Safari Tabs not syncing across devices

In the upper right corner of Mac OS Safari, and the bottom right corner of iOS Safari you’ll find the double squares that “Show Tab Overview” when clicked on. Under normal circumstances this shows all of websites that are open on any given Apple device. For instance, on my MacBook Pro I can click the icon, and see what’s websites are open on my iPhone. However, over the last few weeks I’ve noticed that this service has stopped working.

To that end, I’ve signed out of iCloud on all of my devices; turned Safari off under Apps being used by iCloud; cleared my browser History (sniff, sob, :cry:), and closed all of my open tabs, but nothing has helped. I called Apple Support, and they walked me through everything that I’d already try, and then escalated me to 2nd level support.

2nd Level Support asked if my devices were up-to-date, to which I said that my iOS devices are current, but my MacOS devices are running the latest version of Catalina, but that I hadn’t upgraded to Big Sur yet. He stated that because I hadn’t upgraded to Big Sur (their latest OS), that he couldn’t help me troubleshoot the issue on my Mac, but would gladly help with my iOS devices. :rage:

After listening to all that I’d tried to resolve the issues on my iOS devices, he opened a ticket with the engineers, in the hopes that they can help.

While I wait, do any of you super smart folks have any thought, ideas or suggestions on how to resolve this? (My thinking is that this probably started happening several weeks ago, when Big Sur was released, and is caused by some upgrade to Apple’s back end.)

That feature has never worked reliably for me.

Interesting! It’s always worked very well for me, and the primary reason that I continue to use Safari, as opposed to Firefox or Brave, though they have a similar service. It’s great to start reading something on one device (my iPhone), and switch to a larger device (my iPad or MacBook Pro).

I’m using MacOS Safari 14.0.1 on Catalina 10.15.7 on an iMac and a MacBook Pro, and iOS 14.2 on my iPhone and iPad. On MacOS Safari, I can open a new tab with the default start page, and one of the start page options (see lower right of the page) is to include iCloud Tabs. Those work great, and I can choose which device to get my tabs from (there are up and down arrows to the right of the device name). So give that a try.

Can you elaborate on where this option is, and I don’t see it. See attached screenshotScreen Shot 2020-12-13 at 4.45.15 PM

I’ve got the same OSes as you. This feature used to work great for me, but these past 2 months, the iCloud tabs sync is delayed on my iOS, and won’t sync at all on my iPadOS. The weird thing is the tabs of my mobile devices sync perfectly on my macOS ¯_(ツ)_/¯


It should look like this:

Do check whether iCloud sync is enabled for Safari. In Catalina, go to System Preferences → Apple ID → check Safari (should be more or less the same for older or younger macOS, I guess)
Screen Shot 2020-12-14 at 07.47.34



EDIT:
wait, that is WEIRD. the moment before I took the first screenshot, there was clearly “iCloud Tabs” there! Now my iCloud Tabs for my macOS Safari is gone!

Using Big Sur. Safari is checked

The “iCloud Tabs” is currently missing in all my devices too.

The weird thing is I checked all my devices before writing the previous reply, and the moment I took the screenshot, the feature I am referring to is missing

Today I noticed that Safari Tabs are syncing with no problems between my iPhone and the iPads, but Safari on macOS just shows the anodyne icon

Screenshot of Safari (12-17-20, 1-48-09 PM)

Same iCloud account all devices. Toggled Safari in iCloud off and off. No joy. I could log out of iCloud on the macBook but that leads to all sort of annoyances.

I’ve logged out of iCloud on all of my devices, and re-logged in, but that’s done absolutely nothing for me, as my tabs still don’t sync.

I’m not exactly sure what you’re referring to when you say, “iCloud Tabs”. This is all I ever recall seeing in iCloud:

Google is my friend. See.

I don’t know if these count as iCloud tabs, but I cannot close these Safari tabs, for the life of me. They are not open on my MacBook. They do not show up on my iPad. I swipe to close all of them and 10 seconds later they all reappear. I quit and re-log into iCloud on everything with no luck.

Any thoughts?

It’s reliable-ish for me.

Right now on my iPhone, I see the tabs that are open on my Mac. But it shows me more tabs from my iPad than I actually have open - I have 5 on the iPad but the phone shows several more in the “from your iPad” section.

On my Mac, I see a lot of tabs from my phone, quite a few of which aren’t actually open there. And nothing from my iPad at all.

On my iPad, I see tabs from both of the other devices, but again - more tabs from my iPhone than are actually open.

Mac is running Big Sur (but not the latest update, as I was on vacation when it was released), iPhone is on iOS 14.7 and iPad is on iPadOS 14.7 but I’m on the public beta “channel” there.

Edit: Yikes, I just realized I was responding to a pretty old thread.

Had the same issue happening, found a few ‘solutions’ tried this one as it had the lightest lift and impact on my time and it worked:

"Searching the web about this issue indicates that an Apple support page apparently used to state “If you can’t access the device that shared the tab, the tab will automatically be cleared from the list after 14 days if the tab isn’t updated.”

I was going to wait a couple weeks to see if they would disappear on their own even though I still had my devices, but then I thought what if I just change the date on my iPad to the future?* So I did just that. I set my iPad Pro to July 1st, opened Safari, and BOOM…the phantom tabs were gone! I set the date back to the current date, they’re still gone and the correct ones are still showing/working."*

I changed the date on all other devices into the future 3 weeks, changed the ‘zombie tabs device’ to in the past a month, synced everything with icloud and did some safari navigations, then set the date on the ‘zombie tabs device’ back to automatic, did some more sync and safari navigation, then switched the other devices back to automatic date time, everything is syncing perfectly now.

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I now have an odd situation. Safari on my phone reports three tabs in iCloud Tabs as being from my iPad. (They are not.) Safari on my Mac reports those three tabs in iCloud Tabs and says they are from my iPhone. (They are not.) Fact is, the three tabs are open in Safari on the Mac.