I'm using iBooks 1.7 on macOS Sierra (but have had this issue since iCloud syncing via iBooks has been available). Books added via file > Add To Library are not being synced across my devices.

I have an iPad and an iPhone using the same apple ID all supposedly syncing bookmarks, collections iBooks data etc and yet it's not actually syncing any of them.

The most progress that I can see is a cloud logo in the top right of the books on a (3rd or 4th) restart of iBooks and an uploads arrow listing the newly added books, but there's no option in the UI to start the uploads that are listed.

Has anyone had this trouble? I'm absolutely at a loss and it's a recurring issue.

Thanks SE!

3 Answers 3


I am an avid user of iBooks, and I hope I can be somewhat helpful. Because I am new to Stack Exchange, I am unable to ask questions/comments on your original post, therefore some of this information may be irrelevant to you.

  1. You mentioned that on your iPad and iPhone, you have the settings set to sync across devices. To clarify, click Settings > iBooks; make sure Sync Bookmarks & Notes and Sync Collections are green. It sounds like you have this already, so then...

  2. Click Settings > Your name at the top > iCloud. Make sure iBooks is still marked green. Make sure iCloud Drive is also green.

  3. On your Mac, open up iBooks. At the top menu bar, click Store > Authorize this computer.. this should ensure your computer can use anything added from iTunes/iBooks store. Also, click Sign In in the same menu setting (Store). Make sure your Apple ID is signed in.

  4. Click the Apple icon at the top left of your screen and hit System Preferences. Click iCloud. Make sure your account is signed in. make sure iCloud Drive is on, and click settings next to it.

  5. If iBooks was open, quit/force quit it. After it quits, open it. It may prompt you, "do you want to use iCloud sync?" If it does, say yes. Click iBooks > Preferences > General, make sure "sync across all devices is checked."

Your items will have a cloud icon on them. A cloud with a solid lining indicates the book is fully in the cloud and downloadable; a cloud with a dotted lining indicates the item is being uploaded into the cloud.

I believe the issue is with your iCloud Drive. iBooks purchases sync with your Apple ID, and technically other stuff you add does as well, but the other items, from my understanding, actually live in your iCloud Drive. You also may need to update your Mac.. sometimes syncing is weird with older stuff (you said Sierra; not sure if High Sierra or old Sierra). I am not sure this information will be helpful to you.

Also, this might be helpful. I apologize if all of these are things you have already done, but since I am new, I am unable to ask you questions yet. Good luck. I assume I can edit this answer if everything else fails... I do not have my Mac with me at work today, so I can't view my own settings. I can look when I get home if it would be beneficial.

  • Brilliant. The help docs skipped step 5 to Authorize iBooks.
    – Sean
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 20:42
  • This worked well. The issue for me was for some reason iBooks was turned off inside iCloud drive.
    – dsignr
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 6:27

First Navigate to the iBooks Folder

  1. CMD+Space (Spotlight): "[name of a book in iBooks library]"
  2. Highlight book and press CMD+Enter or CMD+Double Click on book. If the book exists in multiple locations you can check for the correct location (".../Mobile Documents/iBooks/iBooks/...") by highlighting an item and holding CMD to display the path in the Spotlight status bar area at the bottom).

And Then Remove and Re-add Stuck Files

  1. Move all items with the unsynced iCloud icon (dotted cloud) to another folder temporarily (e.g. Desktop).
  2. Move the items back to the iBooks folder. Start with one if you want to see that it works first.
  3. Let it sync. The iBooks iCloud badges and the Upload/Download list (available from the down-arrow button at the top-right of iBooks) should actively reflect the syncing.
  • It seems like finding the book's location from spotlight may no longer be working in MacOS 14, and it doesn't seem like Finder will allow you to browse that folder anymore. You can still access the folder via terminal: cd ~/Library/Mobile\ Documents/iCloud~com~apple~iBooks/Documents
    – 2xj
    Commented Jan 29 at 4:43

Best way is do it with iPhone - then select to upload - and then it synchronize to "MacOS iBooks" itself.

  • I'm somewhat confused as to what you're suggesting. Could you maybe add some screenshots of what you're suggesting on the iOS side?
    – JMY1000
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 8:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .