If I have PDF files on my Mac that I don't want stored on a remote server anywhere but I want to be able to read them on my iPod Touch, what software can I use?

I'm running iOS 6, and it appears that files sent to iBooks now get synced via iCloud. I don't want to store them in my Dropbox account (remote server), nor e-mail them to myself (same thing).

  • Is there a reason why you don't use iTunes (or substitute) and an USB cable to move them directly? – bmike Nov 8 '12 at 23:36
  • That's exactly what I plan to do — but what app do I use? My understanding is that PDFs in iBooks sync through iCloud to other iOS devices. If that's true, I don't want that to happen. – Daniel Nov 9 '12 at 0:27

I believe the iCloud syncing introduced in iBooks 3.0 only applies to books purchased in the iBookstore, not other eBooks or PDFs. I can't find a KB article with the exact details, but Apple's iBooks page corroborates this.

As for getting the actual PDFs on your device, you could always use OS X's Web Sharing to temporarily allow access to the PDFs via Safari, and then save them to iBooks. That way you don't have to worry about the PDFs touching any computer you don't control. Drag and drop via iTunes unfortunately doesn't seem to work as you'd expect.

  • Awesome, but I'd love to get some confirmation, either from Apple docs or people's experience that PDFs are not synced via iCloud. I've found conflicting reports on the web, and I want to be sure before putting secure documents onto my iPod. – Daniel Nov 9 '12 at 0:29
  • In a bit of experimentation between my iPad and iPhone, I can confirm purchased iBooks do indeed sync, but my PDFs and ePubs do not. That said, I agree that an Apple tech doc on this would be welcome, if anyone can find one (I haven't yet). – robmathers Nov 9 '12 at 3:52
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    I'd love definitive documentation (before my Christmas shopping list PDF syncs with my wife's iPad because of a software update), but in the absence of that, experimentation will do the job nicely. Thanks! – Daniel Nov 9 '12 at 15:30

I would recommend GoodReader as a PDF (and not only PDF) viewer. There's a nice way in this app to move files to an iTouch directly: you can transfer them through a Wi-Fi Network to the local server of the application.
You can turn the iCloud synchronization off in GoodReader - Settings - General settings.

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