I have a 2018 MacBook Air running the latest non-beta Catalina (10.15.3 as of this writing).

For as long as I can remember, I have used Safari’s bookmark syncing via iCloud, and it has worked very well. One might even say flawlessly.

Last weekend I decided that I had accumulated too many bookmarks that I was never going to use which was making it hard to find what I wanted, so I decided to “clean house” — I exported my bookmarks from Safari and deleted everything except one folder named “Forums” which I use often.

I logged in to my Macs and iOS devices to make sure that they all had the same one folder left. I think I might have had to manually delete them again on one or two devices, honestly I don’t remember because I didn’t realize this was going to become A Thing.

So now have:

  • one MacBook Air running Catalina
  • one Mac Mini running Mojave
  • one Mac Mini running High Sierra
  • one iPad
  • one iPhone

The bookmarks on the MacBook Air are working fine locally.

However, everything else is broken.

Changes made on other devices will sync to other devices, but do NOT sync to the MacBook Air.

All of the other devices (except the Air) keep getting duplicates of that “Forums” folder. I just deleted about a dozen of them. Even as I was deleting them, more appeared.

I tried deleting a bookmark on one of the non-MacBook Airs, and not only did it not sync to the Air, but more duplicates re-appeared.

Once the duplicates stopped happening, future changes sync between all of the devices except the Air seem to happen almost simultaneously, even for the Mac mini which is co-located across the USA.

I logged out of iCloud completely on the MacBook Air. I rebooted my MacBook Air. I logged back in to iCloud on the MacBook Air.

The exact same problem is happening.

The MBAir is not getting changes from other Macs, even though it is on the same Wi-Fi network with several other devices which are syncing perfectly well.

Making changes on the MBAir causes more duplicates on the other devices.

At this point it seems like this must be a Catalina issue. Then I remembered my 2015 MacBook was running Catalina too, so I booted it up.

It is syncing just like all of the other non-MBAir devices.

So it’s not Catalina. It’s something about Catalina on this account.

I tried logging into iCloud.com to see if I could delete my Safari bookmarks from there (“The truth is in the cloud”) but there is no option to do that. The only option is to restore deleted bookmarks from the previous 30 days.

I am well-and-truly out of ideas. I guess I could create another local user account on my MBAir and log in to my iCloud account there, but I’m not sure what that would really accomplish anything meaningful. If it worked—then what would I do next?

Any ideas welcomed and appreciated.

Edited to add: Not sure if this is important or related, but I'm also having problems with the Home.app on my MacBook Air not syncing properly with other HomeKit devices.

I do not have any outgoing firewall software installed like Little Snitch or Trip Mode.

Edit 2: I did a Safe Boot to eliminate any potential software issues with iCloud, and it had no effect.

Edit 3: Finding no good answers for this anywhere, I logged in to my backup Administrator account, deleted my regular account, and then re-created it. Safari bookmarks are syncing again.

I did find some messages in the Console log about the SafariBookmarksSyncAgent but googling the error message and/or SafariBookmarksSyncAgent itself did not turn up any helpful information.


1 Answer 1


I had the exact same problem, specifically for Favorites: Changes made on other devices will sync to other devices, but do NOT sync to the MacBook Air. What I discovered was that if on the MacBook Safari menu I clicked Bookmarks and Edit Bookmarks and then just deleted a bookmark on Favorites and voila! it kicked off the sync from the other devices.

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