Restore Lost Safari Bookmarks

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“Dear Apple Tech Talk;

I had a problem with my MacBook Air and the only way to correct it was to reformat the hard drive and reinstall OS X Yosemite. I was able to restore my applications and user data from my Time Machine back-up but now I see that my Safari bookmarks are missing. Is there any way to recover them?”


The Safari bookmarks are in a “preference file” which is stored in the User Library. In Yosemite, the Library is a hidden folder but fortunately, there is a fairly easy process to restore the file you need.

First, make sure Safari is closed. Next, click on an empty area of your desktop so that Finder appears in the top menu bar. In the top menu, click on “Go”. You will see a list appear but you won’t see Library as an option. If you hold down the “Option” key the Library will appear in the list. Select Library and look for the Safari folder. Inside that folder you should see a file called, Bookmarks.plist file. This is where Safari stores the bookmarks and the file that needs to be replaced.

With the Safari folder selected, start Time Machine by clicking on the icon in the Dock or clicking its menu bar icon and choosing Enter Time Machine. Time Machine will open displaying the same Safari folder in the Finder Window. Go back in time to a date before you had to reformatted your hard drive and select the Bookmarks.plist file and click Restore. A window will open and ask if you want to Keep the Original, Keep Both, or Replace the current file. Select Replace. Time Machine will replace the current Bookmarks.plist with the older file that contains your original bookmarks.

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Restart Safari and your bookmarks should be back as they were before.

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Hope that helps.

Apple Tech Talker

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