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Quick Tip: How to Use iCloud Tabs in Safari


Have you ever found yourself sitting at your desk thinking, “It’s a good time to move work to the couch” but then remembering that you have a 9kg iMac? It’d be nice if all those browser tabs came with you to your iPad or MacBook Air, wouldn’t it? Until OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, you had to use a third-party app for that stuff. Now, however, iCloud comes in with a new tool that syncs all your tabs from Safari. Here, let me show you how it works.

Step 1: Get an iCloud Account

The iCloud pane of System Preferences. The iCloud pane of System Preferences.

Before you do anything, know you must have an iCloud account to use this feature. This, of course, if a free service that Apple provides to all users of its products. If you don’t have one, go to System Preferences, select the iCloud pane, and switch on the service. You can read more about how to get an iCloud account on Apple’s official support page.

Step 2: Open Some Tabs

A bit too many tabs, but still ... A bit too many tabs, but still ...

Obviously, the next thing you need to do is open some tabs in Safari, so you have content to sync. Now, your day may not be as hectic as mine where every news source in my bookmarks is opened at once, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go that crazy. Feel free to open multiple windows with ten tabs each — iCloud can handle it.

Step 3: Switch to Another Device and Check for the Tabs

This person likes Google — a lot. This person likes Google — a lot.

Once you’ve established a good number of tabs, grab your iPad or MacBook and launch Safari to find out if everything has been synced. If nothing is showing up on your device, remember that it may take more than ten seconds to finish synchronizing.

Just drag the iCloud Tabs button to the toolbar to begin. Just drag the iCloud Tabs button to the toolbar to begin.

Now, if you don’t know where to look on your MacBook, don’t fret — it’s not always in plain sight. To find your iCloud tabs, right click the top of the window and click “Customize Toolbar…” You now need to find the iCloud Tabs button and drag that to your toolbar. Click "Done" and then click your new button to see a list of your open tabs on other devices associated with your iCloud account. Again, give it a few seconds to refresh. Sometimes it can take up to a full minute.

Accessing Tabs on an iOS Device

Give it a few seconds to reload and your tabs should appear. Give it a few seconds to reload and your tabs should appear.

Once you've synced your tabs with iCloud, you might want to access them on an iOS device, like your iPhone or iPad. To do this, launch Safari and head to your bookmarks. Now tap the iCloud Tabs button on the main Bookmarks screen and wait for your tabs to appear. As usual, it may take a few seconds, but for me there was a short ten-second delay, which isn't bad at all.

Step 4: Find Some Practical Applications

I have found iCloud tabs sync to be extremely useful in my daily life. Whether I want to show someone an article or picture without sharing it to them directly or just want to take work home, it’s the perfect tool for keeping your day thoroughly productive.

So tell me, what do you use iCloud tab sync for?

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