restore bookmarks

How to restore deleted Safari bookmarks

Reader Aaron Drake did the bad thing with his bookmarks and would like to undo his actions. He writes:

“I recently went on a cleaning binge and as part of it I wiped out what I thought were unnecessary Safari bookmarks. A couple of days later I realized that I need some of them. I have a Time Machine backup but don’t know where to find the old bookmarks. Help!!”

Since you asked so nicely, sure. Follow along.

In the Finder, hold down the Option key and choose Go > Library. (The Library entry won’t appear unless you hold down Option.) In the now-visible Library window open the Safari folder. Inside you’ll spy the Bookmarks.plist file. This is where Safari stores its bookmarks.

Now invoke Time Machine by clicking on its icon in the Dock or clicking its menu bar icon and choosing Enter Time Machine. The Time Machine interface will appear and continue to display the Safari window. Now go back in time until you locate the last version of the Bookmarks.plist file saved before you subjected it to wrack and ruin. Click Restore. You’ll be asked if you’d like to keep the original, keep both, or replace the current file. If you’d like to put things back the way they once were, choose to Replace the current file.

If you opt to keep both, the older file will be called Bookmarks (original).plist. Under these circumstances, Safari will open and use the culled set of bookmarks you now regret, well… culling. To use the previous, larger set, rename the most recent file to something like Bookmarks (culled).plist and remove the (original) from the restored file so that its name is Bookmarks.plist. When you do, Safari will use the older, unedited bookmarks collection.

Have a question of your own? Drop a line to mac911@macworld.com.

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