5 Replies Latest reply: Sep 20, 2013 3:00 AM by eplt@odw
Stuart Field Level 2 Level 2 (415 points)

My Safari bookmarks are pretty messed up—lots of duplicates, etc. I want to clean them up, but iCloud keeps setting them back to the messed up version.


I have followed a number of suggestions in the Discussions and the web which basically boil down to this:


1. Turn of iCloud on all devices, deleting info on iDevices.

2. Fix up all bookmarks on the mac the way you want them.

3. Export bookmarks (to save them).

4. Delete bookmarks.plist. This clears out all bookmarks in Safari, giving a clean slate.

5. Turn on iCloud for the Mac. Because there are no bookmarks in Safari, this should clean out the bookmarks on iCloud.

6. Reimport saved bookmarks into Safari. These will upload to iCloud.

7. Turn iDevices back on. Bookmarks should download from iCloud.


My problem seems to be step 5. Just before turning iCloud back on, my bookmarks are the Safari defaults (i.e., essentially empty). But when I turn on iCloud, instead of iCloud being cleaned out, all the old, unorganized bookmarks that were still on iCloud come back down and repopulate Safari, so I'm back to where I started.


Perhaps the problem is that I don't really understand the iCloud model. If iCloud and a device differ, which gets changed and which remains the same—iCloud or the device? In a way it makes sense that iCloud would download all its information to an empty iDevice; isn't this what you want if you somehow lost all the information on the device, that iCloud would restore it?


In any case, I need to set things up so that iCloud is set to the current state of my Mac's Safari, either with its default bookmarks or the set of fixed ones. Any suggestions on why the method above fails?

  • 2. Re: Resetting Safari/iCloud bookmarks
    Stuart Field Level 2 Level 2 (415 points)

    Hi Linc: Your second link is one of the ones I followed. It's essentially the steps above, I believe. (In that link, I think that steps 11 and 12 are wrong, as they ell you to turn off all bookmarks, but this was already done in steps 3 and 4).


    The problem is that in that reference's step 16, instead of the empty bookmarks on my mac's Safari leading to an erasure of the iCloud bookmarks, all the old bookmarks on iCloud come back down and repopulate Safari. I need a way to completely erase all bookmarks from iCloud. For whatever reason, the steps in the second link (and others like it) don't seem to work.

  • 3. Re: Resetting Safari/iCloud bookmarks
    Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (118,270 points)

    Don't disable iCloud sync. Delete all the bookmarks. The deletion should be propagated to iCloud, and from there, to all your other devices.

  • 4. Re: Resetting Safari/iCloud bookmarks
    Stuart Field Level 2 Level 2 (415 points)

    Hi Linc: I eventually figured that out—if you delete all bookmarks, one by one, as you're connected to iCloud they will delete on iCloud and everywhere else.


    I think I got confused from the second link's seeming emphasis on dragging out Bookmarks.plist (Step 14). My thought was that this was being done to easily clear out the bookmarks so that they didn't all have to be erased one at a time. But now I don't see any reason to do it at all.


    So it really boils down to this:


    1. Turn off iCloud on every device, deleting on iDevices.

    2. Fix up bookmarks the way you like on your mac. Safari Prairiefire can help, or you can do it by hand.

    3. Export these bookmarks to save them.

    4. Turn on iCloud on the mac. iCloud will repopulate your bookmarks with the bad ones.

    5. Manually delete all bookmarks (cmd-delete). As you do this, the corresponding bookmark is deleted on iCloud.

    6. Import your bookmarks from your saved bookmarks file.

    7. You may need to clean up a bit by dragging the imported bookmarks out of the import folder to where you really want them.


    Linc, because the instructions in the second link above are confusing it might be better to find a better link to refer people to, as I see you've referred others to this link before. As I see it, steps 11 and 12 are superfluous and confusing, all the steps about the plist are uncessary, and the key step 15 is confusing because it doesn't make it at all clear that iCloud will repopulate your bookmarks, and that this is expected, and that you should then delete them all one by one.

  • 5. Re: Resetting Safari/iCloud bookmarks
    eplt@odw Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Generally, this should work. But if you keep seeing bookmarks coming back, you can try to reset your iCloud password after disabling the bookmark sync on your devices. This will then force the "missing" machines out of iCloud sync unless you manually enter the new password.