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Mac 911: A potpourri of OS X questions

Glenn Fleishman | June 30, 2015
This week, we answer questions about bookmark sync failure, managing Top Sites in Safari, dysfunction keys, and ransomware.

We're taking a break from your hundreds of questions about Photos to answer a variety of OS X riddles. As always, please let us know if our answers helped or failed to solve the same or a related problem.

Cloudy with a chance of corruption

John Harrington writes:

Seems if I enable syncing of bookmarks and reading lists in the iCloud preferences in System Preferences that when I quit a session in Safari I get an error dialog stating that the cloudd process has crashed. The console log indicates it is an uncaught exception error involving CloudKit.

This sounds like something deep and wrong, but there may be a solution. While I can't replicate the situation, others have experienced similar crashes for unrelated reasons. Adam Demasi, a developer, dove into why he was having slowdowns with folders in the Finder and found crashes in the system log. He determined the cause was a corrupt local database used to track CloudKit metadata. CloudKit is Apple's framework for developers to interact with iCloud storage.

Adam found deleting the metadata database solved the problem. OS X re-creates the database from the cloud whenever it's deleted, so you won't lose data. (Though you should make sure you have a complete backup before you delete a system-level file--and export your bookmarks from Safari using File > Export Bookmarks.)

Adam's steps:

In the Finder, press Shift-Command-G.

Enter ~/Library/Caches/CloudKit

Move CloudKitMetadata, CloudKitMetadata-shm, and CloudKitMetadata-wal to the trash.

If this doesn't work, you may need to switch browsers if you want to sync bookmarks across desktop (and some mobile) browsers, as sad as that sounds. Firefox and Chrome can import Safari bookmarks and have their own sync options.

(And please check in and let us know if this solved the problem!)

Top sighted

Larry Browning asks:

I liked your way of alphabetizing my bookmarks, but could not find where they are hiding Top Sites. I have one that the url is wrong and have not been able to change it.

Top Sites in Safari is an oddball: it's not a set of bookmarks even though it looks like. You manage entries that appear on that special page by viewing the page. Click the grid icon in the upper left of the window, then make sure the grid icon at the top right of the page is selected. (The star shows favorites.)

Apple adds Top Site entries automatically unless you've filled the screen with pinned locations. You can drag and drop entries to reorder them, and hover over a site preview to get Delete and Pin icons. Click Delete to remove the entry and Apple won't suggest it again. Click the Pin and it remains a Top Site.


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