I'd like to work on a draft pdf file on both a Mac and an iPad and see the edits syncing invisibly in the background.

I create a new directory

mkdir ~/latex

and save the following latex in ~/latex/lipsum-novel.tex



then typeset it

pdflatex lipsum-novel

Now I have the pdf file ~/latex/lipsum-novel.pdf

I drag that pdf file from Finder to the iBooks window, and from this answer, we know that iBooks buries the pdf file in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.BKAgentService/Data/Documents/iBooks/Books

I'm guessing that I can now delete ~/latex/lipsum-novel.pdf

rm ~/latex/lipsum-novel.pdf

All good. iBook took over the draft pdf. My objective now is to modify this draft pdf on both OS X and on an iPad (with the modifications synced in the background).

Before I even worry about syncing to iBooks on an iPad, I start by striking through some text.

One strikethrough

Already Preview warns me that (as with all OS X native files such as pdf files) "The original document can't be changed."

Fine. I save the modified file in ~/Documents/lipsum-novel copy.pdf.

Now already iBooks has gone out of sync with Preview. If I exit iBooks and reload, I will be looking at the pdf file buried by iBooks, not on the file I edited. If I add a new strikethrough

after two strikethroughs

That hardly helps. I've just introduced yet a third pdf file.

How do I get iBooks to save my edits in its own copy (and sync it with an iPad).

2 Answers 2


It appears that only synchronizing the original, pristine copy of a pdf file is supported. Synchronizing edits is not implemented, or at least similar questions on discussions.apple.com remain unanswered.


You don't need to go into Library/Containers to get to iBooks, you can just drag the PDF file onto the iBooks window. You can then delete the old one

  • Yes, I know. The trouble is that after double-clicking on the icon of the pdf file inside iBooks, I am unable to edit the file and keep it inside iBooks. The copy pdf file that I save (in ~/Documents, i.e. without attempting to save deep inside ~/Library/Containers) remains external to iBooks. iBooks does not know the edits, and hence cannot sync them to iOS.
    – Calaf
    Sep 2, 2015 at 11:46

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