I have my iPad set to manually manage content (i.e. drag and drop, not sync). I'm trying to add some PDFs to iBooks, but it refuses to let me copy them to my iPad. I can do this with epub books just fine. Is this a known limitation in iTunes, or a bug?

Is there any workaround (to clarify: still using iTunes) that doesn't involve having to use the sync option (which forces me to sync videos as well, which is not workable)?

3 Answers 3


You can get the PDF's on your iPad via some other method (e.g. Email, DropBox, etc.) and then choose to open the PDF inside iBooks.

enter image description here

  • Thanks, I should have mentioned that I'm hoping to do a direct drag and drop from my Mac to my iPad, but that is my backup method. Just hoping to avoid needless uploading/downloading when I have them stored locally.
    – robmathers
    Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 19:04

Try the following:

  1. Sync your iPad
  2. Drag your PDF (from Finder) into the LIBRARY section, left panel uppermost section in iTunes
  3. It should then show up in your Books category in your LIBRARY
  4. With your iPad connected drag the desired PDF from the Books category in your LIBRARY onto DEVICES/Your iPad
  5. iTunes should display something like Updating Files on ... and Copying 1 of ...
  6. Your PDF should show up in iBooks in the PDFs bookshelf section

Note: For me this only worked using a USB cable - NOT by WiFi (for whatever reason...)


In your iTunes client, click on your iPad in the Devices area. Do you have the proper settings in the Books tab as displayed by the screenshot? If not, this might be the reason iTunes is only transferring epubs and not PDFs.

enter image description here

  • I'm aware I can do this, but I'm looking for manual management, which as far as I can tell, should work, but doesn't. The problem with syncing is that it forces the iPad to have music and videos synced as well (a rather obnoxious iTunes requirement), which isn't practical at all, as I like to directly copy movies from my file server without having to keep them in iTunes on my MBP.
    – robmathers
    Commented Apr 7, 2012 at 21:24

You must log in to answer this question.

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