Many proficient Apple professionals leverage iCloud, yet they don’t fully benefit from all its advantages. I’ve seen family, friends, and clients all struggle to locate websites, cloud-based application login screens, web-based email and articles, and videos originally saved on a different tablet computer or phone. With just a few clicks, properly configured, iCloud can seamlessly synchronize bookmarks between devices. Here’s how to make it work.

On a Mac

To enable bookmark synchronization, open System Preferences. Select iCloud. Check the box for Safari. A dialog box may appear, depending upon prior configurations, confirming you wish to merge your bookmarks and Reading List (which also synchronizes web pages you’ve read with other devices that you’ve mated to your iCloud account) on the Mac with your iCloud account. Click OK.

Once you’ve authorized a Mac to synchronize bookmarks with your iCloud account, when using other devices (such as iPads, iPhones, and Windows computers) mated to your iCloud account, any new bookmark, Favorites bar edit, bookmark deletion, or Bookmarks Menu change will be automatically synchronized with your other systems. Similar to when making the change from POP3 email to Exchange, you’ll find you spend far less time repeating the same tasks: removing an old bookmark, adding a bookmark to a device you’ve already loaded on multiple other devices, re-ordering Favorite bar bookmarks, and locating items saved to other devices (trying to remember which device you saved it to in the process).

On an iOS-powered iPhone or iPad

Enabling bookmark synchronization on an iOS device is straightforward. Open Settings. Select iCloud. As with all devices, you’ll have already had to associate your device with your iCloud account. If you haven’t previously associated the iPad or iPhone (or Mac or Windows system, for that matter) with your iCloud account, you’ll be prompted to enter your iCloud username and password. With the iOS device connected to your iCloud account, ensure the on/off button for Safari is set to on (green, as opposed to gray).

On a Windows machine

On Windows computers, open iCloud (typically easily reached from the System Tray). Check the box for Bookmarks. Selecting the Options button enables specifying the browsers iCloud should synchronize bookmarks with, which on my Windows 7 Professional box includes Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome.

If you haven’t yet installed iCloud on your Windows computer, you can download iCloud for Windows directly from Apple. Windows 7 or 8 is required. Browser compatibility is supported for Internet Explorer 9 and newer, Firefox 22 and newer, and Google Chrome 28 or newer.