How to sync bookmarks between Chrome and Safari on the Mac

If you use Safari and Chrome on the Apple Mac, how do you keep the bookmarks in Sync? Here are the best ways to do this.

In a recent survey more people use Chrome for browsing the web on the Apple Mac than Safari. So how do you transfer bookmarks or, better still, sync them between browsers? Here is the solution.

Back up your bookmarks

Bookmarks are stored in online services by both Chrome and Safari, and this is so they can easily be synced from one computer to another, or even to mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad. This is not a backup though. If you delete one or all your bookmarks, the action is synced and bookmarks are deleted online and on every other computer and device that syncs.

To back up browser bookmarks, they should be exported as an HTML file and saved to disk.

Safari: Go to the File menu and select Export Bookmarks. Save the file to disk and keep it safe. If you ever need to restore the bookmarks, go to the File menu and select Import From, Bookmarks HTML file.

Back up Safari Bookmarks on t5he Apple Mac

Chrome: Click the menu button and then select Bookmarks, Bookmarks Manager. Click the Organise menu and at the bottom are Export bookmarks to HTML file and Import bookmarks from HTML file. Save the file to disk and keep it safe.

Copy bookmarks from browser to browser

Since both Safari and Chrome can export and import bookmarks via an HTML file, this is one way to copy bookmarks from one browser to another. It is not the best way and there is an alternative in both browsers.

Open Safari, go to the File menu and select Import From, Google Chrome. Safari detects that Chrome is installed and if the option is selected you can import the bookmarks and browsing history.

Import bookmarks from Chrome directly into Safari on the Apple Mac

Not to be outdone, Chrome offers a similar feature. Go to the menu in Chrome and select Bookmarks, Import bookmarks and settings. Favourites/Bookmarks can then be imported from Safari.

Import bookmarks from Safari into Chrome on the Apple Mac

So bookmarks can be copied from one browser to another without having to save any bookmarks files to disk. You should still export to disk for backups though.

Sync Chrome and Safari bookmarks

Copying bookmarks from one browser to another using a file or these menus is tedious and you could end up with a lot of duplicated bookmarks.

An alternative solution is the iCloud Bookmarks extension for Chrome. This is by Apple and although it syncs bookmarks between Chrome and Safari browsers, it will not install in Chrome on the Mac. It only installs in Chrome on Windows PCs.

If you have a Windows PC and install the extension, Safari bookmarks are synced to it, then when you run Chrome on the Mac, Chrome will sync the bookmarks with the Windows PC. It gets the job done and in a roundabout way bookmarks get from Safari to Chrome, but you have to go via a Windows PC.

This is not a perfect solution and people that don’t have a Windows PC cannot use this method.

There are other bookmarks sync services, such as Xmarks, but that is old and the Safari Extension is for OS X 10.5 Leopard. I wouldn’t even try installing an extension that old. The recent reviews for the Chrome extension are very mixed, with some 5-star reviews and some 1-star. It works well for some people and poorly for others.

The facility to import directly from the other browser seems the best option.

I use Chrome the most and this is where I keep my bookmarks. Every so often I delete all Safari bookmarks and import a fresh copy of Chrome bookmarks. This avoids any duplicates.




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