Q&A: Dropbox for syncing bookmarks

Q Following an online article, I set my Dropbox up to keep my Safari bookmarks in sync. This involved putting the .plist file of bookmarks into Dropbox, then accessing that one file from my iMac and MacBook Pro. However when I add a new bookmark on either Mac, a new .plist file appears on that Mac, rather than updating that in Dropbox, so does not sync. Is there a better way short of upgrading the MacBook Pro and using iCloud?

A When you synchronise bookmarks in this way, you are not actually using a local copy of the Bookmarks file, but sharing a single copy in Dropbox. This is not the way that iCloud works, and given the differences in OS X and Safari between your Macs, is likely to cause problems.

Until you are ready to use iCloud, you would be better using Dropbox as an easy way to copy bookmarks between Macs, but to revert to keeping proper .plist files locally.

First, on one Mac alone, trash any existing bookmarks files on that Mac, and the link to that in your Dropbox. Copy the Dropbox bookmarks.plist to the correct location in ~/Library/Safari on that Mac, and bring its bookmarks fully up to scratch. Then put a copy of that file into Dropbox, and on the other Mac trash its bookmarks and link from ~/Library/Safari. Copy the file from Dropbox onto that Mac.

Then when you want to sync, update the copy in your Dropbox and use that to update your other Mac. Although that may seem clumsy, it ensures that each Mac has its own local Property List file, which you remain in control of. However you will find iCloud’s solution is greatly superior, once you are ready to upgrade the MacBook Pro.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 28 issue 21, 2012.