Mac Tutorial: How to Recover Deleted Bookmarks in Chrome

So, you’re sitting there, admiring how pretty Chrome is. Sleek. Shiny. Fast. And then, you notice that you’ve got this little tool bar right below the address bar and it’s got some of the bookmarks you’ve been saving there. You decide to do a little “clean up” so that you can save that space for more important websites. Websites you’ve chosen. So you’re clicking along—merrily deleting—when suddenly, some niggling doubt in your mind says, ‘Wait a second. Am I just cleaning up the bookmarks bar?’

In a sudden bout of clarity, you click on the main Bookmarks link at the top and there it is, staring you right in the face: You’ve just managed to delete a significant portion of your saved bookmarks.

But panic doesn’t set in yet. No, no. You CMD+T a new tab, go up to the address bar and type in your question, “how to restore deleted bookmarks in Chrome”. You pull up results and the pain in your chest starts to fade when you see there are other people who have had this problem but, lo and behold, the pain returns with a vengeance when you see the proffered solutions only apply to Windows users. Now it’s not just pain but panic too. All your work. Possibly years of bookmarks. Gone, poof. Life as you know it is officially over, right?

Wrong.

If you find yourself in this sticky situation and you’re using a Mac: FEAR NOT. Here is the way (tried and tested by yours truly) to recover deleted bookmarks in Chrome:

Open up “Finder” and go to Macintosh HD > Users > Your user name > Library > Application Support > Google > Chrome > Default

Once here, you will see two files: 1) Bookmarks and 2) Bookmarks.bak.

Copy, rename, and save Bookmarks to another location—one you’ll remember (I like my desktop). Then, go back and delete the original file (Bookmarks).

Now go down to Bookmarks.bak and rename it to simply “Bookmarks”—leaving out the .bak extension (!important).

Close finder. Restart Chrome. Give it a second or two and wahlah. Panic attack over.

102 comments on “Mac Tutorial: How to Recover Deleted Bookmarks in Chrome

  1. Oh no… just tried this and I must have done something wrong because Chrome still isn’t picking up my old bookmarks.. I was just trying to be organised! lol Any advice?

    • I know what you mean, that’s how it got me! Did you close Chrome before trying the restore method? That will sometimes hurt your ability to restore everything. Other than that, the only idea I have is to try and do it a second time (which I’m sure you’ve probably already done).

      Good luck! Let me know if you succeed!

  2. Greetings I found your site by mistake when i was searching Yahoo for this subject, I must point out your page is totally very helpful I also really like the theme, its wonderful!

  3. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!
    Now that I changed the backup file to just “bookmarks,” should I back up my bookmarks somewhere else? And if so, how? Thank you!!!!!

    • You’re welcome, Kelly! So glad that it helped out. To be honest, I haven’t backed up my bookmarks since then but I do know that under “Bookmark Manager > Organize” there is an option to export the bookmark list to an HTML file (as well as an option to import from an HTML file—if needed for later that seems to be how you could restore). I haven’t tested it myself but it should work.

    • Are you on a Mac machine? Finder is any window you would use to locate a file on your Mac. For most systems, it’s the icon from dashboard that looks like two faces. Good luck.

  4. Hi- I accidentally deleted a bookmark folder in chrome– I am following your steps but for some reason when I look under users>my name> I cannot find “library” or application support?– i tried searching “bookmarks.bak” in finder as well nothing comes up…

    i have mac OS X 10.7.3

    what am i doing wrong? thanks

    • Unfortunately, I’m not on the same system. If I am able to find any additional details, I will let you know. In the meantime, I would do some google research to see if application support folder has been moved in the newer OS X. Good luck!

  5. Hi,

    Thanks for this information. It worked but only to an extent. It only recovered about 10% of my old bookmarks : (

    • I’m sorry about that, Ben. Sometimes it won’t work due to some browser issues—usually if you’ve closed the browser before realizing there was an error.

      I wish Chrome would make it more obvious that you’re not just deleting from one area but actually permanently removing bookmarks.

  6. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!

  7. If you don’t see it under Chrome/Default that might be because you have multiple users on your computer. Do a CMD + F Finder search for “bookmarks”, or look in “Profile 1″, “Profile 2″. etc.

    • Unfortunately, I am only able to say what worked for me. It’s quite possible that updates to Chrome or Mac OS have changed things a bit since this was published. Good luck!

  8. THANK YOU. The method you described didn’t actually work. I found the files in a recent time machine backup, and followed the steps, but Chrome won’t recover the bookmarks. HOWEVER, I am able to open the bookmarks file in a text editor, and the web addresses are all listed. So I can at least put them back manually. PAITA, but it’s better than nothin. Fortunately this wasn’t my main folder.

  9. incredible! one question, and it’s probably a stupid one, but what do i do with the original bookmarks file i renamed? it’s just sitting on my desktop :P thank you soooo much!!!

    • I believe I deleted it but I am not 100% sure. The file isn’t huge so to be safe, you can always keep it in one of your safe folders.

  10. THAAAAAAANK YOU !!!! it didnt work at first but then i just read on the comments to try it twice and to close chrome first…voilá!bookmarks are back! YES !!!!

  11. FOR THOSE WHO ARE STUCK FINDING THIS LOCATION ON MAC:

    Go into a finder window.

    Press command,shift and G.

    in the box that appears type “~/Library”.

    This should take you the the typically hidden folder on newer MACs which you cannot find.

    Then follow steps as normal on this post.

    Good luck. Worked for me.

    • Yes the problem is that this library folder in users is a hidden folder so you need to unhide it using : defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool true in the terminal window. Do a search on google for this method.

      But thanks for the help!

    • Hey!
      Thank you so much. I saved a lot of my favorite musik on Youtube in a Bookmark folder which I somehow deleted by accident. And your first instructions did not work, but with this little tip it worked perfectly! Thank you so much!!
      Have a wonderful Day!
      Nina

  12. From Richell, who was kind enough to email us while we were squaring away the comments (please note, we have not tested this):

    for your awesome google chrome mac recovery help page..
    it is missing the below info..
    this is a repost from a google forum..
    very important for mac Lion users!
    Hope it helps.
    YOu rock, r.

    repost!

    This was driving me nuts too. I found the solution though, and was able to replace my bookmarks.

    You have to access the individual “user” library folder, not the computer’s library folder.

    But in Mac OS Lion, the “user” library folder is now hidden as a default.

    This is how you access it:

    All you need to do is hit Command+Shift+G from the Mac desktop (or Finder > Go > Go to Folder) and type in ~/Library to temporarily access the Library directory in the Finder.

    Once I did that, I finally found the Google/Chrome/Default folder with the bookmark file, and replaced it with my old one from my backups.

  13. It’s so nice to find people like you that use your own precious time in order to help others. (Especially nowadays when technology change so rapidly and companies don’t care anymore to help their users) Thank you SO MUCH!!!

  14. FYI, I am sorry not only it didn’t work for me, everything is gone now following the instructions.

    I deleted all the recent files. to my surprise, it made lots of the bookmark sites disappear. I did an undo, but nothing changed. Still I have some of them plus all the folders and organizations.

  15. more bad news, I lost everything now I can’t do “bookmark this page” now. it’s grey. I am wondering whether I should delete the whole chrome and reinstall it

  16. I got as far as the Google folder but nothing inside it about bookmarks or Chrome itself – just update files. Any advice?

    • I’m sorry—because there are so many different possibilities, I don’t have anything else to offer. Good luck!

  17. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! Had to find Library in Mountain Lion (by going to the Finder Window, Selecting GO at the top menu and then, pressing the Option key, because apparently, Apple hides this now), but once I found it, this was completely instrumental in the repair!!! And I would have lost my best and most used bookmarks folder through an accidental slip of one key, because, poor design…

  18. Just adding to all the thank you’s. Saved me a panic attack I could barely remember all I had saved. Amazing and you explained it in a simple and totally easy to understand way. kudos and thanks again.

  19. I’m totally screwed. Using ML 10.8.3 went to Application Support and NO Google Folder!!! Can’t find it anywhere on my system. I didn’t know what was going on when I opened Chrome on work computer and saw all my bookmarks, just like I had at home. I thought I was in the Twilight Zone!!! So of course I start erasing them all. So what do I find when I get home…That’s right, my collection of bookmarks is gone. I’ve been trying to find a solution but looks like I’ll just have to start over. I hate it when computers try to think for people, I never wanted to see my bookmarks at work anyway. Thanks anyway:)

  20. This is really helpful, it helped me before when my sister deleted my bookmarks about a month ago. She did it again, sigh, and when i was reached Application Support, Google wasn’t there. Any ideas?

  21. I was laughing out loud as I read the intro to this post… EXACTLY what was happening to me! My heart was pounding with despair until I followed your steps. No words can truly express my gratitude.

  22. Hi there, I don´t have a Google folder in my system, which is strange.
    I can go as far as “Macintosh HD > Users > Your user name >”
    the “Library > Application Support > Google > Chrome > Default” doesn´t appear.
    Any tips?
    Thank you

  23. Aahhhh!!! It’s not working for me! Tried it 3 times, closed chrome before the third time, still not coming back. i’ve opened my bookmark folder and I can see in the data that it includes my old bookmarks. HELP MEEE!!!!!!

  24. I don’t have a library account under users. In fact, I don’t have a Google account anywhere. I’m running OS X Mountain Lion version 10.8.4

    None of the guides to restoring deleted passwords has been any use to me because of this.

  25. The reason (I guess) why the restoration of bookmarks seems to work only part of the time is because it is interacting with the syncing of bookmarks. If you go out of Chrome, change the Bookmarks file, then go back into Chrome, sync re-syncs you to the bookmark file that you are trying to replace. If you go into Chrome Preferences , click on ‘advanced sync settings’, click on ‘sync everything’ in order to change it to ‘choose what to sync’ and then unselect ‘bookmarks’, Chrome will no longer unpick the change you make to the Bookmarks file from outside Chrome.

    I’ve used this to successfully roll back my Bookmarks file to an older copy held in my Time Machine (Apple’s backup system), but I haven’t tested it extensively.

  26. Good instructions but, unfortunately, I was not able to find the two files: 1) Bookmarks and 2) Bookmarks.bak.

    Using OS X 10.8.5 – In this system it appears the Library folder is not under the User’s folder. The path (> Application Support > Google > Chrome) is there but not the folders I needed.

    Do you have any other suggestions?

  27. OH NO! When I follow your instructions … ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/ … I cannot even See the “Chrome” order. Not to speak about the “Default” Order and the Bookmark files.
    Any ideas? Is that the end and can I burry all my bookmarks?? :(

  28. this is amazing!

    I have a question – the saved bookmark file now on my desktop, does this have to stay put here (or in docs) now?

    Also, tip for anyone with a mac on Lion or Mountain Lion; they have now hidden the Library folder automatically. You have to open finder and on the bar at the top of your screen click on ‘Go’ then click on the ‘Go to Folder’ option. In this windows search bar type ~/Library and it will come up. Took me ages to figure that bit out!

  29. Hi, These instructions worked for me until I reached the step “Application Support”. When I clicked on that all I see is an Adobe folder…..nothing about Google. What does this mean? I am SO lost without my Bookmarks!!!
    BTW: Using Mac Lion
    Thank you.

  30. I synced my bookmarks between my mac at my office and my home mac by using my google chrome account. On my last day at my job I signed out of google chrome and cleaned my saved passwords, etc, but I noticed my bookmarks were still visible. I was signed out of my account and couldn’t understand why the bookmarks had not been removed. So I checked I was signed out of chrome and deleted them. When I got home my bookmarks on my home mac were gone! I had over 90 bookmarks and I really don’t know how to restore them. I cannot go to my work computer as I no longer work at that job.

    I have done as per your instructions and I saw all my old bookmarks but they then blew up…

    Please help.

  31. For some reason, when i get to application support, and then get to chrome, no default button comes up. Please answer ASAP.
    Thanks!

  32. It’s a couple of years since you posted this, but this saved me lots of time in switching from one computer to another where the bookmarks would not sync or copy over using an HTML file. Thank you…still!

  33. Defeat seemed so near. Facing the despair of an empty bookmark bar, our Hero lay beaten in front of the insidious Google Chrome.

    “Striped of your memories and powers, you are useless!” mocked Google.

    Suddenly the hero reached out and gripped the snake-like search bar tail of his foe. Using the beasts own power, our hero summoned the unresting souls of the previously devoured.

    Emboldened with a new collective wisdom, our hero struck into the heart of the beast’s Application Support folder.

    Shrieking in pain, the beast violently lashed until it rebooted it’s composure. But it was too late. The memories and secrets flooded back to our Hero, but he only needed one. As the simple spell formed on our Hero’s lips the beast’s eyes widened in terror.

    “Make Safari my Default Browser,” chanted the Hero.

    The last hiss of Google Chrome echoed through the chamber, and the day was won.

  34. I think because I didn’t close Chrome before I tried the restore, it still didn’t recover my bookmarks! I swear I saw them for a minute when I opened it up again, but then they were gone! However, they are still on my iPhone. If I sync my phone will they delete off of there too? Or is it possible to sync the bookmarks on my phone to my computer? I would really appreciate your help, I had a loooot of bookmarks and now they’re all gone!

  35. If you’ve closed it …it wont work…BUT you can go to history and search there. Type in the name of the thing you are looking for…can slowly get them back that way. Bet I could think of.

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