About Bookmarks

Over the last couple of years, I have developed a peculiar habit. On my iPhone, iPad, and laptop I will save web pages for later reading by simply leaving open a tab in Safari. It seems silly to think about it now. I would have a dozen open tabs in Safari just because I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget to read something later. I didn’t do this quite so often on my laptop but frequently when using my phone or tablet.

The reason is simple. Bookmarks on the phone or tablet just don’t seem as easy to use as on a laptop. They are hidden away in the interface and very easy to forget. It's also not as easy to make a bookmark on a phone as it is on a laptop. It was just so much more simple to leave the tab open as a reminder for some time later.

The real problem with this habit, aside from the clutter, was the fact that the tabs were only ever on one device. I had a set of tabs open on my phone; a different set of tabs on my tablet; and yet another set on my work laptop. Some tabs were applicable in more than one setting, but there was no easy way to transfer them from one place to another.

In theory, bookmarks on iOS should be synched across devices. I should be able to bookmark a page on my iPhone and have it listed in my bookmarks for Safari on my laptop. But bookmarks don’t work as advertised. And I’m not about to start going through debugging steps from Apple Support. This stuff should work. If it doesn’t, that is Apple’s fault, and I shouldn’t need to be helping debug their software.

Even if bookmarks worked as they should in Apple’s ecosystem, I have a second problem. I don’t use just one iCloud account. I have a personal account for my phone, tablet, and laptop. I have a separate one for my the laptop that was provide by my employer. There’s no way to sync across accounts – and it probably wouldn’t work even if there was supposed to be.

I decided to embrace bookmarks again instead of using a bunch of siloed, open Safari tabs. What I needed was a browser- and platform-independent way of storing and accessing them. So I did want any reasonable person would do and searched “best bookmarks organizer”. A couple of different sources recommended the same app: raindrop.io.

Raindrop has me covered. There are apps for iPad, iPhone, and macOS. There is a browser plugin for Safari on each device. The app is also available on the web. By giving me so many ways to manage bookmarks, it is very easy to add and access the same set of bookmarks no matter what device I happen to be using. The synching is instant. This is how Safari bookmarks should work. I’m thankful someone has figured this problem out.

Now I can add or read bookmarks from anywhere. Raindrop offers quite a few features for free. Paid Pro accounts are only really necessary for super power users who might have thousands of bookmarks to manage. Pro accounts also have some neat features like saved copies of bookmarked pages and broken link tracking. I might need those features at some point (and at $28 per year the price is reasonable) but the free tier is great for now. I’m really happy I started using this.