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sandinheart

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 13, 2022
6
0
So after updating to iOS15 from 14, iCloud tabs no longer work on my iPhone. I have tabs open on my Macs (Mojave 10.14 and BigSur 11.6) and iPad, but my iOS15 did not show any tabs.
However, my Macs can see the tabs opened on my iPhone, and handoff also works. Also my iPad on iOS13 can also see my iPhone tabs.
Also my Macs and iPads can ONLY see iCloud tabs on my iPhone, they cannot see each other's tabs (which used to be available).
Back in iOS14, I can see all tabs from all devices, close them or what not. This only occurs after updating to iOS15 and I have not updated any other devices.

I've tried the following:
  • On Mac: rm ~/Library/Safari/CloudTabs.*
  • On iPhone: in an empty tab, edit -> turn "iCloud Tabs" off and on
  • In iCloud settings, turn "Safari" off and on
  • Sign out iCloud and sign in
  • Restart Safari
  • Restart iPhone
  • Under safari -> Clear History and Website Data
  • Update iOS 15.4 to the latest 15.7
  • Switch from wifi to mobile data

Few things I've yet to try:
  • Update to iOS16 (this problem happens even before public beta)
  • Update to whatever the latest MacOS is
  • Reset the entire iPhone/Mac
These are more destructive things that I'm only going to try if they are the last resort.

Can anyone that has similar setups let me know if iCloud Tab works for you?

Edit:
Updated to iOS 16, reset iPhone and still not showing up. However, I can see the iCloud tabs from the OS before resetting. Duplicated devices with the same name <device_name>(2) showed up in my Mac's iCloud tabs.

Edit:
Updated to Monterey and my iOS 16 can see Monterey's tabs and vice versa. Mojave can also see Monterey's tab, but no one can see Mojave's tabs.
 
Last edited:

HMI

Contributor
May 23, 2012
854
332
I’m pretty sure your devices need to be on concurrent versions of their respective OSes to stay in sync.
You are still using Mojave and Big Sur on your Mac(s). This is why you could stay in sync while using iOS14 and iPadOS13. But, when you updated to iOS15 (and did not also update your mac(s)), then that sync broke. They are no longer concurrent versions.

You either need to update your Mac’s to the current version (Monterey->Ventura), or buy a new Mac that comes with Monterey->Ventura.* Then you should see the sync reappear magically.

*Ventura is technically not released yet, but since you updated to iOS16, you’ll also want to update to Ventura when it is released in October sometime.

**You generally want to update all your devices at the same time to avoid these little issues. If one of your devices is no longer supported on a newer OS, then you‘ll want to buy a new device (Within 1 or 2 years). Apple still continues to support devices with security updates for another 1 or 2 years, but some features may not work until you buy a new device with the newest OS.

I hope this helps.
 

sandinheart

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 13, 2022
6
0
I’m pretty sure your devices need to be on concurrent versions of their respective OSes to stay in sync.
You are still using Mojave and Big Sur on your Mac(s). This is why you could stay in sync while using iOS14 and iPadOS13. But, when you updated to iOS15 (and did not also update your mac(s)), then that sync broke. They are no longer concurrent versions.

You either need to update your Mac’s to the current version (Monterey->Ventura), or buy a new Mac that comes with Monterey->Ventura.* Then you should see the sync reappear magically.

*Ventura is technically not released yet, but since you updated to iOS16, you’ll also want to update to Ventura when it is released in October sometime.

**You generally want to update all your devices at the same time to avoid these little issues. If one of your devices is no longer supported on a newer OS, then you‘ll want to buy a new device (Within 1 or 2 years). Apple still continues to support devices with security updates for another 1 or 2 years, but some features may not work until you buy a new device with the newest OS.

I hope this helps.

Fair enough, I did update to Monterey and yes the tabs showed up. It showed up in Mojave too, which is weird that it only works one way.
 

FeliApple

macrumors 68040
Apr 8, 2015
3,549
1,994
I’m pretty sure your devices need to be on concurrent versions of their respective OSes to stay in sync.
You are still using Mojave and Big Sur on your Mac(s). This is why you could stay in sync while using iOS14 and iPadOS13. But, when you updated to iOS15 (and did not also update your mac(s)), then that sync broke. They are no longer concurrent versions.

You either need to update your Mac’s to the current version (Monterey->Ventura), or buy a new Mac that comes with Monterey->Ventura.* Then you should see the sync reappear magically.

*Ventura is technically not released yet, but since you updated to iOS16, you’ll also want to update to Ventura when it is released in October sometime.

**You generally want to update all your devices at the same time to avoid these little issues. If one of your devices is no longer supported on a newer OS, then you‘ll want to buy a new device (Within 1 or 2 years). Apple still continues to support devices with security updates for another 1 or 2 years, but some features may not work until you buy a new device with the newest OS.

I hope this helps.
Thanks, it’s a shame. I checked, and it appears that iOS 12 is the cutoff.
from Apple: “iCloud Tabs works between devices running iOS 13 or iPadOS or later and macOS Mojave 10.14.4 or later, or between devices running iOS 12 or earlier and macOS Mojave 10.14.3 or earlier.“

I have three iOS devices I wanted to sync: two on iOS 12, one on iPadOS 15. The iOS 12 devices see each other’s tabs, the iPadOS 15 sees nothing, and its tabs also aren’t seen by the two iOS 12 devices. I guess it just doesn’t work if the iOS versions don’t match.
 

sandinheart

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 13, 2022
6
0
Thanks, it’s a shame. I checked, and it appears that iOS 12 is the cutoff.
from Apple: “iCloud Tabs works between devices running iOS 13 or iPadOS or later and macOS Mojave 10.14.4 or later, or between devices running iOS 12 or earlier and macOS Mojave 10.14.3 or earlier.“

I have three iOS devices I wanted to sync: two on iOS 12, one on iPadOS 15. The iOS 12 devices see each other’s tabs, the iPadOS 15 sees nothing, and its tabs also aren’t seen by the two iOS 12 devices. I guess it just doesn’t work if the iOS versions don’t match.

Funny enough, Apple's website for iCloud tabs still shows a screenshot of the UI before iOS 15. https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT202530

After trying so many things, I believe the new tab grouping feature introduced in iOS 15 (and I guess Monterey/BigSur?) broke all previous Safari's. Because that's roughly when it stops working.

That's why I hate updates, it takes features away/changes features silently, breaks things without the ability to revert and pushes unwanted features.
 

FeliApple

macrumors 68040
Apr 8, 2015
3,549
1,994
Funny enough, Apple's website for iCloud tabs still shows a screenshot of the UI before iOS 15. https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT202530

After trying so many things, I believe the new tab grouping feature introduced in iOS 15 (and I guess Monterey/BigSur?) broke all previous Safari's. Because that's roughly when it stops working.

That's why I hate updates, it takes features away/changes features silently, breaks things without the ability to revert and pushes unwanted features.
I haven’t had a device on iOS 13, But you confirmed it works. Maybe it broke on Mojave because of 10.14.4’s requirement (you mentioned 10.14), but yeah, compatibility between different versions has always been weird. You shouldn’t have been able to see them on iOS 14 if I am reading that correctly, I don’t know why you could.

I tried a shared note on iPadOS 15 and my devices on iOS 12 see nothing (Apple tells you it won’t be visible), but weirdly enough, I got the Notes app’s notification when the other person in the note edited it, and I was able to see it. Half of it said “iOS version not supported”, but when I tapped on the notification I could see it.

Like always, new features don’t work on old versions (which is normal), but sometimes they work unexpectedly (like in your case. Why could you see them on iOS 14? Why couldn’t you see them on iOS 15? Supposedly it was never compatible), or in mine (I got the notification and accessed a note I shouldn’t have been able to).

Either everything is on the same iOS/iPadOS/MacOS version or things start acting weirdly. I don’t update anything (as long as I can), and I’ve had my fair share of compatibility issues, especially when buying new devices and keeping older ones, with severely out of date OS versions.
 

sandinheart

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 13, 2022
6
0
Why could you see them on iOS 14?

I guess that iOS 14 doesn't have the tab grouping thing, and neither does Mojave, so they are compatible.

I cannot pinpoint the exact event that stopped it from working. I might have updated Safari in Mojave that cause it to be incompatible. But I remember noticing it after buying a new iPhone that came pre-installed with 15.4. My previous phone was on 14. Maybe I used the "transfer data" feature to transfer everything from my iOS 14 phone to 15, but the Safari tab grouping messed up because there were no such feature before? I noticed a blank tab group after the transfer on my new phone.

I don't have an iOS 14 device to test it out now, but if there is a way to emulate that on a Mac then I'd be happy to test my theory.

A lot of iCloud features still work like handoff, favourites and what not, just not iCloud tabs.
 
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