I use my iPad as PDF reader, so my iPad contains many PDFs which I'd like to sync.

It should be the steps below:

  1. You need to login with correct Apple ID on every device you want to sync
  2. Plug in iPad/iPhone to your Mac (my situation)
  3. Open iTunes
  4. In iTunes go to File → Devices → Transfer purchases from <iOS device>.

But iTunes copy all my apps, not only books or PDFs.

  • Did you buy these PDFs?
    – Rob
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 10:34
  • Not all, I prefer to read html as pdfs (news articles) Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 10:42
  • I use Mavericks Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 11:03
  • You should be able to sync them with the iBooks app on Mavericks. Did you try that yet? iBooks is removed from iTunes in Mavericks.
    – Rob
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 11:05
  • Not I'm not use it. I didn't find 'Sync' option in Mac/iOS iBooks app Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 11:29

2 Answers 2


In Yosemite, this is now possible using only iBooks. On your iOS device (in my case an iPad 3rd Gen running iOS8), enable 'sync collections' in the settings for iBooks (within the iOS Settings app).

On your Mac, create a collection and add a PDF to it. It should then appear on your iDevice.


Preview, Apple's default PDF viewer, works with iCloud, but for some strange reason it can only be synced or viewed on other Macs, not iOS devices or web browsers. According to Apple Support, you can drag and drop PDFs into your iBooks Library on Mavericks. Then, click the "Books" tab in the iBooks app on your iPad, click the "Sync" button, and if you've set up your iBooks sync to sync only selected books/PDFs, check the boxes next to the PDFs you want synced to your device. And that should be all.

This fall Apple is releasing iCloud Drive to both iMacs and iOS devices, so it will not only be able sync your PDFs to your iOS devices for later viewing, but also any other kind of file you want to sync. Then, it should be even easier.

  • I'm not seeing the option to sync iBooks via iCloud. Did this not make it into Yosemite / iOS8 ?
    – codecowboy
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 11:24
  • 1
    I think it's almost entirely automated now. I haven't looked yet, though. I will check when I get the chance.
    – Matt
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 14:20

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