How to Back Up iBooks PDFs

Kelly Heffner Wilkerson

Categories: iTunes, iPhone | View Comments

Use Transfer Purchases in iTunes to copy your PDFs saved to iBooks to your computer.

I do some serious PDF hoarding in the iBooks app on my iPhone. Calendars, e-books, flyers, things I loved reading and want to read again, things I want to love reading someday in the future... it's all there in a flurry of mismatched PDF previews. It would be pretty sad to lose all my PDFs from iBooks, so today's blog post is about how to backup PDFs from iBooks.

Back in the day (circa 2014), PDF files saved to iBooks were part of a normal iPhone backup, but that is no longer the case. Since PDF files can now be synced to iBooks on your iOS device, they're now categorized as "synced stuff" and "synced stuff" doesn't get backed up. (If that is an interesting sentence to you, you may enjoy this post about iTunes sync vs iTunes backup.) Let me make sure I state this clearly: PDFs in iBooks are NOT backed up as part of an iPhone backup in iTunes. If you don't believe me, here's a reference :).

How to Back Up iBooks PDFs

  1. Plug your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch in to your computer.
  2. Open iTunes.
  3. Open the "File" menu, select Devices -> Transfer Purchases from Your iPhone's Name.

How to Verify the iBooks are Saved on Your Computer

  1. Click on the iPhone icon in the upper left corner of iTunes to look at the device specific info.
  2. Click on "Books" in the left panel under "Settings".
  3. See if all of your PDFs are now in that "Books" section.

Press the iPhone button in the upper left corner of iTunes to see your iPhone sync settings.

A few notes:

  • If you're using iTunes on Windows, and can't find the File menu, try pressing Ctrl+B on your keyboard to un-hide it. (The menu is no longer hidden on iTunes 12.4 and higher.)

  • If you're on Mac, you may need to open the iBooks app on your Mac once and login there. I needed to do this back in 2015, but I haven't gotten a new computer and needed to repeat the experiment again yet.

  • A few people told me that the PDFs didn't transfer until doing a second transfer purchases. So definitely verify the PDFs copied, and if not, try try again.

  • If you use iBooks with iCloud drive, the PDFs that are stored in iCloud drive do not transfer to your computer. We've also seen some reports (see the comments below) that the PDFs in iCloud drive may be mislabled in your iBooks app, showing they're not stored in iCloud Drive, when they really are. Update June 29, 2017 see the section below about accessing the PDFs downloaded from iCloud on macOS Sierra and higher.

Where are My iBooks PDFs Stored on my Computer?

On Windows, the iBooks PDF files copied to your iTunes by doing Transfer Purchases are stored in your computer user's account folder, alongside your iTunes music. Here's how to find your iBooks PDFs on your Windows computer:

  • Go into your user account's Music folder. (On Windows 10, this would show up under This PC -> Music.)
  • Open the folders iTunes -> iTunes Media -> Books.
  • You should see your PDFs in this folder.

On Mac, the iBooks PDFs copied by doing Transfer Purchases are tucked away in data for the iBooks Mac App. Here's how to find your iBooks PDFs on your Mac:

  • Open Finder, and select the "Go" menu at the top of the screen. Hold the Option key (or Shift + Option on latest Sierra builds), and select the "Library" menu option from the Go menu. (On OSX Lion and above, Library will only appear with the Option key held.)
  • From Library, navigate to Containers -> com.apple.BKAgentService -> Data -> Documents -> iBooks -> Books.
  • You should see your PDFs in this folder.

iBooks PDFs Stored on iCloud Drive

On macOS Sierra and higher, if you've signed into the macOS iBooks app, your PDFs are actually available through the iCloud Drive section of your "Mobile Documents" folder. (It's likely already there before you ever open the iBooks app, as long as you've signed in to your iCloud account on your Mac.)

First, we need to make sure you've got iBooks turned on for your iCloud drive documents on your Mac.

  1. From the Apple menu at the top of the screen, select System Preferences.
  2. Select iCloud in System Preferences.
  3. Next to iCloud Drive, press the "Options..." button.
  4. Ensure the iBooks checkbox is checked.

iCloud preferences macOS Sierra

Now, the iCloud Drive container for iBooks doesn't normally show up in Finder, so we have to manually open it in Finder using Terminal.

  1. In the Spotlight search in the upper right corner of the screen, type terminal and press enter to open the Terminal app. Using spotlight to open Terminal
  2. In the resulting boring prompt that opens, copy and paste in this bit of text and press return/enter: open ~/Library/Mobile\ Documents/iCloud~com~apple~iBooks

    Opening iBooks PDF container in Finder using Terminal
  3. A Finder window should pop open with your iBooks pdfs, some of which may have a cloud download icon by them. This indicates that the file itself hasn't been downloaded from iCloud yet. You can click on the cloud download icon to download the PDF. If there are multiple PDFs you want to download, hold the Command key and select the not-downloaded files; then right click on one of the selected files and select "Download".
  4. Don't mess too much with the contents of this iCloud Drive container; that seems unwise. If you want copies of your PDFs to muck around with, copy and paste them elsewhere on your computer in Finder.

Related topics from our FAQ:


55 Comments



sposten

sposten September 9, 2018

Have there been any changes to this lately? We have an old iPad full of books that we are cloning to a new iPad. We want to include the pdfs onto the new device, but the 'transfer purchases' doesnt seem to do anything with just regular unlicensed documents. How can we get them from the old one to the new one, any idea?

Kelly HW

Kelly HW September 9, 2018

Hi Sposten, What version of iOS is running on the old iPad? If it's new enough iOS to have iCloud, if you go into your iCloud settings, is iBooks syncing enabled?

sposten

sposten September 9, 2018

We got it I think. This is an environment where iCloud would not be a solution tho =)

sposten

sposten September 9, 2018

OK, we still haven't gotten it. We can see the pdf's in the book list under the device, but there is no way to get those books onto our laptop. Can't drag em, can't copy and paste, nothing.

As I said, iCloud is not allowed.

Thanks for any insight!

Kelly HW

Kelly HW September 9, 2018

I acknowledge you said that iCloud is not a solution, but I still need to ask if iCloud is already on for iBooks, since then that would be a reason that transfer purchases isn't working.

What version of iOS is running on the iPad?

sposten

sposten September 9, 2018

Thanks tho!

sposten

sposten September 9, 2018

Never mind, got it!

Chris

Chris August 8, 2018

This was driving me crazy! Thank you so much, you solved my problem!
This worked fantastic.
The only suggestion I have is to amend the title and info to reflect that this will also back up epub files that weren't purchased from Apple, they treat them like pdfs as well.

star-affinity

star-affinity April 4, 2018

Can someone confirm that a backup of an iOS device to iCloud also includes as backup of the PDFs in iBooks (compared to an iOS backup in iTunes which does not)?

Kelly HW

Kelly HW April 4, 2018

I cannot confirm, but I assume it does not, but the wording on the Apple Support page isn't very helpful on the topic (https://support.apple.com/e... I'd doubly assume not if you have iCloud iBook PDF syncing on.

If you end up contacting Apple Support and get an answer, definitely let us know!

star-affinity

star-affinity April 4, 2018

Interesting article you've got here. I just noticed all the various PDFs I had in iBooks sorted in various custom created Collections are gone. I have no idea why, but I can't see them in any of my iOS devices nor my Mac. The Collections I made (on the left hand side in the iBooks app on macOS) are there, but they are all empty. It's like they've been purged from my iCloud account and therefore cannot be seen in iBooks on any of my devices, which used to work fine.

No idea where to start since I didn't think of those PDFs not being backed up when doing an iOS backup, and if they aren't all synced to my local Mac drive they aren't backed up via that either. Feels like the next step is calling Apple and asking if they have ant suggestions – feels like we should be able to copy/backup what we have stored in iCloud locally if it can't be fully trusted.

Backup the cloud locally – sounds a bit backwards, doesn't it? :-/

Medina

Medina January 1, 2018

This seems to need an update for 12.7 for sure. One thing I've seem to run into is that if I want my own ebooks on the device, I need to set it to 'manually manage music and videos'. This makes it so I have to drag and drop all of my music instead of checking album, playlist, or artist checkboxes and syncing. The workaround is to uncheck 'manually manage', sync music, recheck 'manually manage' then redo all the books again. So it's a case of manually rebuilding music or manually rebuilding ebooks each time.

xx_y# 112

xx_y# 112 December 12, 2017

Hi Kelly, Thanks for instructions. No glue on my side how iBooks can be synced to iCloud as there is no iBooks app in iCloud. Maybe to iDrive? Here are iOS 11.2 and iTunes 12.7.2 for Windows used. Me refrains from using iCloud generally, that since years. Lot of PDFs in iOS' iBooks which had been generated by exporting contents from other apps to iBooks. Unfortunately your procedure to backup PDFs to iTunes does not work here. Transferring purchases does not result in any reasonable file been stored to C:\Users\UserName\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media. Purchase transfer was initiated multiple times. As for iOS side and the iCloud settings the iBooks app is not listed in apps list at all. However if to go to iBooks on apps list in Settings root level sync is disabled as my generic refrain from syncing and backing up to iCloud as mentioned in beginning. Windows iTunes is authorized to all Apple IDs me uses on iOS. Any idea?
All my iCloud apps are pretty empty, free of data, incl. iDrive except for few dummy items saved by myself.

xx_y# 112

xx_y# 112 December 12, 2017

Well as for this case and point of time it is iTunes of version 12.7 which seems to be root reason.

Kelly HW

Kelly HW December 12, 2017

Hmm - I need to check to see if 12.7 stops transferring the (non iCloud synced) iBooks. That would indeed be terrible.

Re: "As for iOS side and the iCloud settings the iBooks app is not listed in apps list at all." iBooks should be right below iCloud Drive, just above the third party apps. It's worth double-checking whether or not it is on. (No need to change it!)

kmay4747

kmay4747 November 11, 2017

Hi Kelly, thank you for this article. I synced my iBooks but I can't find the files on my computer. I don't have an "iTunes Media" folder anywhere, and searching for ibooks yields nothing. Are the PDFs hidden somewhere or did they not transfer at all? If I sync my music will it erase my iBooks from my phone?

Kelly HW

Kelly HW November 11, 2017

Hi Karen-

Are you on Mac or Windows?

Also, do you have iCloud iBooks syncing turned on? (In Settings app > Your Name (Apple ID, iCloud...) > iCloud, scroll down, is the switch for iBooks on or off?) No need to change this setting, just trying to get the gist of your specific setup.

kmay4747

kmay4747 November 11, 2017

Thanks Kelly! I'm on Windows, and don't use iCloud for backups, but I could, if that's the only guarantee! I checked and the setting for ibooks is currently off.

Kelly HW

Kelly HW December 12, 2017

Hi again Karen!

No need to change the iCloud setting (and on Windows, it won't help our situaiton! ;))

Do you have a Music folder in "This PC" or your user account files? (The specific places to check are dependent on the version of Windows.) If so, inside of Music is there an iTunes subfolder?

Do you see the books in iTunes (from the "How to Verify the iBooks are Saved on Your Computer" section in the article?)

Greg P.

Greg P. November 11, 2017

I'm also struggling to get a whole bunch of PDF's off my iPad and onto a Windows 10 PC. The iPad has never been backed up to iCloud. It has been backed up to my primary PC multiple times. At one point, I think I also backed it up to a laptop that no longer exists.

I have 306 PDF's and 2 ePub books on the iPad. All were downloaded from the internet and saved in iBooks for reading. Nothing purchased from the iBooks store.

When I hook my iPad the PC, iTunes shows the device. If I click on the "Books" item, I get a list of 308 books. All are checked by default. I have executed "transfer all purchases" multiple times.

When I look on the PC for the books, I look in the iTunes library under iTune Media, Books. What I have there is 2 epub books and 130 pdfs. The bulk of the PDF's are not being backed up to the iTunes library. It looks like that process stopped at some point. Not sure why.

When I select one of the PDF's in iBooks on the iPad, and try to export it, all I'm offered is email or print. I don't want to have to email myself 200 plus documents.

Is there any software available that would allow me to extract these or copy these in bulk from the iPad to the PC?

Kelly HW

Kelly HW November 11, 2017

Hi Greg,

I want to see how one setting on your iPad is set before I make suggestions. (Please don't change the setting, I just want to verify which scenario we're working with.) In Settings app > Your Name (Apple ID, iCloud...) > iCloud, scroll down, is the switch for iBooks on or off?

Greg P.

Greg P. November 11, 2017

I'm not quite sure where you want me to look. On the iPad, under Settings, I see a menu item for iCloud (my apple id underneath in parentheses). Under that menu item, the iCloud drive is shut off. I don't see any entries for iBooks.

Directly under settings, there is an iBook menu. I notice that 'Sync Collections' is not checked. Could that be the problem?

Kelly HW

Kelly HW November 11, 2017

I'm not sure yet - just trying to assess the situation :) - please don't change settings yet. What version of iOS is on the iPad?

Greg P.

Greg P. November 11, 2017

ios 9.3.5 Supposedly up to date. (This is an older ipad)

Greg P.

Greg P. November 11, 2017

Just an update - I bought a solution to my problem. I purchased a product called "iMazing". Wasn't cheap ($40), but it just worked: connect the iPad, run a backup, click on the iBooks section. Then select and export the contents of iBooks. 308 files, about 770 Mb, transferred cleanly to a directory on my PC in a matter of a couple of minutes. It will do the same thing for notes, contacts, etc. Since I also have an iPod Touch, and my wife has an iPhone, I guess I can justify the cost of having a better solution than what Apple seems to provide.

trevor-b

trevor-b November 11, 2017

Hi Kelly, I have been tearing my hair out trying to resolve this issue. Like David, I have numerous epub books. Typically they were downloaded onto my iPad, then stored in iBooks. They synced with my Mac via iCloud without a hitch. After upgrading to an iPad Pro, almost all of the pub pdf books were missing on my Mac. Numerous attempts to re-sync them via iCloud were unsuccessful. Turning settings off then on, re-botting iPad and Mac, re-syncing iCloud numerous times, all failed to resolve the problem. Multiple searches on the Apple Support also failed to find a solution. UNTIL I read your blog above. THANKYOU so much. Problem solved.

davidgoldberger

davidgoldberger November 11, 2017

Ok iCloud backups and iBooks and syncing......what a nightmare! Ok I’ll lay it out...as a longtime iPhone user who converted to android then back(why....only some of the time!!!) it makes no sense but here it goes.
PDF files that you come across and download via the device( either in safari or any third part app or browser) and save to iBooks WILL be backed up via iCloud backup. When you restore, get a new iPhone or downgrade iOS or upgrade these will appear with the cloud with arrow in it.
SYNCED pdf files that you added when you plugged your iPhone into your pc used iTunes to transfer them onto the phone will not re appear when you do a restore from iCloud backup. I have no idea why iCloud backup does not include these (maybe I’m doing something wrong but I doubt it) so you will have to re sync these when you restore, get a new phone etc.
ALSO THIRD PARTY EPUB FILES!!! The same goes for these. I had an entire library of downloaded ePub files on my laptop pc. I add these to iBooks via syncing them and they read exactly the same as ones purchased off the iBooks iTunes Store however, these also do not get backed up by iCloud backup. If you buy the ePub in the iBooks store or purchase free ones these do get backed up. What sense does any of this make?! The world will never know. So apple being very user friendly and simple enough for grandma to email web browse and text basically requires people in my situation with a large pdf library and ePub file library on my laptop to continues to have to sync with windows iTunes( I don’t think it totally deserves the bad rep it gets however it’s far from perfect and I see where people get confused using it) and be basically hooked to that computer. I cannot sync then back up those files!!!
I hope this clarifies something for someone. However, I failed to mention whether this works or doesn’t work with an iTunes backup. Can someone try? I always use iCloud backups so maybe apple needs to clarify this as a differentiation between the backups. Thanks

Kelly HW

Kelly HW November 11, 2017

Hi David,

Thanks for your additions to this post! I want to try to refine a bit of what you've written, in our continual effort to really pin down the behaviors of iCloud and iTunes! :)

The iCloud download arrow for the PDFs sound like you have iCloud SYNCING (not iTunes syncing) for iBooks turned on - not the PDFs being put into the iCloud backup.

Correct that the PDF files transferred to iTunes will not show up after a restore - as a general rule, the iOS backups (iCloud or iTunes) don't included synced (iCloud synced or iTunes synced) items. (I picture this as the "real home" of a synced item being its synced source, so no need to back it up from the iPhone, since the iPhone isn't it's "real source". But that's just my brain's way of coping ;))

Purchased iBooks (anything from the store) isn't so much backed up, as re-downloaded from the store on your new device.

"However, I failed to mention whether this works or doesn’t work with an iTunes backup. Can someone try?" --> Yes, nothing of note for iBooks is stored in the backup :) Even if you do NONE of the syncing options, your PDFs/ebooks aren't stored in the backup. As I mentioned in the post, they used to be in the backup, but were taken out a few years ago.

davidgoldberger

davidgoldberger November 11, 2017

I think I made a mistake and stated non iTunes Store ePub are NOT backed up in an iCloud backup restore. I meant to say they are BUT when you restore them go as far as to add one ePub book via iTunes syncing, they all disappear aside from that one ePub book you just synced. In other words you will have to resync all the other non iTunes Store iBooks as well. It takes time to wrap your head around how this works but all in all, it does keep your stuff safe albeit different that normal logical ways. If apple would clearly state this it would help. They do not and it can lead to often frustrating experiences and trial and error with iTunes.

davidgoldberger

davidgoldberger November 11, 2017

Kelly,
Ahhh what I do on Friday nights now that I have two young children!! Ok so I was messing around with my non iBook purchased ePub library 😎, and found a way for iBooks to back them up via iCloud instead of having to reaync them with iTunes on your pc or laptop or Mac. Well initially you need your ePub Files to be on you pc or laptop but anyways here it goes.
Connect your iPhone with its amazing file sharing capabilities 😤 to iTunes. Find the file sharing tab located when you tap the little iPhone picture in the top left. It will be on the left most people know where this is. Click on file sharing. Then it will bring up the list of apps you have installed that are capable of this. ( make sure you have pages installed or anything similar. I’ll get to this later as it utilizes iOS 11’s Files app and the “on my iPhone section” of that, “iCloud Drive “ section may work i dunno yet). Go to the folder on your pc you have the .epubs in and drag them over (or hit add file on iTunes in the file sharing section after you clicked on the app you want to add the file to) to iTunes and voila the ePub is now on your phone. Now go on the phone and open the app you just dragged the .epub into. If you have iOS 11, go to the Files app and open the “on my iPhone” folder and the hit the pages or numbers or any other Apple made software folder and you will see the .epub you dragged. Tap the ePub and voila it opens in iBooks with the option to upload to iCloud!!! Now I don’t need iTunes for windows for this anymore!!! The only I need to for now is my custom ringtones.......

Dan Z

Dan Z October 10, 2017

Kelly, this problem happened during the latest updates and upgrades. I backed up my iPhone 7 to iTunes to restore on iPhone 8. Every book on phone and all PDFs did not backup. I encrypt so I normally don’t loose anything. I do this every year for iPhone and iPad upgrades. I haven’t backed up to icloud for privacy and trust confidence, I’ve always did it on updated window iTunes and updated iPhones. I called Apple, the tech said iTunes or iCloud backups were never designed to backup iBooks data. I said in the pass, no problems. I’ve used iPhones since they were born. Used windows phone prior and did many updates/upgrades with drag and drop. Still looking for a fix. I feel it’s a flaw in the iOS. I used the public beta program since the start of it. I’ve sent feedback to Apple. Question, how do you set up your iPhone to backup to iCloud as well as iTunes without loss of data. That probably is a fix. I have an iPhone that still contains all the data and tried to save iBooks to iCloud, not a choice. I’m not a techy and not a quitter so I’m looking for a fix. Back when the encryption option first appeared, as long as you used the password protected encrypt, everything transferred. Any new insights

Kelly HW

Kelly HW October 10, 2017

Hi Dan!

What version of iOS is on the old iPhone? I'm glad you still have the previous device with the data on it :)!

The iBooks PDFs did in fact used to get backed up, but they haven't been in the last year or two. (I can't remember the exact cutoff where they took them out.)

We can either get the books/pdfs transferred into your iTunes library, or into your iCloud library (but not both), but it depends on the iOS version of the old device which options we have available.

Justin Tang

Justin Tang June 6, 2017

I am unable to locate the pdfs on my phone in itunes even after transferring purchases. Can anyone help.

Kelly HW

Kelly HW June 6, 2017

Hi Justin,

If you go into the Settings app on your iPhone > tap the Apple ID section at the top > tap iCloud > scroll down a bit, is iBooks currently on or off? (No need to change it right now, and we don't want to accidentally delete anything!)

Justin Tang

Justin Tang June 6, 2017

Hi Kelly,

I have tried it with the iBook option on as well as off.

I have followed the steps on this tutorial to no avail. In fact, I have never seen any pdfs on iTunes or any 3rd party transfer app.

Apple should really fix this - this is one clear advantage that android has over Apple.

Thank you!

Dennis George

Dennis George June 6, 2017

Kelly,
I followed this procedure:

"On Windows, the iBooks PDF files copied to your iTunes by doing Transfer Purchases are stored in your computer user's account folder, alongside your iTunes music. Here's how to find your iBooks PDFs on your Windows computer:

Go into your user account's Music folder. (On Windows 10, this would show up under This PC -> Music.)
Open the folders iTunes -> iTunes Media -> Books.
You should see your PDFs in this folder."

The good news, the PDF files are there! The bad news, they are not updated after I perform a backup of my iPad to iTunes and iCloud. I'm using the latest versions of IOS and iTunes with a Widows 7 PC. Any ideas?

Kelly HW

Kelly HW June 6, 2017

Hi Dennis,

If you go into the Settings app on your iPhone > tap the Apple ID section at the top > tap iCloud > scroll down a bit, is iBooks currently on or off? (No need to change it right now, and we don't want to accidentally delete anything!)

If iCloud is enabled for iBooks now, the new PDFs wouldn't be transferred. If iCloud is not enabled for iBooks, then doing another transfer purchases from the File menu (rather than a backup) should update the PDFs.

Dennis George

Dennis George June 6, 2017

iBooks was was enabled for iCloud. I disabled it, ran "transfer purchases". All the PDF's from my ipad disappeared! I went back and re enabled iBooks for iCloud, ran "transfer purchases" again. All the PDF's reloaded to my iPad. ( I had all the PDF's backed up on another iPad, just in case they disappeared. I'm not that stupid.)

Kelly HW

Kelly HW June 6, 2017

Ok - sounds like the PDFs are already stored on iCloud Drive, which sadly means they're no longer going to transfer over on a Transfer Purchases. It's on my list to explore a way to pull them from iCloud drive.

Dennis George

Dennis George June 6, 2017

Perhaps I should backup the iPad to iTunes prior to backing up to iCloud?

Martin

Martin February 2, 2018

Hi Kelly, any progress on this issue? Hate to have to find over 200 PDF files again. They are in iCloud but not accessible from anywhere. Can only view them on my iPad and iPhone, but cannot transfer them to my PC. Guess only emailing them one-by-one, unless you found a fix for this issue. Thanks!

Monica J

Monica J April 4, 2017

I'm having similar problems to Ian and Ben.
After some looking around, I can confirm that my pdfs and even not-from-apple epub files are in the icloud backup, but I can't figure out how to access that back up from anything other than the ipad I downloaded them on to. I have basically all of my texts for my classes on the ipad (since it's what I take to school) (which actually means they're...somewhere in icloud, since they vanish if I turn off icloud for books for a moment) and I want to be able to back them up to my desktop. However, I can't seem to find any way to get to them. There's a bunch, and I'd really rather not email each one, individually, to myself, then download each attachment from each email. It's looking like that's my only option right now though.

any thoughts?
My ipad is running 10.3.1 and is up to date.
I have a mac running 10.9.5, which is already a little much for this old desktop's processing power (so i'd prefer not to need to update the ios).

Kelly HW

Kelly HW April 4, 2017

Hi Monica,

I just set up a scenario similar to yours (iOS 10.3.1, iCloud Drive enabled for iBooks, and only access to a Mac running Mavericks). I don't have an answer yet, but I definitely see the conundrum that there's no easy way to get to the set of actual PDF files without Yosemite or higher. iBooks files are filtered out of the iCloud drive view on iCloud.com. I don't have an answer yet, but I wanted to let you know it's on my mind this weekend!

Monica J

Monica J April 4, 2017

I gave up, and upgraded to Sierra. It's been slower, but not too bad so far. Thanks for thinking about it, though.

Ian G

Ian G February 2, 2017

I'm having the same problem as Ben. It's unbelievably frustrating, I've a whole lot of PDFs I've downloaded from the internet in iBooks, and they seem to be trapped there.

Won't go onto iTunes (on my PC - I don't have a Mac), can't access them from iCloud Drive, can't export them in any way other than printing. HELP!!!!

Kelly HW

Kelly HW February 2, 2017

Yikes! Ok I am loading some new pdfs on to my iPhone now so I can test this shortly!

Kelly HW

Kelly HW February 2, 2017

Ok - I just tried again, and mine transferred, so let's figure out what this difference is! Where are you looking in iTunes to see if the books appeared? If it's "Books" in the iTunes Library section, mine is empty there as well. Try selecting your iPhone, selecting Books under the Settings part of the left column, and see if they show up there.

Ian G

Ian G February 2, 2017

Hi thanks, unfortunately they don't appear there.

I think the problem is that I synced the iBooks with iCloud Drive. There doesn't seem to be a way to undo that. They might have appeared there before but unfortunately I don't know one way or the other

Ben Wilcox

Ben Wilcox February 2, 2017

I have several "unpurchased" PDFs and ebooks in iBooks on my iPad. None of them show up in iTunes after syncing and transferring purchases multiple times. I am trying to back up and restore all documents to my new device but obviously these are not included. Please help.

Kelly HW

Kelly HW February 2, 2017

Hi Ben, Are you using the Mac or Windows version of iTunes?

Ben Wilcox

Ben Wilcox February 2, 2017

Windows. Most recent update on iTunes and iOS.

Kelly HW

Kelly HW February 2, 2017

Hi Ben, If you take a look under the comment I just left on Ian's comment, the same question applies. Where are you looking in iTunes to see if the books appeared? If it's "Books" in the iTunes Library section, mine is empty there as well. Try selecting your iPhone, selecting Books under the Settings part of the left column, and see if they show up there.

Ben Wilcox

Ben Wilcox February 2, 2017

Everywhere on iTunes, under the device and under the local library categories. They are nowhere to be found and would never transfer or sync. I fooled with it some more and found that I had iCloud Drive enabled for iBooks and that apparently some of the PDFs had been stored on iCloud Drive even though most were showing up on my device and without the little cloud download icon to the side. Giving me every reason to think they were physically stored on my device. So I turned off the iCloud Drive as I never wanted to use it anyway, and only wanted files stored locally on my device, and it asked me if I wanted to delete the documents and data from iBooks on iCloud Drive, so I did. Apparently this deleted all the documents from my device as well. (Still unclear whether they were ever even physically on my device or not, though every intuitive indication showed they were). And then to top it all off, Apple could find no record of any files being deleted on iCloud Drive so that they could possibly be restored. It was like they never existed in the first place. Long story short, working with documents and managing files on iOS devices, and transferring and backing them up to other places is all a complete nightmare and always has been because Apple is all about reducing all user freedom and control. I just downloaded a third party iOS file manager for PC that seems like the only way to actually keep track of your actual files. iTunes is an atrocity. And now I have three years worth of files gone forever because they can't seem to tell you where your files are stored or let you easily transfer and back them up. It's all a big ploy to get you to fully commit to the apple interface on all devices in your life, and to get you to purchase iCloud storage since 5gb is useless.

Kelly HW

Kelly HW February 2, 2017

Thanks for the very detailed followup on this. I'm going to work up some additional notes for this blog post about the inaccurate labeling for iCloud Drive in iBooks and it blocking the transfer purchases (since as you noted, the iPhone didn't actually think they're "on the iPhone", but instead mislabeled iCloud Drive stored books.)

I wish someone would come in and overhaul the PDF data in iBooks and give it the appropriate attention it deserves!

Ben Wilcox

Ben Wilcox February 2, 2017

Thanks for caring, Kelly! Even something relatively simple like the toggle feature between "Device" and "Cloud" would've been nice to have. I'm still not sure how to back up PDFs to my PC without using a file manager though since syncing and transferring purchases, and just iTunes in general never seems to work. Guess I'll have to use workarounds ad infinitum.