Chrome for iOS may never outperform Safari, but it has still become a solid browser alternative with some nice extra features all its own. The trouble is, when you install Chrome for iOS, there’s no way to directly import bookmarks from Safari into Chrome. For that, you’ll have take a few steps and even get your desktop computer involved.
Step One: Sync Safari with iCloud
The first step in getting your bookmarks into Chrome is transferring them over to your desktop computer. For that, you’ll use iCloud. Fire up your Settings app and tap “iCloud.”
In the iCloud settings, make sure the “Safari” setting is enabled.
And that’s all you have to do here. If you’ve just enabled it for the first time, Safari should sync with your iCloud account within a few minutes. If you want to force the sync to happen right away, you can just create a new bookmark in the Safari app.
Step Two (Windows Only): Import Bookmarks into Internet Explorer on Your Computer
After you’ve synced Safari on your iOS device with iCloud, the next step is getting those bookmarks into Chrome on your desktop computer.
If you’re using OS X, it’s very simple. But in Windows, you have to take an extra step or two just because there’s no Safari version for Windows anymore. So if you’re using OS X, skip to the next step.
Windows users should go ahead and install iCloud for Windows and Chrome for Windows if you haven’t already. Once it’s installed and you’ve signed in, fire it up by hitting Start, typing “iCloud,” and pressing Enter.
In the main iCloud window, click the “Bookmarks” checkbox.
In the Bookmarks Options window, your default web browser will already be selected. You can also select additional browsers if you want to sync your Safari bookmarks with them, as well.
If you’re planning on keeping your bookmarks synced between your desktop and iOS, go ahead and select whatever browser you use on the desktop. Just be aware that you’ll be merging bookmarks between browsers, which can come with some complications. If instead you just want to make a one time transfer of your bookmarks, select a browser you don’t use regularly to sync with Safari for iOS. Since this post is about getting those bookmarks into Chrome, we’re actually going to sync them with Internet Explorer.
The reason for this is that we are then going to do a one time transfer of the bookmarks from Internet Explorer into Chrome, and then take them from there to Chrome for iOS. Taking the extra step of putting them into Internet Explorer first prevents our existing Chrome bookmarks from merging back into Safari and potentially making a mess. Whatever you choose, go ahead and click Apply back in the main iCloud window to force a new sync to happen.
When asked if you want to merge bookmarks, go ahead and click the “Merge” button.
Step Three: Import Bookmarks Into the Desktop Version of Chrome
Now, both Windows and Mac users should import bookmarks into Chrome, from Internet Explorer (Windows) or Safari (Mac). Install Chrome if you haven’t already, then click the Tools menu and choose Bookmarks > Import Bookmarks and Settings.
In the settings page that appears, choose “Microsoft Internet Explorer” (or Safari, if you’re a Mac user) from the drop-down menu, select the items you want to import, and then click the “Import” button.
We’re almost there! Next, you’ll sync Chrome between your desktop computer and iOS.
Step Four: Sync Chrome Between Your Desktop Computer and iOS
For this step, we’re going to assume you already have Chrome installed on your iOS device . If not, go ahead and do that now. Syncing your bookmarks between Chrome on your desktop and Chrome on your iOS device is as simple as signing into both using your Google account.
On your desktop computer, click the Tools button on the Chrome toolbar and then choose Settings from the menu. On the Settings page, click the “Sign in to Chrome” button and then enter your Google credentials to sign in.
After signing into your Google account, Chrome will automatically start syncing your bookmarks and other settings to Google’s servers. By default, Chrome syncs everything, including bookmarks, passwords, extensions, settings, and more. You can control exactly what gets synced by clicking the “Advanced sync settings” button on the main settings page and then choosing what you want to sync.
Next, you’ll do the same in Chrome for iOS. Fire up the Chrome app, tap the Tools button, and then choose “Settings.”
On the Settings page, tap “Sign in to Chrome.”
Go ahead and enter your sign in credentials. To sync everything, just tap the “Ok, Got It” button to start the syncing process. If you want to select what gets synced, tap the “Settings” link instead.
If you selected “Settings” to control what gets synced, you’ll be shown an additional settings screen. Tap the “Sync” button.
On the Sync page, choose what settings you want to be synced and then tap “Done” to start the sync process.
And there you have it. Yes, it’s a little convoluted but it gets the job done. Hopefully sometime in the future, Apple will decide to let other browsers import directly from Safari. In the meantime, though, at least you know you can get those bookmarks transferred over with a little time and patience.