All iPads Moving PDF's from iPad to MBP?


macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
Jacksonville, FL
I guess most everyone has a newbie type question once in a while, but I got a new iPad Air and want to move my PDF collection that I have in iBooks on my iPad 3 over to my MBP so I can move them over to my Air. I thought I would just be able to drag from iTunes over to a folder on my desktop (as you can drag from desktop to iTunes to add) but have had no luck.

Last year when I upgraded the iPad 3 from iOS 5 to 6 I had the bookmark syncing issue and had to wipe and set up as new to fix it. I can't remember how I got the PDF's off it and then back on.

Honestly I feel stupid for asking but haven't come across the answer I need whilst searching Google.


macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2008
Hawaii, USA
If you downloaded the books from the App Store, the easiest thing to do might be to re-download them. Otherwise, the only thing I have to offer is to check your sync settings. Select your iPad from the device screen and then under the "books" tab make sure that "Sync books" is checked.

If these are PDFs that you downloaded on the iPad from websites, I'm afraid I don't have a good solution for your immediate issue. However, I have a longer-term solution to get around this in the future. Instead of using iBooks for managing PDFs, I use Documents (by Readdle, free in the app store). It's a general file system that can be used to store and view more than just PDFs, but a lot of its feature set is designed around PDF viewing and annotating. The app mounts as a wireless drive to your Mac, so you can easily put files on or pull them off of your iPhone or iPad. It is easily one of my most-used iOS apps.


macrumors 6502a
May 12, 2010
If you long hold on the file in iBooks, does it pop up an option to email the file? Could be a long process for every file, but you may be able to email the file to yourself...

Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
Connect iPad to computer, start iTunes, right click on the iPad icon inside iTunes sidebar, select "transfer purchases." Oh, you'll have to turn the sidebar on first. Or maybe there is another way to invoke the "transfer purchase" command, but basically, doing a transfer purchase should copy the PDFs to your computer.