I recently pruned and edited my Mac's Safari bookmarks. I was very dismayed the next time I synced to discover that the bookmarks from my iPhone had been merged with those on my Mac, even though before the lists had been identical. So now I had even more bookmarks than before I started, many of them duplicated.

As an experiment I've tried deleting just a few bookmarks on the Mac and resyncing, and they just come back.

How do I get the Safari Mac bookmarks to overwrite the Safari iOS bookmarks instead of merging? I don't want to have to delete boomarks on the Mac and then grab the phone and do they same thing over again, unless that's the only way. Which would suck. Because I also have an iPad, so I would have to do it three times.



There's an option in the 'Info'-Tab. At the bottom, you'll find an 'Advanced'-section: 'Replace information on this iPad'. Check 'Bookmarks' there. Instead of merged, the data on the iOS device will be replaced.

In MobileMe this was synchronized across all devices, so I hope with iCloud this will be also.

  • I don't know how I missed that. Giving it a try right now... – valiant66 Aug 11 '11 at 22:37
  • Yep: I checked my iPhone and that did it. Thanks! I guess I just have to remember to do that the next time I sync my iPad too. – valiant66 Aug 11 '11 at 22:46

Normally, syncing via iTunes will take care of the collisions between bookmark libraries. What gets added in one, gets added to the other one. The only odd thing I have seen seen the original iPhone is that all of the default bookmarks in Safari (from the day you first turned on the iPhone) were never synced back into the Mac bookmarks. Other than that, syncing happened as you would expect.

The only thing that can change this behavior is when you check the option to replace all bookmarks on your iPhone on your next sync. But this is unchecked by default. You may want to verify that it remains unchecked for you.

iTunes syncing as it exists today is not ideal. However, this fall when iCloud is released, you will be able to seamlessly sync your bookmarks across your Mac and all iOS devices. Some have speculated that iCloud will use the same infrastructure that iBooks uses to sync up the page number you are currently reading. If that is the case, then iCloud will be pretty good--as iBooks syncs up behind the scenes quite well.

Hope this helps.

  • I just hope they roll out iCloud up here in Canada without too much delay. Stuff like that tends to premiere in the USA and take a (sometimes long) while to appear in other countries. – valiant66 Aug 11 '11 at 22:39
  • From the way it was announced to developers at WWDC, iCloud will be a main feature of OS X and iOS. I don't expect a much delayed phased-out release. They probably want this to be a big selling point for Apple products during the Christmas shopping season. – Christian Correa Aug 11 '11 at 22:47

If you are a MobileMe user, the easiest way to reset syncing from Mac -> iOS is as follows:

  • On your iOS devices go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> MobileMe and disable Bookmark syncing. This will delete all bookmarks on your iOS device
  • On your Mac edit your desired bookmark list in Safari
  • Go to System Preferences -> MobileMe -> Sync -> Advanced -> Reset Sync Data
  • From the pop-up menu choose Bookmarks and ensure the sync is FROM your computer TO MobileMe
  • Once the sync reset is complete, re-enable bookmark syncing on your iOS devices and bookmarks will be in sync after a few minutes

I have used this method quite a few times to re-sync things amongst my devices.

  • Sorry, I don't have a MobileMe account, but this sounds like a good thing to keep in mind for the future. – valiant66 Aug 11 '11 at 22:37
  • MobileMe is dead. You can get a free iCloud account with full device synchronization soon. – Patrick Aug 12 '11 at 11:04

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