCloud account ID.  I do also have my girl's itunes store account logged in with my iCloud ID # but Safari and everything under iCloud on her phone is through her ID so that shouldn't effect anything of mine (and I even, just because I was checking everything, checked her bookmarks, and her's were totally different and fine)... so... ??

  • Jerome Krinock Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Well, all I can think of is to challenge the Apple Genius with this.  I agree that although your average Genius probably won't know, try and get them to kick it up the chain until they find someone that does.

     

    Although all those duplicate bookmarks in iCloud is the high-level problem, the more interesting but lower-level question is: Why do my iOS devices get one set of bookmarks from my iCloud account, while my MacBook Pro gets a different set from the same iCloud account?  If possible, I'd try to get the Genius focused on that lower-level question.  The higher-level problem solution will follow from that.

     

    I too would like to be able to peek into my iCloud folder, and have a hobby project going on to try and do so.  I don't know if it's even possible.  So far I have not been successful.

  • iGReG_78 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hello everyone,

     

    I also have the iCloud bookmarks sync problem on 3 devices : iMac (27” late 2009 10.8.4) + iPhone 4 (6.1.3) + iPad 1 (5.1.1). My Safari bookmarks.plist file on the Mac, full of duplicated bookmarks, was up to 18 MB!!! So I was experiencing many freezes / unexpected quits while browsing, making Safari unusable. It was even worst on the iPhone/iPad where Safari was quiting on launch.

     

    I finally unchecked the Safari bookmarks sync on iPhone/iPad and cleaned up the 25.000+ “NO_TITLE” or duplicated bookmarks on my Mac directly in Safari (not by editing the bookmarks.plist file manually witch didn't work for me). Bookmarks are now clean on the Mac and in iCloud.

     

    The problem remains with the iPhone/iPad : if I reactivate the Safari bookmarks sync on iPhone/iPad, the old 18 MB bookmarks are coming back to iCloud from the iPhone/iPad. In fact, the old bookmarks are still on the iPhone/iPad, even if I've deleted them before (when I unchecked the bookmarks sync over iCloud)!

     

    In Safari iPhone/iPad, there is no bookmark when I click on the bookmark icon (witch is good because I've deleted them). But when I try to create a new bookmark for a webpage, I can see the old bookmark folders are still there when I navigate to select the location where to save the bookmark. So if I reactivate the bookmark sync for the iPhone/iPad, the 18 MB bad bookmarks are coming back to iCloud (merge)!

     

    Can anyone confirm that the bookmarks are not really erased when unchecking the iCloud bookmark sync, and if they are still visible when saving a new bookmark on iPhone/iPad?

     

    Except erasing completely the iPhone/iPad system without restoring from a backup (empty iPhone/iPad = bummer), I think the solution to get rid of those "ghost" bookmarks would be to delete the Bookmarks.plist files directly on the iPhone/iPad, or at least in the iPhone/iPad backup files located on the Mac (and then restore the iPhone/iPad from this “cleaned up” backup). But the file structure of the backups is not so “human-friendly” and I don't now how to locate the right file to edit/delete.

  • Jerome Krinock Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    I can confirm that bookmarks are not erased from iCloud when unchecking the iCloud Bookmarks or Safari sync.

     

    Deleting bookmarks manually while connected to iCloud, using the steps I gave above on March 24, is the only way to fix this.  Do not touch plist files.  Changing plist files behind iCloud's back will draw iCloud's ire, and cause it to send duplicate bookmarks back with a vengeance.

     

    If you have trouble with the procedure above which I gave on March 24, there is a more detailed version on my website.  Let us know how it goes.

  • iGReG_78 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your answer Jerome.

     

    In fact my bookmarks are OK on the Mac and in iCloud (the Safari checkbox is active in the Mac's iCloud system prefs). Using Little Snitch, I can see network trafic to iCloud servers when I create a new bookmark on the Mac, and the bad “ghost” bookmarks didn't came back for several weeks now.

     

    The problem I have is when I activate the bookmark sync on the iPhone or the iPad, those devices do send bookmarks to iCloud (then to the Mac also…). But the bookmarks should not be there as I erased them when I unchecked the iCloud sync on both devices and selected "Delete" (as mentionned at step #3 of your complete tutorial, and all the million ones I've check btw). All the bookmarks should have been erased but they are not. On the iPhone or iPad, I can see them when I try to save a new bookmark in Safari.

     

    This is when I click on the bookmarks icon on my iPhone :

    bookmarks_menu.jpg

     

    And this is when I try to save a new bookmarks on the same iPhone. I can see the folders containing the “ghost” bookmarks :

     

    save_new_bookmark.jpg

     

    I would like to erase completely the "ghost" bookmarks from both iPhone/iPad, without having to restore "as new" those devices and loose 5+ years of my digital life and network access for a ¡#%@? bookmark file! (when I restore from a backup, the “ghost” bookmarks are also restored…).

     

    My question should have been more accurate : “Can anyone, having duplicate bookmarks, confirm that the bookmarks are not really erased FROM THE IPHONE/IPAD when unchecking the iCloud bookmark sync ON THE IPHONE/IPAD, and if they are still visible when saving a new bookmark on iPhone/iPad?”

     

    The solution would be to delete the Bookmarks.plist files directly on the iPhone/iPad, or at least in the iPhone/iPad backup files located on the Mac (and then restore the iPhone/iPad from this “cleaned up” backup). But which file to edit/delete?

     

    Thanks for your help

  • Jerome Krinock Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    A little question first, iGreg.  You showed two screenshots of your iPhone.  To be clear, what is the significant step you took in between those two screenshots, which made all those folders appear?

     

    More importantly, there is something wrong with that first screenshot.  It shows no items at all.  A normal iPhone or iPod will at least show an empty Bookmarks Bar (Barre de Signets) and an empty Bookmarks Menu (Menu Signets).  So, here's a wild guess.  Not only was your iCloud data full of duplicates, but the Bookmarks.plist files on your iPhone and maybe iPad are not quite as they should be; somewhat corrupt, you might say.  When you switch on iCloud Safari syncing, Safari or iCloud discovers the corrupt data and says Whoa! I'd better roll back to a previous version! and it digs up your old bookmarks from the archives in North Carolina.

     

    So I'm thinking that maybe this is a rare case where you should mess with the plist file on your iOS devices.  But I think you can only do that if you have the "keys" to your device, that is, have paid $99 USD to be in the iOS Developer Program.  I might be wrong about that.  I've never done it.  Anyhow, it is actually OK to mess with Bookmarks.plist files, at least on a Mac, as long as iCloud Safari syncing is off, and you don't leave any iCloud sync data in the file before switching it back on.

     

    But because I've never poked the plist on an iOS device, before I'd recommend it, I'd like to consider your answer to my question.

     

    If you need and don't have the "keys" to your devices, an Apple Genius should have that capability.

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