How to sync bookmarks with two iCloud accounts

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Reader Shannon Riley believes two iCloud accounts are better than one. He writes:

I’ve set up two iCloud accounts on the iPad Air that my girlfriend and I share—one for her iCloud ID and another for mine. The problem is that I see only my account’s bookmarks in Safari. What do I need to do to have her bookmarks appear as well?

If, on the iPad, you travel to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars and take a long look at those two iCloud entries, you’ll find that one has more options listed in fine print beneath it than the other. Specifically, one will list Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Safari, Notes, Keychain, Photos, Documents & Data, and Find My iPad. The other includes just Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, and Notes.

Why? Tap on the second account and in just-as-fine-print you’ll see the words “Only your main account can use Bookmarks, Photo Stream, Documents & Data, Backup, and Find My iPad.”

And—asking myself yet another question—what makes one account “main” and the other less so? The main account is the first one you created. Regrettably there’s no option for designating one as main and the other secondary after you’ve set them up. In order to change the status of their dominance you must delete both accounts on the iPad and create them again, with the main account created first (so no, deleting the main account will not add these missing options to the once-secondary account).

Now, about those bookmarks. While the answer may not thrill you, I’d suggest you go about it this way: On the computer your girlfriend uses, either you or your girlfriend launch Safari, and choose Bookmarks > Add Bookmarks Folder. This will cause Safari’s Bookmarks pane to appear. To this folder add all the bookmarks that your partner would like to use on the iPad. (If it helps with organization, you can create folders within this folder and then organize bookmarks by subject or theme.) Once you’ve added all the bookmarks desired and you’ve organized them to your liking, drag the folder to the desktop. It will appear there in its foldered form, complete with any bookmarks and folders you’ve added to it.

Transfer this folder to the Mac or account that the iPad’s main iCloud account syncs with. Add it to Safari on that Mac (I’d put it in the Favorites bar). As long as you’ve configured the Mac to sync bookmarks via iCloud, it shouldn’t be too long before that folder full of bookmarks appears in Safari on the iPad. Once it does, your girlfriend can access her bookmarks simply by tapping on that folder in the Favorites bar within the iPad’s copy of Safari.

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