How to Recover Deleted Safari History and Data?

The Apple devices have great recovery management service built-in as a core feature. It has the Time Machine and iCloud sync, which backup the files and folders along with Safari browser’s data. We can quickly recover and restore the deleted Apple Safari browser’s History records and stored data files using these services on Mac and iPhone/iPad devices.

Recently one of my friends was browsing the web via Safari browser. Once the browsing session got completed, he decided to delete the browsing data for the past hour.

However, he forgot to check the time range (which was set to All-Time), and hence he had accidentally deleted all browsing history to date.

It turns out he wasn’t the only one, and there were a plethora of similar queries lined up across the web where users are looking for a method to recover their deleted Safari history and data.

For example, a few concerned parents wished to get hold of their children’s browsing history, which the latter would always end up deleting right before closing the browser.

Along the same line, a few users were unable to remember a particular site that they had visited a few weeks back and had deleted their history as well. All in all, there could be quite a few reasons why one would need to recover the deleted Safari history and data.

Therefore, in this guide, we will be sharing a few nifty methods to restore deleted Safari history, and data could be carried out, both on your iPhone and Mac.

Recover Deleted Safari iPhone/iPad Data

Here are the four different methods through which you could recover the browser data on your iPhone device.

iPhone/iPad Settings

Recovery from phone settings is the most accessible and straightforward approach to getting hold of your deleted browser history and data.

Here are the steps to recover deleted Safari history and data from iOS/iPadOS Settings:

  1. Launch the Phone Settings menu on your device.
  2. Scroll and select to Safari app from the list.
  3. Scroll to the bottom and tap Advanced.
    Safari Settings Website Data on iPhone:iPad
  4. Tap to open the Website Data section.
  5. The delete browsing data will be available on the screen.

Keep in mind that the data will only be available if you haven’t deleted the Safari browser’s cache or cookies files.

Recover with iCloud Web

If you have synced your iPhone data over to the iCloud, then it would have stored all the app data, including the one from Safari. As a result, you could quickly recover the deleted Safari data directly from the clouds.

Here are the steps to recover the Safari Bookmark data from the iCloud web:

  1. Open the iCloud website and sign in with Apple ID.
  2. Switch to the Advanced tab.
  3. Click on the Restore Bookmarks tab.
    Restore Bookmarks from iCloud to Apple Devices
  4. Select the bookmarks to recover, and hit the Restore button.
  5. Click on Restore in the confirmation dialog box.

Remember that you could only recover the bookmarks if we deleted them within the past 30 days. The Safari data is retained only for 30 days after deletion. Anything over that period is wiped out.

iCloud Sync Backup

If you have backed up all your device data to iCloud, you could quickly restore it onto your iPhone. Doing so shall bring back all the apps data, including the one from Safari. And with that, you will be able to recover the deleted browser data as well.

However, you will first have to factory reset the device before you can restore this data.

Please proceed with caution, and this method will completely wipe out data between the last backup and the present.

Here are the steps to erase iPhone data and recover from iCloud:

  1. Launch the Phone Settings, and open the General settings menu.
  2. Head over to Reset and select Erase All Content and Settings option.
    Erase all content and Settings from Safari iPhoneWait until the data reset is complete on your iPhone or iPad.
  3. Sign in to your Apple ID and select the backup containing deleted history.

The restoration process will now begin and could take a few minutes. Once done, you shall get back all your browser history and synced data.

While this process does its job quite effectively, its requirement of deleting all the data from your device and then restoring it requires a lot of time.

iTunes Backup

Similar to the method mentioned above, if you have backed up your data over to iTunes, it could quickly be restored onto your device. But as before, you will first have to delete the data from your iPhone and then restore the backed-up one.

Here are steps to recover the iPhone or iPad data from iTunes backup:

  1. Open the iTunes app on Mac, and then connect your device.
  2. Select your iPhone/iPad, and hit on the Restore Backup option.
    Restore Backup from iCloud to Apple Devices
  3. Select the backup that you believe has your browser data.
  4. Hit on Restore command button.

Once the restoration is complete, you shall get back the browser data, along with all the other app’s data.

As was the case with the previous method, it also involves deleting and restoring all the data on your device. This would prove to be quite an effort-taking task and might not be everyone’s preferred method.

Recover Safari Mac History and Data

Similarly, you could recover deleted Safari history and data on your Mac. Let’s now check out the steps to do the same on your Mac.

Here are the two different methods that shall help you get hold of the deleted browser data on your Mac.

iCloud Data Sync

If you are using the same Apple account linked across both your iPhone and Mac and the former’s data is stored over to iCloud, then you have the option to restore the browser data from your iOS device over to your Mac. We can take the help of iCloud in this process.

Here are the steps to recover the Safari history and data from iPhone’s to Mac using iCloud Sync:

  1. Launch the Phone Settings menu on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on your name to open Apple Profile.
  3. Select on iCloud and scroll to the Safari app.
  4. Enable the toggle button for Safari iCloud data sync.
  5. Select the Keep on My iPhone option.
  6. Tap on the Merge command.
    Merge Local Safari Data with iCloud on iPhone

All your Safari data present on the iPhone will now be overwritten on the iCloud, replacing the one from Mac. When that happens, you could then quickly restore that data from the iCloud over to your Mac.

Time Machine Backup

You could also recover the deleted Safari History and data using Apple’s built-in backup and restore functionality.

All the records of your previously visited sites are stored inside the history.db database file. So you could restore this file and, in turn, get back your deleted browser data.

Here are the steps to restore time machine backup for Safari browsing history data:

  1. Open Finder, type in the below Safari Library location.
    ~/Library/Safari
  2. Scroll and select the history.db database file.
  3. Click on the Time Machine from the menu bar, and select Enter Time Machine.
    Enter Time Machine Backup on MacOSYou can also access Time Machine from the spotlight search.
  4. Within Time Machine, select the History.db file.
  5. Hit the Restore button.
    Time Machine Backup versions on MacOS

Time Machine will now begin restoring all the data present inside that database file. Once done, you will get back all your browser data.

The only caveat with this method is that you should have created a Time Machine backup beforehand. If you haven’t done so, then this approach might prove to be futile.

Bottom Line: Restore Safari Deleted History

We conclude the guide on how you could recover your deleted Safari history and browser’s data. Keep in mind that some third-party apps do exist that claim to do the said task in just a few clicks.

But there’s always an element of risk involved in giving access to your browser data to these third-party services. Hence we decided to skip the mentions of those apps altogether.

The instructions that we have listed for both iPhone and Mac devices involve just the stock apps.

With that said, the iCloud data proved to be the savior in my case for both these devices. Do let us know which method spelled out success for you.

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

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

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1 Response

  1. Nigel Pearson says:

    Time Machine Backup might not work for latest versions of Safari, as Apple keeps changing the way MacOS Safari stores its history.

    For me, Safari 12.1.2 doesn’t use ~/Library/Safari/History.db:
    % ls -lart ~/Library/Safari | grep History
    -rw-r–r–@ 1 nigel staff 0 17 Feb 2017 History.db-lock
    -rw-r–r–@ 1 nigel staff 0 15 Jun 11:47 History.db-wal
    -rw-r–r–@ 1 nigel staff 7446528 15 Jun 11:47 History.db
    -rw-r–r–@ 1 nigel staff 32768 15 Jun 11:48 History.db-shm
    -rw-r–r–@ 1 nigel staff 1012 2 Oct 18:18 CloudHistoryRemoteConfiguration.plist
    -rw——[email protected] 1 nigel staff 1314816 3 Oct 11:34 HistoryIndex.sk
    %

    but I did find recent history links in ~/Library/Caches/Metadata/Safari/History

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