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How to Fix: Safari Tabs not Syncing between Devices?

Learn how to fix the issue with Safari browser tabs not syncing between different iCloud signed-in devices. The safari site tabs are not popping across Apple.

One of the best features of the Safari browser is where website tabs and your data are in sync with all of your devices. This means if you open one website on your Mac, then you can open the same website from our iPhone with the help of sync history and reading tabs data.

However, for quite a long time, particularly this feature was not working as intended. On digging some research, I found that many people are facing the same issue.

Safari should be enabled to sync with your iCloud account. Hence it will sync across devices. Sometimes there might be an issue on your Mac device if it’s unable to sync with your iCloud account.

Related: How to Send Link to Devices in Safari Computer?

You can force Sync Safari to iCloud to resolve the issue. However, it is also possible that the possible issue is due to an incorrect configuration on your iOS device.

Safari Tab not Syncing between devices

I have followed some troubleshooting tips, which I used to fix the issue with tabs sync. The issue is mainly due to sync settings, so here is how you can fix it.

Please note that you need to crosscheck the iCloud and Safari browser-sync settings on all your devices. This includes your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or MacBook as well.

On slow internet, Safari Tabs will sync slowly or they might even not sync at all. Even more, before troubleshoot, make sure that you have closed all the Tabs on Safari on every device.

Force Sync Safari to iCloud on your Mac

To force sync Safari to iCloud, firstly you will have to quit the Safari Browser completely. Then you can enable the sync history.

Here are the steps to force sync the iCloud on Safari Mac browser:

  1. If Safari is running, then force quit the browser.
    You can use the Cmd + Q safari shortcut.
  2. Launch the Applications folder and then open the Utilities.
  3. Open Terminal app from the Utilities.
    Terminal app in macOS computer
  4. In the Terminal, type the following command and press Enter to execute it.
    defaults write IncludeInternalDebugMenu 1
    macOS command terminalThis command will terminate any Safari related background process.
  5. Relaunch the Apple Safari browser.
  6. Open on Debug menu and select Sync iCloud History from the menu list.
    Safari macOS Sync iCloud History option

After that, you can check on your other devices if Safari Tabs have synced properly between Apple iCloud signed-in devices.

Force Sync Safari to iCloud on your iOS device

Force start Safari on your Smartphone, the procedure is the same as on Mac devices. You will have to ensure that Safari is not running in the background. But first, close all the tabs that are opened on Safari.

After that, swipe up from the bottom of the screen on your iOS device and open up the App Switcher. Now, swipe up the Safari Card from the app switcher to terminate the application.

For the iOS 11 device, you will have to press hold on Safari until it starts jiggling and then hit on the X red icon. After that launch Safari on the device which you were having issues with. Then check using other devices if the iCloud Tabs are in sync.

Note: If you’re not able to force restart the Safari app, then you can reboot your device, this essentially means the same.

Disable and Enable Safari Sync to iCloud

Sometimes disabling iCloud syncing and re-enabling it again works to fix the Safari Tabs not syncing between devices issue.

Here are the steps to disable and enable safari sync for iCloud:

  1. Open up the Settings app on the iPhone/iPad.
  2. Tap on Signed-in Apple ID and select the iCloud.
  3. To disable the sync, simply toggle OFF the Safari option.
  4. Toggle ON the Safari option again to enable iCloud sync.
    iCloud Safari Enable Sync in iPhone iOS

For Mac users, you will have to go to the System Preferences > iCloud and then you will have to enable Safari.

Bottom Line: Safari Tabs Sync Devices

Other than these methods mentioned, you can clear cache, cookies from the safari browser.

Lastly, you can also try rebooting your device. This works most of the time, simply switch off your iOS or macOS device and then turn it on again. It would probably fix the Syncing issue.

Moreover, you must also check your internet connection. Slow internet connectivity can cause an issue. If both devices are connected with the same WiFi connection, then sync tabs between devices work great.

If you’re facing any issues with tabs syncing, you can alternatively use the send link to devices on safari.

Lastly, here are the recommended web browsers for your computer and mobile phone that you should give a try.

Chrome WindowsChrome MacChrome iOSChrome AndroidFirefox Linux
Firefox WindowsSafari MacSafari iOSEdge AndroidChrome Linux
Edge WindowsFirefox MacEdge iOSSamsung InternetEdge Linux

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6 thoughts on “How to Fix: Safari Tabs not Syncing between Devices?”

  1. Scott

    Thank-you for your post. I am not “shooting the messenger”. I followed the instructions to turn on the Safari debug menu; quitting Safari, running the terminal command to turn on the Debug menu and yet in Safari I don’t have a debug menu. And I know I typed the command in correctly because I am familiar with the terminal environment (Unix shell). I don’t know what gives with this syncing problem between Apple devices. We shouldn’t have to be using Terminal commands. On my iPhone and Mac, I have the latest iOS and OS and I am using the same iCloud account with plenty of storage, am in my house on the same WiFi network. According to the community this problem has been going on unresolved for at least five years. Any ideas or should I call Apple Support?

    1. Editor Staff

      Hi Scott, if you’ve done troubleshooting with the guide and everything seems okay at your end, then please contact Apple Support. I don’t think you should be facing this problem unless any misconfiguration.

  2. FerroMagnetar

    I’m on Mojave, Safari 14 and this worked for me:

    1. Completely quit Safari (cmd Q)
    2. Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Full Disk Access (Unlock the padlock)
    Click the plus sign, find terminal (under Utilities folder in Apps)
    3. Delete this file: ~/Library/Preferences/
    4. Launch terminal and type this:
    defaults write IncludeInternalDebugMenu -bool true

  3. I do not have a Mac. I have iPhone 13 Pro, iPad Air 3, and iPad Mini 5th generation.

    Safari tabs for all used to be visible, but no longer. I have followed your instructions for devices to no avail.

    It’s very frustrating and I do not know what to do next.

    1. Did you find the answer I have the same issue

  4. Hannah

    It just doesn’t work, whatever I do. Reset it multiple times on all devices and did a ton of reboots. I’m using chrome now.

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