How to Transfer iPhone Bookmarks to a PC

By Aaron Parson

IPhones with iOS 5 and above can sync Safari bookmarks to iCloud, and from there to a Web browser on a Mac. On a PC, however, you can't access iCloud bookmarks unless you install the iCloud Control Panel for Windows. Instead, transfer your bookmarks through iTunes. Even though iTunes doesn't directly support Chrome or Firefox, you can still get your phone's bookmarks into these browsers by first importing them to Internet Explorer, and then copying them.

Step 1

Connect the iPhone to your PC with the USB cable and open iTunes 11 on your computer. Click the "iPhone" button, or, if you have the sidebar open -- press "Ctrl-S" to toggle the sidebar -- click your iPhone's name in the Devices section.

Step 2

Switch to the "Info" tab and scroll down to the Other section. If the "Bookmarks" line in the Other section reads "Your bookmarks are being synced with your iPhone over the air from iCloud," you need to turn off iCloud's Safari sync on your phone to continue.

Step 3

Check "Sync Bookmarks With" and pick a Web browser from the drop-down menu. ITunes for PC only supports syncing with Internet Explorer and the now-discontinued Safari for Windows. If you use an unlisted browser, such as Firefox or Chrome, pick "Internet Explorer." Do not check the "Bookmarks" box in the Advanced section, as this option erases the bookmarks on your phone and replaces them with those from the computer.

Step 4

Press "Apply" and wait until the sync finishes. If you only use Internet Explorer, you can now open the browser to see your phone's bookmarks in the favorites list. If you use another browser, you need to continue on and copy the bookmarks from Internet Explorer.

Step 5

Open Chrome or Firefox to import bookmarks from Internet Explorer. If you use Chrome, open the menu, click "Bookmarks" and "Import Bookmarks and Settings." Choose "Microsoft Internet Explorer," check "Favorites/Bookmarks" and press "Import." In Firefox, press "Ctrl-Shift-B" to open the Library window. Click "Import and Backup" and "Import Data from Another Browser." Pick "Microsoft Internet Explorer," press "Next," check "Favorites" and press "Next" again to import your bookmarks.

Tips & Warnings

  • To turn off syncing bookmarks via iCloud, which is necessary to sync bookmarks through iTunes, open the Settings app on your phone, tap iCloud and switch off "Safari." On system versions prior to iOS 6, this toggle is labeled "Bookmarks."
  • If you need to sync bookmarks in both directions between an iPhone and Firefox or Chrome, and you don't mind installing additional software, download iCloud for Windows from Apple. This utility can sync your phone's bookmarks directly with Chrome and Firefox using a browser add-on. If you use this method, leave the "Safari" toggle in your phone's iCloud settings turned on.
  • If Chrome is the only browser you use on your computer, install Chrome on your iPhone and use it in place of Safari. The Chrome app can automatically sync bookmarks with Chrome on PC over the Internet.