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iCloud: Using and troubleshooting iCloud Tabs

Learn how to use and troubleshoot iCloud Tabs.

iCloud keeps the tabs you have open in Safari up to date on your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Mac. So you can go from one device to the next and pick up browsing wherever you left off. Here's how to use and troubleshoot iCloud Tabs on devices that are using OS X Mountain Lion or later, or iOS 6 or later.

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Setting up and using iCloud tabs

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Setting up iCloud Tabs

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud and confirm that Safari is turned on. Also make sure that you are signed in to the same account used by the other devices with which you want to share tabs.
  2. Complete the same steps on each of the other iOS devices with which you want to share tabs. If you're sharing tabs with Macs, refer to Mac setup instructions in this article.

Using iCloud Tabs

  1. Open Safari.
  2. If you're using iOS 7, tap the Tabs icon in the lower-right corner. Scroll to the bottom of the list, below the images of tabs open on your device. A list of open tabs on your other supported devices will appear. Tap the one you want to open.
  3. If you're using iOS 6, tap the Bookmarks icon, then tap iCloud Tabs. A list of open tabs on your other supported devices will appear. Tap the one you want to open. iCloud Tabs shows only the tabs that are open on your other supported devices, not the tabs that are open on the device you're currently using.

To remove a tab from the iCloud Tabs list, close that tab in Safari on the supported device that shared the tab. Quitting Safari, putting your device to sleep, or turning your device off will not remove a tab from the list. If you no longer have access to the device that shared the tab, the tab will automatically be cleared from the list after 14 days, if the tab is not updated.

Mac

Setting up iCloud Tabs

  1. Choose System Preferences from the Apple () menu, then click iCloud. Make sure that you are signed in to the same account used by the other devices with which you want to share tabs. Also make sure that the checkbox next to Safari is selected.
  2. Complete the same steps on each of the other Macs with which you want to share tabs. If you're sharing tabs with iOS devices, refer to the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch setup instructions in this article.

Using iCloud Tabs

  1. In Safari, click the iCloud Tabs button to the left of the address bar.
  2. A list of open tabs on your other supported devices will appear. Click the tab you want to open. iCloud Tabs shows only the tabs that are open on your other supported devices, not the tabs that are open on the device you're currently using.

To remove a tab from the iCloud Tabs list, close that tab in Safari on the supported device that shared the tab. Quitting Safari, putting your device to sleep, or turning your device off will not remove a tab from the list. If you no longer have access to the device that shared the tab, the tab will automatically be cleared from the list after 14 days, if the tab is not updated.

Troubleshooting iCloud Tabs

Try these steps if you don't see a list of iCloud tabs in Safari, or if you see the message "iCloud automatically shows all the open tabs on your other devices." Test after each step to see if the issue is resolved.

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

  • Make sure that your iOS devices are using at least iOS 6 and your Macs at least OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.2. If your devices don't meet these requirements, you can still use iCloud Bookmarks to keep your saved Bookmarks and Reading List content up to date between any devices that meet the system requirements. Bookmarks updating is not the same as iCloud Tabs updating, but it will allow you to move Bookmarks content between devices.
  • Confirm that you've followed the iCloud Setup instructions in the previous section.
  • Make sure that your supported devices have open tabs in Safari.
  • Confirm that you are not using Private Browsing. You can't share tabs while Private Browsing is on.
    • In iOS 7, Safari windows are dark gray instead of light gray when you're using Private Browsing. To turn off Private Browsing, tap the Tabs icon, then tap Private.
    • In iOS 6, make sure that Private Browsing is turned off in Settings > Safari.
  • If you are using iOS 7:
    1. Double-click the Home button to see preview screens of the apps that you have open. Swipe the Safari screen up and out of the way.
    2. Press the Home button.
    3. Open Safari again.
  • If you are using iOS 6:
    1. Double-click the Home button to see your open apps in a row at the bottom of the screen. Touch and hold the Safari icon until it jiggles.
    2. Tap the red circle in the corner of the Safari icon. Safari will disappear from the list.
    3. Press the Home button.
    4. Open Safari.

If you still can't see your shared tabs, complete these additional steps, and test after each step:

  • If you are using iOS 7:
    1. Double-click the Home button to see preview screens of the apps that you have open. Swipe the Safari screen up and out of the way.
    2. Press the Home button.
    3. Open Safari again.
  • If you are using iOS 6:
    1. Double-click the Home button to see your open apps in a row at the bottom of the screen. Touch and hold the Safari icon until it jiggles.
    2. Tap the red circle in the corner of the Safari icon. Safari will disappear from the list.
    3. Press the Home button.
    4. Open Safari.
  • Turn off Safari in Settings > iCloud. Tap Keep or tap Delete from My iPhone when asked if you want to delete previously synced data.
    1. Press the Home button to exit Settings, then wait about 1 minute.
    2. Turn on Safari in Settings > iCloud.
    3. Open Safari and try using iCloud Tabs again.
    4. Turn off your device, then restart it and test again. This may sound simple, but it reinitializes your network and app settings and can frequently resolve issues.

If necessary, test again after following these steps for each iOS device with which you want to share tabs.

Mac

  • Make sure that your Macs are running OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.2 or later, and your iOS devices are running iOS 6 or later. If your devices don't meet these requirements, you can still use iCloud Bookmarks to keep your saved Bookmarks and Reading List content up to date between any devices that meet the system requirements. Bookmarks updating is not the same as iCloud Tabs updating, but it will allow you to move Bookmarks content between devices.
  • Confirm that you've followed the iCloud Setup instructions in the previous section.
  • Make sure that your supported devices have open tabs in Safari.
  • In Safari, open the Safari menu and confirm that there is not a checkmark next to Private Browsing. You can't share tabs while Private Browsing is on.
  • Quit Safari, then open Safari and try using iCloud Tabs again.

If you still can't see tabs from your other devices, quit Safari again.

  1. Choose Apple () > System Preferences, then click iCloud.
  2. Deselect the checkbox next to Safari.
  3. Close System Preferences, wait about a minute, then open iCloud Preferences again.
  4. Select the checkbox next to Safari and click Merge to merge the bookmarks on your Mac with those that you've stored in iCloud.
  5. Close System Preferences.
  6. Open Safari and try using iCloud Tabs again.

If you still can't see tabs from your other devices, restart your computer. This may sound simple, but it reinitializes your network and application settings and can frequently resolve issues.

If necessary, test again after following these steps for each Mac with which you want to share tabs.

Last Modified: Oct 15, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Oct 15, 2013
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