I have a folder in my Dropbox that I keep my eBooks in it. I want to find an app for the iPad that can do these to me:

  • Let me open a PDFs file from my Dropbox
  • Let me annotate on that file
  • Annotation getting applied to the Dropbox version of my file, instead of creating a local copy that its changes does not affect the Dropbox version

In my PC, when I open a PDFs file from my Dropbox and make Some highlights, when I press the save button in acrobat reader, the Dropbox version is instantly gets updated and whenever I open my Dropbox folder I have the latest version of the file. I need similar functionality in my iPad.

What iPad app has this functionality?

  • Unfortunately I don't think what you ask for is possible. Dropbox uses a REST api, so any Read/Write operation requires making a local copy.
    – john
    Oct 22, 2012 at 16:42
  • So is there a chance after making that local copy, that app silently replaces the original version?
    – Farshid
    Oct 22, 2012 at 19:27
  • Yes. It's unfortunate that the GoodReader app does not automatically sync because that would be probably the closest you can get to what you are looking for.
    – john
    Oct 22, 2012 at 20:01
  • Actually I'm using GoodReader for two years and I know it can't handle this.
    – Farshid
    Oct 22, 2012 at 20:03
  • I was looking for a free program that could do this and I found [Documents by Readdle] (itunes.apple.com/us/app/documents-by-readdle-free/…). Others could add a Dropbox account just to download the file. This one can upload it too. So, after making a local copy and the annotations, you hit the upload button and put the pdf in the same folder, overwritting the old version. But the annotation tool is pretty limited.
    – StackUnder
    Jan 14, 2014 at 19:42

8 Answers 8


A few days ago Dropbox introduced a collaboration with Adobe that allows to annotate files and synchronise changes back to Dropbox automatically:

With the latest versions of the Dropbox and Acrobat Reader iOS apps, you’ll be able to annotate and comment on PDFs stored in Dropbox, right from your iPhone or iPad. Just open a PDF from the Dropbox app and tap the ‘Edit’ icon, then edit or electronically sign the PDF in the Acrobat Reader app. All your changes will save back to Dropbox, so you and any collaborators will have the latest version.


To try out the Adobe integration on your iPhone or iPad, download the latest versions of the Dropbox iOS app and the Acrobat Reader iOS app. The same integration will be available for Android devices next year, so stay tuned!

  • Yeah this is currently functional but clunky - “integration” is being used very loosely, since the apps are barely talking to each other. But yes, it seems tow work
    – cduston
    Jul 21, 2021 at 14:38

I am using PDF Expert for exactly this. You can choose to sync folders from Dropbox (and other sharing services). Those folders will keep a local copy and will automatically sync back as well.

  • I used PDF Expert for many years on Android and it worked seamlessly - I’m now testing on iOS and it also appears functional, just takes some time and App refreshing for the syncing to work.
    – cduston
    Jul 21, 2021 at 14:42

PDF Max Pro does that:

Work on your PDF documents stored on iCloud or Dropbox just like your local files. Search or browse any file you need, annotate or fill in, then all your changes are automatically pushed back to the cloud without any manual step required.


What about iAnnotate PDF? It has Dropbox sync support.

I don't have my iPad with me to test if it automatically saves the changes back to DropBox though.

  • 2
    Dear sir, unless you are sure it can exactly solve the problem desribed in the above question , please do not suggest only base on this fact that it has dropbox support because they are not free programs and just if you are sue it can do what was asked please confirm it.
    – Farshid
    Oct 25, 2012 at 22:30

Notability and Remarks both have dropbox sync, theres a great article comparing the two here.

Also Wondershare, who make some pretty rad PDF editing software, recently wrote an article on how PDF annotation on the iPad an recommended a couple of different apps, may be worth a read.

  • If only Notability actually did this - Notability will back up your files on Dropbox for you (in a single location, like it dumps everything to Dropbox/Notes/), but that’s not what the OP is looking for.
    – cduston
    Jul 21, 2021 at 14:45

None of the answers do what he asks for. Syncing is a passable substitute unless you have a deeply nested batch of folders with gigabytes of PDF. Try that in dropbox and it eats a big chunk of your iPad's space and takes over hour (from experience). What is needed is something that uses the dropbox API to allow direct editing of individual docs. It is possible because UXWrite does exactly this.


This is quite an old question, but I can see that in the dropbox app this feature is still not incorporated.

A decent solution for me is to use the Files app, where is the dropbox folder too. There is possible to edit pdf file with the iPad.


our app, Xodo, has all these features from annotating PDF documents to syncing with Dropbox. You can manage and organize all your documents from within the app. Also it is completely free.

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    Jul 28, 2014 at 19:25

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