Apple’s iCloud offers seamless syncing of Safari bookmarks and while it works great, it’s not a solution for those who use Google’s Chrome as their default browser on their Mac or PC. There are a number of both free and paid solutions that solve the problem of how to sync Chrome bookmarks with iPhone or iPad.
Updated: February 10, 2015
Dump Safari and Use Google’s Chrome Browser
Available as a free download from the App Store, Google Chrome for iOS will sync your bookmarks with its desktop counterpart. The process sounds easy enough, but there are a few hurdles. Download the app and sign in with your Google account credentials. In order to set up syncing of bookmarks, the Chrome will ask you for a passcode phrase. Enter it incorrectly and the app will prompt you to stop and reset it. Unfortunately, that means resetting your entire account. An odd workaround that worked for me was to use my old Google accounts password, previous to my current password. Now, I had never set a passphrase that I could recall, so perhaps Google reverts to your last password.
If this does not work, you have to reset your passphrase, which is done by visiting google.com/settings/chrome/sync. Warning: This could take hours to complete and will clear synced Chrome data from Google servers.
With your password situation resolved, here’s how to adjust your settings.
- Tap on the menu icon to the right of the search bar. It’s the three dots.
- Scroll to ‘Settings’
- You’ll see your Gmail account and underneath you’ll see ‘Sync’. Make sure it is toggled to on.
- Tap on ‘Sync‘ to access the advanced menu. Toggle ‘Sync Everything‘ to on.
Google Chrome will not sync your open tabs, bookmarks, passwords and omnibox data between your desktop browser and your iPhone or iPad.
Exporting bookmarks from Chrome to Safari
If you have a set group of bookmarks that you don’t deviate from, you could utilize a one-time export from Chrome.
- Open Chrome
- Select Bookmarks > Bookmark Manager
- Click on Organize to reveal the drop-down menu
- Select ‘Export Bookmarks to HTML File…”. It will save as bookmarks_
- Open Safari. If you don’t currently have it installed, you can download it here.
- Select File > Import Bookmarks
- Navigate and select the file you exported from Google Chrome.
- This will import your bookmarks from Google Chrome into Safari
- Open iTunes and select the ‘Info’ tab
- Check the box for ‘Sync Safari bookmarks’
This process is a one shot deal. You’ll be able to move your existing Chrome bookmarks through Safari to your iOS device. However, unless you move to Safari on the desktop, there is no sync process in place to keep your bookmarks updated. We had previously suggested Chrome Sync Pro ($0.99), but can no longer recommend this app. It’s no longer compatible and no longer delivers on its promise of syncing your bookmarks.
There are desktop solutions for both Mac and PC that will sync bookmarks between browsers. XMarks for Mac/PC requires you install on Xmarks for each supported browser. Subscribers to their Premium upgrade gain $1 per month can access bookmarks from their free iPhone app, but reviews of the service are not encouraging. Mac users also can consider Bookmacster, an expensive option at $23. This service merges and manages bookmarks from all of your browsers, with support for syncing via iCloud.
If you use Safari as you main desktop browser, syncing bookmarks is seamless using iCloud. For a good number of folks who prefer Google’s Chrome browser, there are a number of options for syncing with your iPhone or iPad. Using Google’s Chrome browser on iOS is the easiest and also free solution. If you don’t update your bookmarks often, then utilizing the import/export function will also work quit well. Finally, third party software solutions can also solve your problem, but expect some hurdles which might be off-putting. In the end, find the option that works best for you, allowing you to bring your bookmarks to your favorite browser.