Quit Safari. In the Finder, hold down the option key and select Go > Library from the menu bar. The reading list is stored in the file Safari/Bookmarks.plist in the Library folder. You have two choices:
Restore the file from a backup that predates the issue; or
Move the file to the Desktop, relaunch Safari, and import from the old bookmarks file (File > Import Bookmarks...).
Just to clarify -- it's not that the reading list (ie the actual list of sites I wish to view) is damaged, so far as I can tell. It's that the 'click on reading list, reading list opens' funciton in Safari is broken. I have, on rare occasion, clicked on the reading list and all data was available (or opened after a reboot/whatever), but this almost never happens, which makes the reading list function virtually unusable. The data is there, Safari just refuses to open the menu. Will your solution address that issue?
This didn't address the fundamental problem -- that the 'reading list' tray that's supposed to open on the left when you click the eye glasses won't open (it still doesn't) -- but it did import everything from my reading list to my bookmarks, which means that I didn't lose all the pages I'd marked for reading. So, thank you.
Any help making the reading list a functional, accessible tool again would also be helpful, though, if there are any ideas about what's wrong floating around out there.
Yes -- I moved the bookmark file to my desktop and imported it back into Safari. Now the items from my 'reading list' are saved as bookmarks, but the 'Reading List' function in Safari is still not working. If I saved something new as a reading list item rather than a normal bookmark, I still would not be able to access it without reimporting the bookmark file again.
Please read this whole message before doing anything.
This procedure is a diagnostic test. It won’t solve your problem. Don’t be disappointed when you find that nothing has changed after you complete it.
The purpose of this exercise is to determine whether the problem is localized to your user account, or is system-wide. Enable guest logins and log in as Guest. For instructions, launch the System Preferences application, select “Help” from the menu bar, and enter “Set up a guest account” (without the quotes) in the search box.
While logged in as Guest, you won’t have access to any of your personal files or settings. Any application you run will behave as if you were running it for the first time. Don’t be alarmed by this; it’s normal. If you need any passwords or other personal data in order to complete the test, memorize, print, or write them down before you begin.
As Guest, launch the application(s) and test. Same problem(s)?
After testing, log out of the guest account and, in your own account, disable it if you wish. Any files you created in the guest account will be deleted automatically when you log out of it.
Please read this whole message before doing anything.
This procedure is a diagnostic test. It’s unlikely to solve your problem. Don’t be disappointed when you find that nothing has changed after you complete it.
The purpose of this exercise is to determine whether the problem is caused by third-party system modifications that load automatically at startup or login. Boot in safe mode and log in to the account with the problem. First, disconnect all wired peripherals except keyboard, mouse, and monitor, if applicable, and remove all aftermarket expansion cards. The instructions provided by Apple are as follows:
- Be sure your Mac is shut down.
- Press the power button.
- Immediately after you hear the startup tone, hold the Shift key. The Shift key should be held as soon as possible after the startup tone, but not before the tone.
- Release the Shift key when you see the gray Apple icon and the progress indicator (looks like a spinning gear).
The login screen appears even if you usually log in automatically. You must know your login password in order to log in. If you’ve forgotten the password, you will need to reset it before you begin.
Safe mode is much slower to boot and run than normal, and some things won’t work at all, including your login items.
Launch the application(s) and test. Same problem(s)?
After testing, reboot as usual (i.e., not in safe mode.)
Back up all data if you haven’t already done so. Before proceeding, you must be sure you can restore your system to the state it’s in now. If you skip this step, no one but you will be responsible for the consequences.
Quit Safari if it’s running.
Select /Applications/Safari in the Finder and open the Info window. There’s a checkbox in that window labeled “Open in 32-bit mode.” If that box is checked, uncheck it. Close the window.
Hold down the option key and select Go > Library from the Finder menu bar (Lion) or open the Library subfolder of your home folder (pre-Lion). Delete the following items from the Library folder (some may not exist):
Saved Application State/com.apple.Safari.savedState
Leave the Finder window open. Try Safari again.
If it still doesn’t work right, quit, go back to the Finder, and move the following file to the Desktop:
Then delete the following items (some may not exist):
Try again. This time Safari should perform normally, but your settings will be lost. Select File > Import Bookmarks from the Safari menu bar. Import from the bookmarks file you moved to the Desktop. Recreate the rest of your Safari settings. You can then delete the old bookmarks file.
Note: This step will remove your Safari Extensions, if any, and their settings. If you choose to restore them, do so one at a time, testing after each to make sure you haven’t restored the problem.
If you don’t like the results of step 2, you can undo it completely by quitting Safari and restoring the items you deleted in that step from your backup, overwriting any that were created in their place. You don’t need to restore the files you deleted in step 1.