iBooks permits easy file sharing and import of Pdf files to iPad through iTunes, however it lacks annotation/highlighting. After import, I prefer to open PDF file with 3rd party PDF viewers like Foxit. However I have no idea how to bring my PDF file from iBooks to Foxit reader.

Do you have any idea?

  • Tried emailing them to yourself? Mar 8, 2013 at 20:11

15 Answers 15


I'm afraid it's not possible. I tried several times to do that. Maybe you'll want to use an app like Documents by Readdle on your iPad? That way you can manage your books from there and open them everywhere you want to.

  • I have installed Documents by Readdle, but still find no way to easily move my PDF files from laptop to that program. Do you have any idea?
    – Ali
    Mar 23, 2013 at 16:54
  • Please see a related question: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/86508/…
    – Ali
    Mar 24, 2013 at 7:06

Here's what works for me, I email the PDF to myself (my account allows for files up to 50mb) I then read it in Mail and select "Open In" and choose Adobe Reader and voila it's now added to the documents list in Adobe Reader. Thanks to tex_mex from https://forums.adobe.com/people

  • Welcome to Ask Different! Ideally provide a working link for proper attribution (the one you added links to the main page of the People section at the Adobe Forums). Thanks! Aug 17, 2015 at 21:22

Here's a work around that worked for me:

Step 1:

  • Email yourself a PDF copy from iBooks-must be to an account accessible from iPad
  • Open iBooks
  • Open PDF to transfer
  • Tap top of PDF & tap 'share' icon in upper left (rectangle w/arrow rising out of it)
  • Email to yourself (account that you can access from th e iPad; I used my @me.com address)

Step 2:

  • Access email, open PDF & use "Open with" option to open in app of choice
  • Open email
  • Tap on PDF to download>then tap on it to open it
  • While open, tap at top of PDF, tap 'Share' icon, & tap 'Open with' your app of choice ( if app you want not showing, tap 'More')

You could try importing a copy of the PDF. For example, if you right-click a PDF in the Books section of iTunes, and then choose "Show in Finder", you can see where iTunes stores the file. For me, it's in Music->iTunes->iTunes Media -> Books -> [authorname] -> [pdfname].pdf.

Then, in the File section of the Apps tab for the device (still in Itunes), you can select your PDF viewer of choice, press the Add button, and select the file you found above. If you select a file manager instead (say, File Pro or similar), you can then use it to open the PDF file with any compatible viewer.

  • My question is about iBooks in iPad, your answer seems to be about Mac. Am I true?
    – Ali
    Mar 10, 2013 at 8:01
  • Not exactly. I'm using iTunes on the Mac (or PC) to find the PDF and then set up the desired iPad viewer or file utility to be able to "see" (a copy of) the PDF. When you get to the iPad, everything should be ready.
    – Ed Stout
    Mar 11, 2013 at 17:15

I don't think you can bring the PDF file from iBooks to Foxit reader. except you use another PDF reader such as Foxit Mobile PDF for iOS Pro. Hmm, Im familiar with PDF viewer on Mac, and also got some cool tools such as PDF Magic for Mac to manage my PDF files, but not so familiar with iPad PDF files.

  • Welcome to Ask Different! This only partially answers the question so don't be too surprised if somebody votes it down. Please have a look at the faq to understand how the site works.
    – nohillside
    Mar 12, 2013 at 9:15

I found a simple way to transfer PDFs from iBooks to any other app you have on your iDevice... However, you must be jailbroken for this to work.

Here's how:

  1. In Cydia, download and install PDF Printer (it's in the BigBoss repo) (Note: your iDevice will respring once PDF Printer is installed)
  2. Open iBooks and open the PDF file you want to transfer.
  3. In iBooks, select the option to print / email PDF
  4. Choose print option
  5. Once print option box appears, choose PDF (to the right of "Print Option")
  6. Once PDF is "Printed" choose the open in icon on the top left of page
  7. Open the PDF in the app you want a copy kept in, such as PDF Expert.

I know it seems like a lot of steps, but it's not. It's really simple and MUCH easier and faster that emailing each iBook PDF to your self and way more convenient than syncing through iTunes.


After connecting iPad to Laptop go to your apps on iPad and select PDF reader which you have installed on iPad. After that select option to add file and select your book. Now open your PDF reader and you will have your book.


Install the PDF reader first (Foxit in my case). Upload the file on Google Drive, and then open Google Drive on iPad. After this, tap keep the file on device. Then, tap open in option (this will appear in Google Drive when you tap on i in the icon of the book on the drive). From there, you can select your preferred reader.


I've no idea how to export PDF from iBooks to another PDF Reader app in iOS, but you can use iTools software on a Windows PC to do that.

  1. Install iTools in Windows.
  2. Go to "Books". It's reachable in top menu. This part has access to the iBooks PDF.
  3. Select the books you want to open in other app.
  4. Click "Export " and give it direction in Windows.
  5. Go to "Applications". It's reachable in top menu.
  6. Find your favorite PDF app you've been installed like "Foxit Reader".
  7. It has a icon="file share" in front of it. Click it.
  8. Import your PDF and ePub and texts you've exported in step 4.

Now you can share PDF files with AirDrop in "Foxit Reader" app and have all that books in your favorite app.


If it is a book that you downloaded, you can download it again. It will give you options like, Open in iBooks, on the top right. On the left it will give you an option of, Open as.... Select that and then choose the app you want to use to open it (i.e. Copy in Foxit).

  1. Open up the Safari browser on your iPad.
  2. Find the download link of the original PDF file.
  3. When the file downloads and populates your screen, touch the screen.
  4. Two options open up on the top of the screen: "More..." and "Open In iBooks".
  5. Click "More.."
  6. When "Open File In..." pops up, choose your preferred PDF reader/editor.
  7. Edit said document in said PDF Editing app.
  8. Smile! You've just figured out a workaround.

There is great program called Diskaid check it out. you can put files directly to foxit.


Put files into Dropbox and then download into other reader. I will do this to use Adobe Acrobat Reader.

  • How do you get the PDFs from iBook into Dropbox?
    – nohillside
    Mar 16, 2014 at 21:37

This IS the EASIEST way:

  1. open PDF in iBOOKS
  2. email PDF to self
  3. open your MAIL (from apple mail box, NOT GMAIL APP)
  4. download and open PDF
  5. open in foxit


  • There are two answers that already that give these steps and on answer that mentions foxit.
    – Deesbek
    Nov 21, 2016 at 13:06

a am a complete DOLT about these things - had downloaded a pdf copy of a book to ibooks and wanted to be able to highlight it. no deal. i downloaded iannotate after reading the comments of others. then i re-downloaded the book pdf's link to my ipad (where i want it for travel) & among the choices of where to "park it" (my term) was iannotate. i selected it. it downloaded. it opened. i've highlighted. VERY easy.

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