iBooks Tips

os-x-10-10-ibooks-1About iBooks

With the latest version of iTunes, you can browse and buy books from the iBooks Store on your computer and on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Browsing the iBooks Store on your computer

Follow these steps to install the latest version of iTunes. To read purchased books on your computer, you will need a Mac using OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later and iBooks for Mac 1.0 or later. To read purchased books on an iOS device, you’ll need an iOS device with a compatible version of the iBooks app.

You can access Books by opening the iTunes Store in iTunes. Then, click Books from the top navigation bar in the iTunes Store.

iTunes navigation bar

You can browse by categories or search for your favorite books by title or author using the search function in the upper-right. Click the category selector from the Quick Links section to browse by category.

Books menu

On a Mac using OS X Mavericks, you can use iBooks to buy books.

Buying and downloading books on your computer

When you find a book you like, you can purchase the book. On a Mac using OS X Mavericks, your books download to iBooks for Mac 1.0. If you want to send a book to your iOS device, use one of these methods:

  • Sync it from your iTunes library to an iOS device. On a Mac using OS X Mavericks, you can also use iTunes to sync your iBooks Library to your iOS devices.
  • Send it automatically from your computer to your iOS device.

If you’re using Windows or an OS X earlier than Mavericks, you can click Get Sample in iTunes to download the sample to iBooks on your compatible iOS device where you’re signed in to the iTunes Store. If you’re using iTunes on OS X Mavericks or later, click Get Sample in iTunes. A dialog will appear that lets you choose one of these options:

  • Click Send to Devices to send the sample to the iOS devices where you’re signed in to the Store.
  • Click Go to iBooks to show the book in the iBooks Store and download the sample to your Mac from the iBooks Store.

get sample button

Books you purchase on your computer will download to your iOS device and your computer if you turn on Automatic Downloads. To enable Automatic Downloads, you must install iOS 4.3.3 or later on your iOS device. To use Automatic Downloads on iPhone 4 (CDMA Model), use iOS5 or later.

Note: You can only read books on iOS devices that have a compatible version of the iBooks app installed.

Using iBooks Store on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

To browse the iBooks Store on your iOS device, you must install the iBooks app. You can download the iBooks app for free from the App Store. To browse the iBooks Store, follow these steps:

  1. Open the iBooks app.
  2. When your bookshelf appears, tap the Store button.
    iBookstore button
  3. Tap Featured, Top Charts, Top Authors, or Search in the bottom navigation bar. You can also view featured books as well as books available on the New York Times bestseller lists (United States only).
    iBooks top authors button
  4. Tap a book to view more details or download a free sample. When you buy a book, the book will automatically appear on your iBooks bookshelf.


Get Started with iBooks

iBooks is a built in app on iOS 8. If you’re using an earlier version of iOS, you can download the iBooks app for free from the App Store on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. On Mac, iBooks is included with OS X Mavericks or later. Then you can buy and download booksmanage your purchasesorganize your library, and more.

What do you need to use iBooks?

You can use iBooks on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4 or later. You might need to meet these requirements for some features:

  • To use iBooks for iOS 4.0 or later, you need iOS 8 or later.
  • To use iBooks for iOS 3.2, you need iOS 7.
  • To use books with iCloud, you need iOS 6 or later and a compatible device.
  • To download from the iBooks Store or use iCloud features, you need an Apple ID and Internet access.

Some features of iBooks aren’t available in some iTunes Store (App Store) countries. iBooks isn’t compatible with original iPhone or iPod touch (1st generation).

How do you read books created with iBooks Author?

You can use iBooks for iPad or iBooks for Mac to read books created with iBooks Author. You might need a specific version of iTunes or iBooks to use iBooks Author:

  • To sync books made with iBooks Author, you need iTunes 10.5.3 or later.
  • For books created with iBooks Author 2.0 or later, you need iBooks 3.0 or later.

Is iBooks available in every country with an App Store?

Yes, iBooks and the iBooks Store are available in all App Store countries. iBooks Store content varies by country.

Buy and download books

If you have an active Internet connection, you can access the iBooks Store:

  • On iOS devices with iBooks 3.2 or earlier, open iBooks and tap the Store button.
  • On iOS devices with iBooks 4.0 or later, you can access the iBooks Store with the icons on the bottom of the iBooks screen.
    Featured, Top Charts, and Search icons
  • On OS X Mavericks or later, open iBooks and click the iBooks Store button.

From the iBooks Store, you can browse by title, author, or genre. You can also see featured books and books available on the New York Times bestseller lists (United States only). Tap a book to see more details and download a free sample.

iBooks Store showing recommended books

When you buy a book it automatically appears in your iBooks library.

All Books

Do Parental Controls apply to books?

Yes, Parental Controls are available for books that you’re reading on iOS 6 or later and OS X Mavericks or later.

How can I see which books are on the New York Times bestseller lists? (United States only)

From the iBooks Store, select NYTimes to view the weekly top fiction and nonfiction hardcover books. If a New York Times bestseller book isn’t available for download from the iBooks Store, it won’t be on the list.

What’s the typical file size for books from the iBooks Store?

The typical book is about 2 MB. Books that contain enhanced features, such as audio or video, vary in size depending on the content. Enhanced books might take longer to download or require a Wi-Fi connection to purchase.

The iBooks Store also offers textbooks that might be as large as 1 to 2 GB in file size. You might need a Wi-Fi connection to download them from an iOS device. Download times for textbooks vary depending on your Internet connection.

What digital book file types does iBooks recognize?

  • iBooks supports the EPUB file format and PDFs.
  • iBooks 2.0 or later also supports the iBooks format used in iBooks Author.
  • Other digital book file types aren’t supported at this time.

Some PDFs might not be compatible with iBooks. If you want to add books and PDFs from outside the iBooks Store to iBooks, they need to be DRM-free. You can sync them using iTunes 10.5.3 or later.

Can I download books from other websites?

Yes, you can download EPUB and PDF files on your Mac or PC. To add them to your iTunes library, choose File > Add to Library, or drag the EPUB or PDF file to the Books library on your computer. If you’re using OS X Mavericks or later, you can add them to your library in iBooks. To read your books, sync them to your device. The books must be in one of the above supported formats.

Can I purchase a book from my computer?

In certain countries you can browse and purchase books from the iTunes Store on your computer. You can also purchase books from iBooks in OS X Mavericks or later.

Can I copy my books to other computers or devices?

You can automatically download new purchases to your other computers or devices by turning on Automatic Downloads.

Are book samples from the iBooks Store downloaded to iBooks?

Yes, when you tap Get Sample for a book in the iBooks Store, iBooks downloads an excerpt from the book to your library. After reading the sample, you can buy or download the complete book from the last page of the sample. If you get the complete book, it replaces the sample in your library.

Is there a limit to the number of books I can have?

The number of books you can have in iBooks depends on the space available on your device. iBooks doesn’t limit the number of books in your library.

Can I gift a book?

Yes, you can gift books.

Manage your previously purchased books

Depending on your settings, you can see all of your purchased books in your library:

  • In iBooks 3.0–3.2, turn on Show all Purchases in the Collections menu.
  • In iBooks 4.0 or later, turn off Hide iCloud Books in the Collections menu.
  • In OS X Mavericks or later, turn on Show Purchases in iCloud in the View menu.

Can I download my previously purchased book again at no additional cost?

You can download past purchases from the iBooks Store at no additional cost. Here’s how to download a book again:

  1. Log in to the iBooks Store using the Apple ID that you originally used to purchase the book.
  2. Go to the Purchased page.
    • On an iOS device, tap Store (if you’re using iBooks 3.2 or earlier), then tap Purchased.
    • On OS X Mavericks or later, click iBooks Store, then Purchased under Quick Links.
  3. Find the book you want to download again. It should have an iCloud badge.Book with cloud icon
  4. Tap the cover of the book to download it to your device.

Learn more about downloading past book purchases to your computer. Previous purchases might be unavailable if they are no longer on the iBooks Store. Downloading previous purchases isn’t compatible with iPhone 4 (CDMA Model).

Can I back up the books I purchased?

Yes, any books you download from the iBooks Store are automatically added to your iTunes library the next time you sync your device with your computer. To sync, use a computer authorized with the same Apple ID that you used to download the books from the iBooks Store.

What happens if a publisher updates their book on the iBooks Store?

If the publisher updates a book, iBooks for iOS (v3.0 or later) and iBooks for Mac offer free updates to your iBooks purchases.

Organize your library

To rearrange books in your iBooks library, touch and hold a book, then move it where you want it. You can also sort books in iBooks by switching to List view and tapping Most Recent, Titles, Authors, or Categories.

You can also organize your books these ways:

  • A grid or list view.
  • Specific collections based on a topic. For example, you can put all your books and PDFs related to your work in a single collection.Collections and Hide iCloud Books option

To use Collections, tap the Collections button, or the name of the collection on your iPhone or iPod touch to change or add new collections.

Do more with your books

You can set up how you want your books to appear, add bookmarks, share your thoughts, and more.

Do books from the iBooks Store have any accessibility features?

You can enjoy books downloaded from the iBooks Store using the accessibility features built into iPad and iPhone or iPod touch.

Can iBooks open books in different languages?

Yes, iBooks can display books written in many languages.

Can I view textbooks in iBooks?

Yes, you can see interactive books on iBooks for iOS (v2.0 or later) on the iPad and iBooks for Mac (v1.0 or later). Interactive books include study cards, glossary cards, and more.

Can iBooks play audio or video included with books?

Yes, enhanced books can automatically play audio or video in the book.

Can iBooks read books aloud?

Yes, you can use the read-aloud feature included in select children’s books from the iBooks Store. With the read-aloud feature, a real narrator reads the book to you and, in some books, highlights the words as you read along.

Can iBooks open illustrated books?

Yes, you can see illustrated books (such as children’s books, cookbooks, and art books) on your compatible iOS device or Mac using OS X Mavericks or later.

Can I bookmark and save my page?

Yes, iBooks automatically remembers where you left off each time you close a book or return to your Home screen. On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, tap the bookmark icon in the upper-right corner to bookmark a specific page. On your Mac, select Edit > Add Bookmark.

You can wirelessly sync your Bookmarks, Highlights, and Notes with your other devices using your iTunes Store account. In iBooks 4.0 or later on your iOS device, tap Settings > iBooks > Sync Bookmarks and Notes > On. If you’re using an earlier version of iBooks, tap Settings > iBooks > Sync Bookmarks > On. To sync from your Mac, choose iBooks > Preferences and select “Sync bookmarks, highlights, and collections across devices.”

Can I highlight text and make notes?

Yes, iBooks includes Highlight and Note features. You can highlight any text within a book. Then you can create a Note from your highlighted selection.

See your Highlights and Notes:

  1. Tap the Table of Contents button.
  2. Tap Bookmarks. Highlights and Notes appear in their own section under Bookmarks.

Can I share my thoughts about my books with my friends?

In iBooks for iOS 3.0 or later and in iBooks for Mac, you can share highlights and selections on Facebook, Twitter, Messages, or Mail.

Can I change the appearance of my books?

You can change EPUB books, but not PDFs or books created with iBooks Author. Here’s what you can adjust:

  • Set the font size and choose from five included fonts.
  • Adjust the brightness of the device’s display to comfortably read your books in any lighting. In iBooks 4.0 or later, you can use the following themes: White, Sepia, and Night. Select the Night option within iBooks to read books in the dark. You can turn on the Auto-Night theme to automatically switch to the Night theme in low light.
  • Change the appearance of books by adjusting the contrast setting on your iOS device. To adjust the contrast, tap General > Accessibility and select White on Black. When you open iBooks, you books will have white text on a black background.
  • In iBooks 3.2 or later, you can use the Scrolling View to read your books in a continuous scroll. You can use this feature in any theme.

Can I read my books while my device is in airplane mode?

Yes, you can read your books while the device is in airplane mode. You don’t need an Internet connection to read books downloaded to your library.

Does iBooks include a dictionary?

Yes, iBooks allows you to look up the definition of words using an English, German, Spanish, French, Simplified Chinese, or Japanese language dictionary.

Can I install and use custom fonts?

No, not at this time.

Can I print my books and PDFs from iBooks?

You can print PDFs and notes you’ve entered from iBooks; however, you can’t print EPUB books.2 You can also email PDFs and notes you’ve written from iBooks.

Printing from iBooks requires an iPad, Phone, or iPod touch with iOS 4.2 or later and iBooks 1.2 or later with a supported AirPrint printer. iOS 4.2 and iBooks 1.2 aren’t compatible with original iPhone or iPod touch (1st generation).

Can I pinch a book closed?

In iBooks 4.0 or later, you can pinch a book closed on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Will the Kindle app or other eBook readers for iPhone work on iPad?

Kindle and most eBook reader apps designed for iPhone or iPod touch should work with iPad. Books downloaded from the Kindle Store and other books that aren’t in a DRM-free standard EPUB format aren’t compatible with iBooks.


Organize your books

In iBooks, there are several ways to organize and view the books in your library.

Options in your iBooks library.

Browse your books:

Click the options at the top of your library. For example, click Collections to see any collections you created.

Sort your books:

Click Sort By, then choose an option. For example, click Sort By, then choose Most Recent to see the books you read recently listed at the top.

Manually reorder books:

Click Sort By, choose Sort Manually, then drag books where you want them.

Show book titles and authors:

Click Sort By, then choose Show Title & Author.

Show all books you purchased:

Click Sort By, then choose Show Purchases in iCloud. You see all books you purchased using your Apple ID.

Add a collection:

Click Collections, then click Add (+) in the bottom-left corner. You can also select books, then choose File > New Collection from Selection.

Delete a collection you created:

Click Collections, select the collection, then press Delete.

Delete books from your Mac:

Select the book, then press Delete. At any time you can redownload purchased books from the iBooks Store.

Tips for managing your iBooks library and storage on iOS devices

Learn about managing your iBooks library and storage on your iOS devices.

There are several ways you can manage your iBooks library between iOS devices:

  • If you want all of your books organized in the same way on all of your iOS devices, go to the iBooks panel in Settings, and set Sync Collections to ON.
  • If you prefer to manage your books and library organization separately between your iOS devices, go to the iBooks panel in Settings, and set Sync Collections to OFF.

With iBooks Sync Collections enabled

  • Books will be organized in the same collections on all of your devices. You can read and organize your books with your iPhone or iPod touch while you’re on the go, and when you return home to your iPad, you’ll find your books in the same organization you created on your iPhone or iPod touch.
  • When you delete a purchased book from your iBooks library on your iOS device, you have the option to Delete This Copy or Delete From All Devices.
  • To free up storage on your device while keeping your library organization, tap Delete This Copy. The copy of the book on that iOS device will be removed, but the cover of the book will remain in your iBooks library with a cloud icon visible in the upper corner. To download the book again, just tap the book cover.cloud icon
  • To remove a purchased book from your library on all of your devices, tap Delete From All Devices. The book will be removed from all of your iOS devices, and its cover will only appear in the Purchased Books collection with a cloud icon visible in the upper corner. If you change your mind, you can download the book again from your Purchased Books collection.

With iBooks Sync Collections turned off

  • You can organize books on one device without affecting the organization on another device. You can keep your books on your iPhone organized one way, while keeping a different set of books organized in a different way on your iPad.
  • When you delete a purchased book from your iBooks library on your iOS device, you will have the option to Delete This Copy or Delete From Library.
  • To free up storage on your device while preserving your library organization, tap Delete This Copy. The copy of the book on that iOS device will be removed, but the cover of the book will remain in your iBooks library with a cloud icon visible in the upper corner. To download the book again, just tap the book cover.
  • If you choose Delete From Library, the book will be removed from your device, and its cover will appear only in the Purchased Books collection with a cloud icon visible in the upper corner. If you change your mind, you can download the book again from your Purchased Books collection.

Note: Whether you set iBooks Sync Collections to ON or OFF, if you delete a book that you didn’t purchase from the iBooks Store, the book can’t be downloaded again from either your Purchased Books collection or by using the cloud icon. You might not be able to download previous purchases from the iBooks Store for a variety of reasons (including if your purchase was refunded).


Enable Automatic Downloads

Automatically download purchases from the App Store, iBooks Store, or iTunes Store to your computers and iOS devices.

Content that’s eligible for Automatic Downloads will download automatically to iOS devices and iTunes-authorized computers associated with your Apple ID after you turn on the feature.

If you’re using Family Sharing, your family’s content won’t automatically download to your devices. Only content that you’ve purchased with your Apple ID will download automatically.

Requirements for Automatic Downloads

In order to turn on Automatic Downloads, you need:

Turn on Automatic Downloads

On your computer

Music, Movies, TV Shows, and Apps

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. If you haven’t authorized your computer, choose Store > Authorize This Computer.
  3. Open the iTunes Store Preferences:
  4. Select the content that you want to automatically download. If you can’t select these options, you need to sign in to the iTunes Store with your Apple ID.


In OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later and iTunes 11.1 or later, the Automatic Downloads preference for books is in the iBooks for Mac app. To turn on automatic downloads for books:

  • Open the iBooks for Mac app.
  • Choose iBooks > Preferences > Store.
  • Select “Download new purchases automatically.”

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

  1. Tap Settings > iTunes & App Store.
  2. If prompted, sign in with your Apple ID.
  3. Tap the content that you want to automatically download. If Books isn’t listed, download iBooks from the App Store.

You can turn Automatic Downloads on or off over your cellular network on an iPhone or iPad Wi-Fi + 3G. Go to Settings > Store and turn Cellular Data on or off. Cellular Data downloads are limited to a file size of 50 MB or smaller.

Learn more

If your iOS device has an Internet connection and you enabled push notifications, the content should automatically download. On an associated device that doesn’t support Push Notifications, the specified content should automatically appear in the download queue where you can manually start the download within iTunes.

Music, movie and TV shows that you buy on your Apple TV will also automatically download to a Mac or PC running iTunes 12 on which you’ve turned on Automatic Downloads.

Automatic Downloads for music and downloading past music, movie, or TV show purchases might not be available in all countries. Find out if iTunes in the Cloud is available in your country.

Automatic Downloads for movies and TV shows is only available through iTunes 12. Automatic Downloads can’t be enabled for video on iOS.



iBooks Tips

Ever since iBooks became a hit on the iPhone and iPad, it’s no surprise that Apple has brought the popular book reading app to the Mac. Mavericks includes iBooks as a standard application, allowing you to read and browse books in a dedicated program rather than using iTunes – where your e-books previously sat rather uncomfortably.

Reading on the Mac might not be quite as compelling as on an iPad, but the interface is good and easy on the eyes (there’s even a night mode). The great thing is that thanks to iCloud, wherever you get to in a chapter or page is synced across every device you own, so you can start reading on your Mac and then continue from the same place on another device.

Open iBooks

To get started, open iBooks from the Dock. You can also find it quite easily using Spotlight, or from within the Applications folder on your Mac.

iBooks Dock Icon

You can find iBooks in your Mac’s Dock


When opening iBooks for the first time, you might see a message informing you that your existing books have been moved from iTunes. If not, don’t worry as you can move them manually anyway (from the Filemenu).

Your iBooks Library

Once you’ve opened iBooks, you’ll see all your books displayed. Across the top menu bar is a search box (just type anything to search the books), in addition to a group of 5 buttons to view the books in various ways – e.g. by Collection, Author or category, as well as just a plain old list.

iBooks Main Screen

The main iBooks window shows all the books you’ve downloaded

There is also a Sort Bybutton located just below the search box – select that to change the view according to your preferences:

Sort iBooks

Your digital books can be sorted in several ways, such as Title or Author

You’ll notice the option to show purchases in the cloud – this allows you to view books you’ve purchased but may have deleted from your Mac – however they’re still available to download any time, and means that you can delete them safely (saving valuable disk space) but re-download them at any time. The option is useful to remind you which books are stored in iCloud.

You can also enable this option directly from the Viewmenu (plus options for sorting). You’ll notice that books stored in iCloud have the small iCloud icon displayed in the upper right corner:

View iCloud Books

Select this option to view all the books you own in iCloud

Organising Books

iBooks makes it easy to organise your books into collections. These are simply groups that help you to organise things the way you want. To make a new collection click the little “+” arrow that appears at the bottom of the left side panel, or just right-click a book and choose New Collectionfrom the menu  – it will appear instantly appear in the side panel where it can then be renamed. Next, choose a book and use the Add to Collectionoption.

Create a Collection

Create a collection, name it and add any books you want…

The selected book is added to the specified collection, and will become visible when choosing the Collections view from the menu bar. It’s a convenient way to organise your books, especially if you have a growing collection…

View iBook Collections

Choose the Collections button to view all your collections in the left panel

Viewing Books

To open a book and start reading, just double-click any book or right-click and choose  Read. The book itself opens in a new window (you can also go into fullscreen mode using the standard icon which appears in the far upper-right corner of the window).

Once the book opens, you’ll see a simple and uncluttered interface with a few buttons at the top that fade out when you move your mouse over the pages themselves. You can scroll through each page using the left and right arrow keys.

Viewing Books

Double-click to open a book and start reading

Move your mouse to the top of the book to display the menu icons. The leftmost one takes you back to your iBooks library, the middle one opens the table of contents (shown below), and the third one opens the Notes panel. You can select any item in the table of contents to navigate directly to that part of the book.

iBook Menu Buttons

Move your mouse to the top to view all the various buttons and options

Notes and Highlights

You can also highlight a block of text your books simply by dragging the mouse – a menu then appears that allows you to add a note, change the highlight colour or underline the text. There are also a few more options (under More) – such as sharing to Mail or Facebook, searching, or even getting your Mac to speak the selected text.

iBooks Notes

Add notes, highlight, share and even get your Mac to speak

Viewing highlights and Notes is simple – just click the Notesbutton (the third one on the left) on the main menu bar to open the notes side panel. From here you can search notes or just navigate to them by clicking on the page number next to each one. You can easily annotate each note or highlight – as you can see in the image below, just click on the “Add note…” text.

Viewing Notes and Highlights

View all your notes and highlights


To create a bookmark, select the small red icon on the menu bar, or alternatively use the down arrow next to the icon to view those you’ve already saved. The nice thing about bookmarks is that they sync between every Apple device you own.

iBooks Bookmarks

Create and view bookmarks you’ve created on any device

Fonts and Themes

It’s also possible to customise the font, its size, and the theme. Select the “aA” button to view the available options. There are a couple of good themes already built in – plain white (which is the default), sepia – my favourite, and night mode, which is slightly easier to read in the dark.

iBooks Fonts and Themes

Change the font, size and theme

The iBook Store

Of course, the best place to purchase digital books is through the iBook Store. All you need is a valid Apple ID (which is normally any email address that you choose – it doesn’t have to be an Apple one). To open the store, click the book icon on the left of the menu bar – you may need to enter your Apple ID and password if prompted:

iBooks Sign in

Sign in to iBooks to be able to make a purchase

Once you’ve signed in, you’ll be presented with a familiar-looking interface that takes many of its cues from iTunes. There’s the usual array of options such as FeaturedTop Charts and Top Authors, as well as the choice of Paidor Freebooks in addition to a search prompt. It’s actually very easy to navigate the store, and you can select each book just to view more details (such as reviews and ratings) or make a purchase.

Apple iBook Store

The Apple iBook Store is a great way to purchase digital books

One particularly nice feature is the ability to obtain a sample of any book. As shown below, just choose “ Get Sample” to download a free sample to your Mac – great if you want to have a quick read before making a decision whether to buy or not.

iBooks Samples

You can also view book samples in the store

Once sample books have been downloaded, they appear in your library just like regular books (albeit with the word  sampleemblazoned across one corner). From here you can view the book just like any other in your collection.

Sample Book iBooks

Free book samples can easily be downloaded to your library

Right-clicking any sample book displays the available options – for example to read the book, add to a collection or simply delete it.

iBooks Options

Right-click on the sample to view options

And with every book (not just samples), there’s the option to share a link and comments to Facebook, Twitter, Messages or Mail:

iBooks - Share Options

Share a link to the book to Facebook, Twitter, Messages or Mail

Unlike regular book downloads, sample books also conveniently display an icon to buy the selected book.

iBooks Sample Options

When reading a sample book, the option to buy the full version is highlighted

Overall, iBooks is a great way to find interesting reading material. There are thousands of books in the store, and the ability to view free samples is a nice touch. As a built-in app that comes free with Mavericks, iBooks just might encourage you to read a bit more, and although reading on a computer isn’t usually as comfortable as using an iPad, it’s a welcome addition to the first-party apps provided by Apple.