Disable Safari iCloud features

Yesterday I had an issue using The Telegraph website, subdomain pages didn’t recognise active login sessions and hid parts of the content offering me to sign in. iOS Safari lacks some of the great Mac features. For instance, it doesn’t allow cache management per domain basis, it only has the option to remove all cache at once. After I nuked all the caches it fixed my issue but something unexpected happened. I started to notice that Safari auto-fill stopped working on my Mac. Turns out that clearing website data on my iPhone removed all auto-complete suggestions from my Mac. I didn’t expect this and for me, it felt like a bug, not a feature.

Naturally, I disabled iCloud toggle for Safari on my Mac. Previously I only had it off on my work laptop. I can’t see any benefits to keeping it enabled on my personal Mac either.

I also found using shared history overbearing. When looking into history, I am always looking into websites I open on a current device. Disabling iCloud for Safari also made it better.

You can disable iCloud for Safari by opening System Settings, clicking on your avatar and then iCloud, then “Show More Apps…”, and then you can turn the Safari toggle off.

Something to keep in mind, iCloud Tabs won’t work. Unlike Chrome, Safari doesn’t sync tabs, which I like. It does show open tabs from other devices, it used to be more accessible with a button, now iCloud tabs are a section on the Safari start page.

I think it is good that Apple offers this setting, and it is also available for the rest of the apps but there’s room for improvement. As mentioned many times by Michael Tsai, when you sign in to iCloud for the first time, it enables all the services by default. When considering the use case using work Mac, what you want by default is everything to be disabled, and then granting access to the only things you want to sync. I wish there was an extra confirmation step to make these settings more discoverable and help avoid personal files downloading into work Macs.