PDFs instantly disappear in iBooks after I click out of them.

In particular, I can read PDFs by going into the "Files" app, going to my icloud drive, clicking a pdf, then clicking "open in ibooks". The pdf shows up fine and I can read it.

However, as soon as I click the "back" button on the upper left corner of ibooks, in the "Library/PDFs" of ibooks, I see the book I just read appear for half a second, and then instantly disappear, and then it says

No PDFs. All the PDFs in your library will automatically be added to this collection.

What's going on? How can I get my Library -> PDFs screen in ibooks to actually show the PDFs that I have been reading, instead of having them instantly disappear? Currently, in order to read the PDF again, I have to go to the Files app, and click "open in ibooks" every time.

I'm using ibooks on ipad air 2, with the latest system upgrades as of late August 2020.

1 Answer 1


By default, PDFs don't persist in the Books app. In the Files app, opening a PDF with Books will make the Books app open the PDF from its existing location.

To copy the PDF into the Books app, with the book open in the Books app, tap the Share button, then ‘Copy to Books’. This will duplicate the PDF into the Books app container.

  • that worked. When I did so, it said "uploaded to icloud". Does this mean it re-uploaded to icloud, in some "ibooks section" perhaps, and now I have three copies of the book: one on my ipad, one in the "ibooks section" of my icloud, and the original one in my "icloud drive"?
    – xdavidliu
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 20:14
  • 1
    @xdavidliu There's 2 copies, one in your original iCloud Drive and one in the Books App Library in iCloud Drive, both of which can be seen in the Files app but only one can be seen in the iBooks app (with one or more perhaps cached locally on device, but these cached copies are not independent to the user). The Books app is looking into the Books App Library within iCloud Drive where the duplicate PDF is now stored. Disabling the Books app in iCloud settings would mean books within the Books app are only stored on device, so that's an option if you don't want duplicates on iCloud.
    – grg
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 20:19

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