Reddit First off, let me say that some users have had no problems with the latest versions of iBooks that Apple delivered with OS X After you turn on iCloud Drive, all files automatically upload to iCloud.
If you have iCloud Drive enabled, and sufficient storage for your library, you can forgo the iTunes syncing dance: And it would be… if everything worked as Apple says it should. Reality, however, begs to differ. With its latest iterations of iBooks, Apple has cooked up a gallimaufry of inconsistencies and unreliabilities.
When you first launch iBooks after updating your iOS device or Mac, the app offers you the opportunity to enable iCloud Drive for your book library. In fact, the answer can be deduced from the support document mentioned above, a link to which also appears in the initial screen, although finding that document is an exercise in online searching once you dismiss that screen.
From that, however, you can figure out where the necessary settings are to turn on iCloud Drive integration with iBooks: In other words, open System Preferences, click iCloud, click the Options button beside iCloud Drive in the list of iCloud features, click Documents on the Options dialog that appears, and look for the iBooks entry in the list of apps that store documents in iCloud Drive.
After you turn on iCloud Drive integration with iBooks on your iOS device, the next time you open the iBooks app it asks you if you want to use iCloud Drive. If you decline the offer, the switch in the Settings app is turned back off. Uploading Irritations — I have only my own impatience to blame. However, there was little indication of how much time it would take to finish, or how many items remained to be uploaded.
A progress icon did appear from time to time on the toolbar seemingly at random, but the information it provided was both uninformative and misleading.
When I looked at iBooks on one of my iOS devices during this upload period, I saw thumbnails appear, disappear, and shift around in a seemingly haphazard fashion. I had to terminate iBooks manually and relaunch it on the device to see the current state of affairs. I had to scroll down past dozens of books to reach the most recently read book that was on my device.
Furthermore, many books — and I could find no pattern that predicted which — were no longer on my device but, instead were marked as available for download from iCloud. When I turned on Hide iCloud Books in the collections menu on my iPhone, for example, I saw many fewer books listed than had been there before the migration to iCloud Drive.
Corruption Issues — Because one of the books I was in the midst of reading I usually have several going at once was no longer on my iPad Air, I tapped its download icon. Within seconds, the download was complete. And when I tapped to open the newly downloaded book, it opened to where I had left off. So far, so good. When I went to download another book, one that I had not read in a while, a tap seemed to download it, but when I tapped again to open the book, I saw a message telling me that there was not enough storage space to install it — absurd, because my iPad had more than 10 GB free, and the book itself was less than 1 MB in size.
When I dismissed the message, the download icon reappeared on the book. I went to my Mac, found the book, and opened it there. It opened with no problem.
I went back to my iPad and tried again. Again, I saw the same message. I then dragged the book out of my iBooks library on my Mac, deleted the book from the library, and then dragged the copy I had just made back into iBooks.
On my iPad, the book was gone; although iBooks on the iPad had registered the deletion, it could not see the newly installed copy. I force-quit iBooks, and, when I restarted the app, the new copy appeared after a couple of seconds.
This time, I could download it and open it with no problem. Sadly, I encountered the same out-of-space error on a number of books I tried to download: I could only conclude that the initial upload of my books to iCloud from my Mac had corrupted something.
Select all the books and drag them into a Finder folder to copy them. Wait for the copying to finish, and then in iBooks, delete all the books in the collection. Wait for the deletions to finish, and then drag the copies from the Finder back into the now-empty window for the current collection in iBooks. Wait for iBooks to finish uploading the copies back to iCloud, and then empty the Finder folder in preparation for the next collection. Repeat Steps 1 through 5.
This process took me most of the day, but, when I was done, I had no more issues with downloads on my iOS devices. And it had only cost me a day of uncompensated labor! Insurmountable Obstacles — Since then, I have continued to explore what the new iBooks apps have to offer, and what I have found is disheartening: The Books syncing pane for iOS devices has become almost completely unusable for me.
It lists only books of the more than items I have in my iBooks library. For the most part, it seems to list only books that are iBooks Store purchases, but one or two books from other sources also appear. When I removed and reinstalled my books as I just described, I was heartened to see my non-iBooks Store books begin to show up once again in the syncing pane. However, as soon as I quit and relaunched iTunes, those books vanished again, and, once more, iTunes only showed me a fraction of my actual iBooks library.
Collections, Notes, and Bookmark Syncing: I mentioned earlier that when I downloaded a book from iCloud it remembered my last-read location. However, a day or so ago, iBooks on both Mac and iOS seems to have lost the capability to sync the last-read location among my devices.
And not only that, iBooks no longer syncs book collections, manually placed bookmarks, and notes among devices.
I would write that off to a problem with iCloud Drive, but a colleague who has yet to enable iCloud Drive with her installation of iBooks has seen the same thing. In the past, iBooks occasionally hiccuped when syncing these kinds of data, but, as of this writing, the hiccup has become complete lung failure. Old and creaky as it is, my iPad 2 has, in the past, been able to handle iBooks I use the device for testing and as a secondary reading device. Every time iBooks attempts to list my iCloud Drive book holdings, the app simply and unceremoniously quits.
With iCloud Drive unable to work on the iPad 2, and with iTunes syncing currently broken, I have no way to get books onto the device other than side-loading with Open In from a Web or Dropbox download or an email attachment; the iPad 2 is too old for AirDrop to be an option.
This, compared to the other problems, is only a minor irritation, but still a real one for users who rely on Adobe Reader or another third-party PDF viewer. As far as I have been able to ascertain, there is no workaround. Final Words — iBooks with iCloud Drive integration is a great idea executed atrociously. But what Apple has provided in these latest iBooks updates is simply unforgivable. Unfortunately, there seems to be no way for a user to address these problems, but if you rely heavily on iBooks and have not yet updated to OS X Email Address Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.
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