I am trying to move a PDF that I opened in iBooks on my iPad, to Dropbox, however whenever I try the share option it will only allow me to print the PDF and not email it. How can I get it out from iBooks?

I'm using an iPad Pro 9.7" with iOS 10.

  • What happens when you tap the "Email" option? Or does it not show up at all?
    – Tuesday
    Jan 11 '17 at 5:43
  • Just brings up the print box and asks you to select a printer as normal.
    – JP195
    Jan 11 '17 at 9:17
  • Do you mean tapping on the Share button brings up the Print dialog immediately, without even offering you the option to Email?
    – Tuesday
    Jan 11 '17 at 20:38
  • Yes that's exactly what it does, Email does not appear as an option.
    – JP195
    Jan 11 '17 at 21:30
  • Do you have any accounts set up for email in Settings > Mail? (Even if you don't, though, it's still weird: I also have an iPad Pro on iOS 10, with no email accounts set up, and it still gives me the option. When I tap it, then it says I need to set it up in Settings first.)
    – Tuesday
    Jan 11 '17 at 21:47

There seem to be a number of people on various forums in your same boat, dating back even to when the iBooks app was first introduced. The only theories I was able to find explaining why this might be happening (large PDFs, file protected PDFs, non-searchable PDFs) are all easily disproven. So I can't help you there.

However, if all you're trying to do is get the file out of iBooks and into your Dropbox, this is doable with the help of a computer. I've included instructions for two methods below. If you have a Lightning to USB cord and a computer that you use iTunes on, it's probably easiest to transfer the file the first way. If not, you can also do it wirelessly with iCloud Drive.

If you don't mind buying software, you can also accomplish this with a third-party computer program such as iMazing or PhoneDisk.


Connect your iPad to a computer using a USB cord (or Sync over Wi-Fi, if you have that set up) and open iTunes. Wait for the device icon to show up near the top left of the window, near the <> buttons. When it does, choose File > Devices > Transfer Purchases from [your iPad's name].

Unfortunately, depending on how much content you have on your iPad, this may be fairly overkill... using this method will sync all purchased content from the iTunes Store to your computer, as well as "all podcasts from your device's Podcasts app and copies of all PDFs, books, and audiobooks from your device's iBooks app" (source).

Once the transfer is complete, your PDFs and other ebooks will appear in the Books app on your Mac, and you can drag and drop the file into Dropbox or wherever else you want it.

iCloud Drive

First, you need to make sure that the following things are set up properly, both in iCloud settings on your iPad (Settings > iCloud) and on your Mac ( > System Preferences > iCloud):

  • You are logged into iCloud
  • iCloud Drive is turned on
  • iBooks is turned on within iCloud Drive settings

Having checked that, open iBooks on your iPad and wait a moment. If there is a cloud icon in the top right, that means it's busy syncing your documents. (You can tap on it to see what it's currently syncing.) Wait for it to finish.

Now open iBooks on your Mac and wait patiently for the PDF to appear. Make sure that View > Hide iCloud Books is not ticked.

Once the PDF is synced to your computer, simply drag and drop the file into Dropbox or wherever else you want it.

Note that this method can be a bit temperamental and may not work, even if it seems like everything is set up correctly. If it doesn't, and this is your only option, try rebooting your devices and follow the steps again.

  • That's brilliant, thank you verymuch for all of your help, time and effort on my behalf. I am away travelling at the moment, but as soon as I get home and have access to my PC and iTunes I will try it out. Again many thanks. John
    – JP195
    Jan 12 '17 at 0:33

I figured out that my file was too big to be sent by email. I had a lot of photographs in it. When I cut the photographs and half, splitting the file into two separate PDFs, then the email showed up

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