How to Sync iBooks Between Mac and iPhone/iPad

Syncing iBooks between Mac and iPhone/iPad is quite simple. However, at times, you will have to go through some churning to sync some of your contents.

Amazon got there first, yes, but Apple managed to nail it right with iBooks. Amidst some new email correspondences between Jobs and News Corp (that controls HarperCollins), we learn that Apple was specifically intent on making iBooks a revolutionary product not just for iOS but the whole of the eBook publishing industry.

So by now, you’re probably having a sizable collection of iBooks which you read. Or maybe you’re just starting out with iBooks, and your collection is growing with all the new books you found on the iBooks store.

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How to Sync iBooks Between Mac and iPhone, and iPad

One of the coolest features of iBooks is that you can read something on your iPhone and then pick it up from where you left on the iPad and Mac. The sync feature of iBooks – which is usually enabled by default – works flawlessly. But then, there are cases and instances where iBooks doesn’t sync. It just doesn’t work. So how do you fix that?

How to Sync iBooks Between Mac and iPhone/iPad

Make sure you are using the same Apple ID on all of your devices.

  • The books you have purchased from iBooks Store are automatically available in iBooks app across all of your devices.
  • Likewise, the audiobooks you have purchased from the iBooks Store or iTunes Store are automatically available in iTunes on a Mac running iTunes 12.4 or later as well as the iBooks app on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch running iOS 9 and later.
  • You also get the option to manually sync audiobooks from the iTunes Store using iTunes and USB.

On Your iPhone and iPad:

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Step #1. Open Settings app on your iOS device → Scroll down and tap on iBooks.

Tap on Settings then iBooks on iPhone or iPad

Step #2. Now, make sure Sync Bookmarks and Notes and Sync Collections are toggled on. Also, Make sure to turn on the switch right next to Online Content (to sync PDF or other compatible files to iBooks across your devices.)

Sync iBooks Between Mac and iPhone

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On Your Mac:

Step #1. Launch iBooks on your Mac and then select iBooks menu → Now, click on Preferences.

Click on Preferences in iBooks on Mac

Step #2. Make sure the General tab is selected, if it’s not already. Then you need to check the box for Sync bookmarks, highlights, and collections across devices.

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Sync iBooks Between Mac and iPhone or iPad

Cannot Sync iBooks Between Mac and iPhone/iPad? Tips to Fix the Issue

If you aren’t able to sync books (purchased from iBooks or iTunes Store) from your iOS device to Mac or vice-versa, sign out of your account (iBooks and iTunes) both on your devices, reboot them and sign in to your account again.

In most cases, the content should sync across your devices. But if they, unfortunately, don’t, sync them manually.

How to Manually Sync Books/Audiobooks from Mac to iPhone/iPad

The contents you purchase from iBooks or iTunes are available across the devices. But the ones you didn’t buy from iTunes need to be synced manually.

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The Type of Content You Can Sync with iTunes:

  • With iTunes, you can sync several types content like albums, songs, playlists, movies, TV shows, books, podcasts, and audiobooks. Besides, you are also allowed to sync contacts, calendars as well as your device backups which you made using iTunes.
  • If you want to sync photos and videos using iTunes, either use a supported photos app or sync from a specific folder on your computer.

Step #1. Connect your iOS device to the computer and launch iTunes.

Step #2. Now, select your device at the top left of the screen.

Click on Your Device in iTunes

Step #3. Next, on the left of the iTunes windows, look for the content you want to sync with your iOS device.

Note: iTunes doesn’t let you sync specific contents like mail accounts, notes, or bookmarks. To sync them, you need to use iCloud.

Step #4. Select the content type you wish to sync.

Step #5. In the main iTunes window, you have to check the box next to Sync to enable syncing for that content type.

Step #6. When you turn on syncing for a content type, you will get additional options to customize your sync settings. You can use these options to sync the preferred contents.

Sync iBooks Manually on Mac

Step #7. Finally, click the Apply button in the lower-right corner of the screen to save your sync settings.

Sync iBooks Manually Between Mac and iPhone, and iPad

Note: Just in case syncing doesn’t start automatically, you will have to click the Sync button.

Now, content will sync each time you connect your iOS device to your computer and have iTunes open.

If a message appears that some of your content couldn’t sync, that means your computer might not be authorized for that type of content.

Hence, authorize your computer for the content you want to sync. Open iTunes → Account → Authorizations → Authorize This Computer.

That’s it!

Wrapping up:

Have the solutions as mentioned earlier helped you? Let us know your feedback in the comments.

You might want to read these posts as well:

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Dhvanesh Adhiya
Dhvanesh Adhiya is our editor-in-chief and reviewer who takes care of He is passionate for wonderful apps that change the way your iPhone interacts in your life.


    • Technically, you should be able to. The “Move Books from iTunes” option
      in iBooks -> File -> should do it. We’ve described it as the last
      step in the tutorial. Check it out and let us know if it worked for you.

  1. This doesn’t work for me either. I don’t think your steps are bad, I think Apple has some issues. My PDF’s do not sync to Mac, but they do sync between iPhone and iPad.

  2. How about if my wife wants to use iBooks on my iPad synced to her iPhone and her Mac, but I want my apps on my iPad synced to my Mac? I can’t figure out where to sign on to a new Apple ID in iBooks.

  3. Did all the stuff previously mentioned and it didn’t work still UNTIL I did this: In iTunes->File->Devices->Transfer Purchases from iPhone6+.


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