Yes, you read that right.
I use Firefox. I think it’s the best browser around — mostly because of its wide support for plugins and its frequent updates.
But I also have an iPad. And iPad includes and supports the Apple Safari Web browser.
One of my first challenges was to get my Firefox bookmarks into my iPad’s Safari browser — and to keep them synced. Here’s what I did.
Step 1: Set Up Firefox Bookmark Synchronization
I use two computers regularly (an iMac on my desktop and a 13″ MacBook Pro) and occasionally use two others (a 15″ MacBook Pro and a Dell Laptop). It was natural to want my bookmarks synchronized between these computers. So years ago, I began using a Firefox plugin that handled synchronization for me. That plugin has evolved over time and is currently called Xmarks Bookmark and Password Sync.
Xmarks works with a free account on the Xmarks.com Web site. (If you are a more experienced user and have your own server, you can sync to your own server instead.) You set up an account on Xmarks.com, install the plugin in Firefox on all your computers, and configure the plugin to point to your Xmarks.com account. You then synchronize. The first synchronization gives you options to overwrite or merge booksmarks; do whatever you think is right for your situation. From that point forward, Xmarks will automatically synchronize bookmarks when you open and quit Firefox.
Although I’ve been doing this for years now, this became my first step to syncing my bookmarks with Safari on my iPad. If you don’t already use Xmarks, set it up as your first step.
One note here: Xmarks has other synchronization features. For example, as the name implies, it also synchronizes passwords. You can use this feature, too, if you like. And it displays search results with ratings and other features. Explore this on your own.
Step 2: Set Up Safari Bookmark Synchronization
The next step is to get your Firefox bookmarks on Safari. You can do this with Xmarks for Mac OS X 10.6.
Download the installer, run it, and follow the instructions in the Installation Wizard to set it up on your computer. Be sure to point it to the same Xmarks account you use for Firefox. When you perform that first sync, tell it whether you want to merge or overwrite bookmarks. When the sync is complete, your Safari bookmarks should match your Firefox bookmarks.
One thing to keep in mind here: if you have multiple Macs and use a MobileMe account to synchronize various Mac OS items — including Safari Bookmarks — you don’t need to install Xmarks for Mac OS X 10.6 on all of your computers. Just install on one and let MobileMe do the rest of the synchronization for you.
Step 3: Set Up iPad Bookmark Synchronization
At this point, it should be pretty easy to figure out how to synchronize your Mac’s Safari bookmarks with your iPad’s Safari bookmarks. There are actually two ways to do this:
If you have a MobileMe account:
- Make sure Bookmarks synchronization is turned on on your Mac in the MobileMe preferences pane (see previous screenshot) and sync.
- Make sure your MobileMe account has been set up on your iPad.
- On your iPad, tap Settings and then tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars. This should take you to the Mail, Contacts, Calendars screen.
- Tap the e-mail address for your MobileMe account. This will display its options, shown here.
- Tap to turn on the Bookmarks option.
- Tap Done.
Bookmarks will now be synced through MobileMe.
If you don’t have a MobileMe account:
- Use your USB cable to connect your iPad to the computer you use to synchronize data and install music and apps. Ideally, this computer should have Foxmarks for Mac OS X 10.6 installed on it.
- On your Mac, open iTunes (if it has not opened automatically) and select your iPad in the Source list under Devices.
- Click the Info tab near the top of the iTunes window.
- Scroll down to the Other section.
- Turn on the check box labeled Sync Safari Bookmarks. (This check box only appears if you are not using MobileMe to sync bookmarks.)
- Click Sync. If prompted to merge or overwrite bookmarks, choose the appropriate option for your situation.
Bookmarks will now be synced through iTunes.
Works for Me
This is my solution. Is it the only one? Probably not. If you have a different (or even better!) solution, don’t hesitate to share it with us in Comments on this post.