How to switch from Pinboard to Stache for Mac and iOS

Stache devices
I’m a fairly happy user of Pinboard for most of my bookmarks, though I’m not thrilled with the website’s interface and I want multi-word tags1. I’ve been experimenting with Pinboard replacements, and a recent entry has been interesting so far: Stache for Mac and iPhone and iPad. It has Safari and Chrome extensions for the Mac, a bookmarklet for iOS, and an extension on the way for iOS 8. It has some other great features, but right now there might be a snag when moving your bookmarks from Pinboard to Stache.

Many people should just be able to visit Pinboard’s export page, use the HTML option, change the file extension to .html, then use File > Import in Stache and call it a day.

But I ran into a bug that Stache support explained is in Pinboard’s export file. They alerted Pinboard and are working on a fix on their end but, in the meantime, if you run into a problem where Stache imports nothing but still want to give it a shot, here’s a workaround:

  1. Open Pinboard’s export page on a Mac or PC
  2. Option-click (Windows: Alt-click) the HTML option to download your bookmarks
  3. Open the file you just downloaded in a code editor like Sublime Text or Coda 2
  4. Hold Option and go to File > Save As (Option changes that option from Save to Save As so you create a new file)
  5. Make sure “Unicode (UTF-8)” is selected in the Text Encoding option at the bottom of the save dialog, and save it
  6. Open Stache, use File > Import, and feed it the file you just created

That should get you on your way with Stache. If it doesn’t, contact support and attach your Pinboard export file, they’ll lend a hand.

For some, Stache might lack a few features from Pinboard, such as integration with third-party apps on iOS and other services for saving bookmarks. Thankfully, iOS 8 and its official support for extensions will solve that for me. I also like some of Stache’s other features, such as saving copies of entire webpages and searching them (for which Pinboard charges $25 per year), sync via iCloud (I’m tired of paying for all these tiny separate bits of cloud storage), and an optional background helper on Mac that can save pages even if Stache isn’t running.

I’m not positive Stache will replace Pinboard for me yet, but it’s really good so far and inexpensive. Give Stache for Mac and iPhone and iPad a look. If you buy them through these affiliate links, you’ll help my work here on Finer Things in Tech.

1. Pinboard’s developer seems to have a strong philosophical stance against them, so it looks like things won’t change anytime soon.