On iPhone iOS 10 Safari how do you bulk erase ALL bookmarks not in a subfolder w/o having to reset the whole phone?

I'm using Safari on the iPhone 6 with iOS 10 and am looking for a way to erase ALL bookmarks (and only the bookmarks) that are not in a subfolder, without having to reset the whole phone, or having to delete or reset the rest of the data on the iPhone or other applications. Just Safari.

Over the past few years I evidently accumulated several thousand bookmarks on Safari on my iPhone.  I never created any folders, so they are all directly in the top level "Favorites".

I can find no buttons in Safari to bulk move them all into a subfolder or delete them, the only way I have found so far is to go into edit mode and individually delete each one by tapping the red minus sign, which takes forever.  Especially if you have like 8000 bookmarks.  WTF.

I looked it up on the Web and all I'm seeing are older threads saying that to clear all your bookmarks in bulk, you have to reset the data for your entire iPhone.  That would be a nightmare, as I have settings and data for hundreds of other apps and e-mail that I cannot afford to lose or redo. I don't have the countless hours that would be needed to back up my phone, wipe it, and then restore it.

I also found a couple of 3rd party tools that claimed to be able to wipe out the bookmarks, but in the details they all seem to be variants of the above wiping out the phone, the only difference being that these tools just use their own method to back up and restore the phone - it's still the same time consuming and invasive kludge.

As a workaround I tried turning on iCloud to sync iOS Safari bookmarks to the browsers on my Windows 10 PC, hoping if I then delete them on the PC, that iCloud will delete them from Safari on my iPhone.

I turned on iCloud syncing for Safari on my iPhone, and I turned on iCloud syncing for my browser on my PC (I actually tried it for several browsers - IE, Chrome AND Firefox).

After a few days(!) all the bookmarks from my iPhone eventually appeared in the bookmarks on my PC, but when then tried deleting or editing the bookmarks in my browsers, the changes did NOT appear on the iPhone.

Rather, any changes I made to the bookmarks on my PC were overwritten by what's on the iPhone the next time iCloud synced.  In fact, I started to see many duplicates appearing in my PC's bookmarks, and the folders and bookmarks were all out of order. 

What's more, any date information that was preserved for each bookmark on my PC was reset to the date/time of sync.  I often go to my Favorites folder in Windows and sort by Date Modified, so now that is gone.  WTF.

But back to the main question, how do you bulk clear out all the bookmarks in Safari on the iPhone without affecting any other apps or settings on the device?  It would be nice if Apple supported the concept of a "Select All" button in iOS (this would be useful in lots of places!)

As is I am ready to just quit using Safari and find another browser (alas not Chrome because it just crashes constantly since iOS 10). 

Any help appreciated.


iceng4 months ago

One at a time is all I know how to do...