How to Sync browsing history across devices

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by Explorer3741, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. Explorer3741

    Explorer3741
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    Newbie here

    I was wondering if it is possible to sync internet browsing history through either Google Chrome or safari across several devices?? Or can you cut/paste browsing history from one ITUNES backup file from one device and copy it to another device to have the history on that backup file as well. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. J. A.

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    This is how it work with Chrome (short version):

    Install Google Chrome on your devices, sign in with your Gmail account, and select what to sync in Settings. The information will be synced through your Google account.
     
  3. Mickey330

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    The same works with Safari - but you sync it through iCloud.

    To do: on each device, go to the iCloud tab in your Settings app and ensure the Safari line is ON.

    Then, Safari will be the same across all your Apple devices.

    Marilyn
     
  4. Explorer3741

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    thanks for help. Will this sync my history as well?? or just my bookmarks?
    Enjoy your day
     
  5. J. A.

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    History is not synced between devices in iCloud. Apple's iCloud syncs bookmarks/favorites, open pages (cloud icon) and the Reading List.

    To sync history, you'd need Chrome/Google. Advantage: it syncs between OS (Windows, Apple, Android).
     
    #5 J. A., Aug 8, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
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  6. Explorer3741

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    is there any way to copy / paster browsing history from one device to another?.. Thanks for the replies so far.
     
  7. twerppoet

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    I'm guessing there are tools that will export history files from a desktop browser, or you can dig through the file system and find the history file; probably a plist on a Mac, and copy that. You'd probably want to change the file type to txt or html (depending).

    Once you've done that you could save the file in pretty much any note app that will automatically detect URL (http:. . .) files and turn them into links. The basic Notes app and Evernote both do this.

    You've got my curiosity up, so I'll take a deeper look at what might be done; but later. Right now I've got an hangout to go to.

    Later.
     
  8. Explorer3741

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    thanks for the update its a work issue which started as a home issue
     
  9. twerppoet

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    Ack!

    Completely lost track of this. I'll see what I can figure out, today even.
     
  10. twerppoet

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    TL/DR Version; You're better off taking Johanna's advice and using Chrome if you need history syncing in the future. If you need a few things from Safari in the mean time, use the history on the computer and copy the needed items to bookmarks. Those sync.

    If you're a glutton for details, continue reading. :D

    ----------------------

    Ok. I found absolutely nothing that will do what you want. At least not in a way that I would find acceptable. I'll outline what I did find, in case you want to continue looking and experimenting.

    First, I'm assuming your computer is a Mac running a fairly recent version of OS X, mostly because very few Windows users use Safari. If I'm wrong, very little of this is going to be of any use to you. I'm going to type it all out anyway, without asking, because having doen the research I want to share it. :)

    I found no tools to export and/or import history in Safari; either on iOS or OS X. Plenty for bookmarks, which is a bit redundant since Safari has Import/Export options for bookmarks, but none that handle history.

    OS X stores Safari's history in the History.plist file, located in your user directory. It's a hidden location difficult to get to using Finder. I got so tired of trying to trick Finder into showing it to me I resorted to the Terminal; which I can usually remember how to work.

    The Terminal app is found in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder. You can make a copy of History.plist and placing it on your Desktop file by opening the Terminal and pasting in the following command:

    Code:
    cp ~/Library/Safari/History.plist ~/Desktop
    If you change the name of History.plist to History.txt, you can open it in the TextEditor. It's mostly garbage, but if you look closely you can see the URL's floating around. It's also a huge file.

    If you have XCode installed you can get a better look at the History.plist file by opening it in the Property List Editor app. It won't let you do anything like export the list, but you can see how it's put together logically, and understand why it resists nice clean export as a text file. Right click on the file copy (needs to still be named Histroy.plist) and use Open With to select the app.

    Since you probably don't have XCode, and aren't likely to install it just to peak into a single file, it's back to Terminal.

    I found this discussion on MacRumor's forum. You can read it if you like, but I've reproduced the commands needed below. Again, paste them into the Terminal and hit return. It's much easier than trying to type them in manually.

    This command rips all the strings from the History.plist file and creates the file strings.txt on your Desktop. You can open it with the TextEditor app, or any other text app and look it over.

    Code:
    strings ~/Library/Safari/History.plist > ~/Desktop/strings.txt
    The next command does the same thing, but filters out some of the garbage. Not all of it, and the file is still difficult to read.

    Code:
    strings ~/Library/Safari/History.plist | cut -f 1 -d '[' > ~/Desktop/strings2.txt
    In theory you could use some kind of script to clean this up even more, but I didn't see anything when searching and it's a bit beyond my current skill set. You could also edit it manually, and if you only need the first few pages that's probably not impossible. I can't imagine trying to do the entire things. It's a really, really long text file.

    I pasted a few page into Notes and Evernote. This resulted in a lot of clickable/tappable links. The first part of the URL the http part, is often missing, but the links still work. Sometimes you could get an idea of what the link was for by reading the text near it, but often not.

    When pasting into the Notes app on the Mac, the links do not become clickable. They will however be tappable after they sync (or get copied to) the iOS version of Notes, as long as you are in view mode (the keyboard not visible).

    I'm not really recommending this. The file is huge and searching in it, even in Evernote, would probably be painful. But if you just need the last dozen or so pages, it might be better than nothing.

    Now, after typing all this I'm going to go back to the top and give you the TL/DR version; which will be that you're better off taking Johanna's advice and using Chrome if you need history syncing in the future. If you need a few things from Safari in the mean time, use the history and copy the needed items to bookmarks. Those sync.
     
    #10 twerppoet, Aug 14, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014

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