Used to Apple’s iBooks app of years past, and now somewhat or even totally confused by Apple’s revised Books app? If so, you are not alone!
Recently, Apple completely revamped the beloved iBooks app into the Books app with major changes in iOS 12 and smaller, subsequent updates for iOS 13 and iPadOS. And that’s led a lot of folks to frustration, problems, and learning to do things in different ways!
If you are one of the many in this category, fear not! We’ve got Apple Books for iOS 13, 12, and iPadOS covered in our detailed how-to article.
So read on!
- Apple Books or iBooks Stuck On Cover Page or Other Page? How To Fix
- Apple Books or iBooks Missing After the Latest Upgrade, How-To Fix
- Apple Books or iBooks Not Downloading and Related Problems, How-To
- Books Store Shows A Blank Screen, How-To Fix
Minor Changes with Apple Books in iOS 13 and iPadOS
As mentioned, Apple didn’t make any major changes for iOS 13 and iPadOS, but they did add a new feature called Apple Books Reading Goals.
What the heck are Reading goals according to Apple?
Want to read more and keep track of how much you read with your iPhone’s or iPad’s Books app? With iOS 13 and iPadOS, it’s easy to keep an eye on how much you read in a day OR in a year.
Set your reading goals
- For each day: How many minutes you want to spend reading every day
- By year: How many books you want to read every year
And best of all, Apple tracks all the time you read your books, whether you read for just a few minutes or for a few hours. By logging these moments, it’s easy to achieve your Daily Reading Goal minutes and meet your Yearly Book Reading Goal.
How to set Apple Books Reading Goals
- Open Settings > Books
- Toggle on Reading Goals
- Open Apple Books app
- Tap Reading Now
- Tap the Today’s Reading link in the top-left corner or scroll down to the Reading Goals section
- The default goal is 5 minutes per day but you can change this by tapping on the Today’s Reading Timer
- To change the goal up or down, press Adjust Goal
- Scroll up or down to change the amount of time you want to read each day
- When you set your goal, tap in the space outside of the daily reading goal sliding scale
- Tap the X in the upper-right corner to return to Reading Now
- To change the number of books to read this calendar year, tap the books to reach your goal link and adjust the number
Clear and reset your reading goals
If things change and you want to start with a clean slate on your reading goals, it’s easy to reset this data.
Go to Settings > Books > Clear Reading Goals Data. This resets data across all your devices signed in with the same Apple ID.
iOS 13 and iPadOS let you turn selections from any printed book into audio using Accessibility’s new Spoken Content
One cool feature in iOS 13 and iPadOS are all the improved features for the vision-impaired. Even folks without vision issue can leverage these new controls and options to get our printed pages read to us–so we don’t have to purchase audio versions of books we already own in printed form!
To be clear, this process is best used for listening to parts of a book–selections you highlight from the book itself. It’s not a good alternative for listening to an entire book or even long parts of a book.
Set-up Siri to read your books using Speak Selection
- Open Settings > Accessibility
- Tap Spoken Content
- Toggle Speak Selection ON
- To choose a different voice, tap Voices
- Test out your preferred speaking rate using the slider
Have Siri read selections from your books
- Make sure you set-up Speak Selection as shown above
- Open Apple Books
- Choose a book you want Siri to read to you
- Drag your finger to select and highlight the text you want Siri to read to you
- Choose Speak from the menu
- Siri reads all the highlighted text
- To pause, press the Pause button from the menu
Wondering if Apple made Books more customizable?
Sorry, but Books app users still can’t do things like change line spacing and other customizations you find in third-party reading apps.
What about Books improvements with iPadOS?
One of the biggest headliners for iPadOS is its multitasking options and letting users finally open multiple instances of the same app.
Unfortunately, Books does not yet support this feature–at least not yet. Books still only allows you to open it once, so for now, we cannot have two books open side-by-side. Quite a lot of folks want this feature to make research and studying much easier.
If you are one of those people, we highly recommend you send Apple your feedback and request this option in a future update to iPadOS.
iBooks becomes Apple Books with iOS 12 and above (including iPadOS)
Starting in iOS 12, Apple renamed iBooks to Books. And with this new name, Apple introduced a host of design changes and features that brought iBooks more in line with that of other Apple apps like the TV or Podcasts apps.
Dark reading mode
Apple Books offers a full dark mode that is separate from iOS 13 and iPadOS dark mode.
Even if you set your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to always use dark mode, your books do not follow suit. You need to manally set it up for each book you read.
To set Apple Books to display your books in dark mode
- Open Books
- Tap open a book
- In the top menu, tap the aA button
- Tap on a colored circle to choose your reading display mode–there are four options from white and beige to gray and black
- You can also choose to enable or disable an Auto-Night Theme setting that changes your display’s mode based on ambient light
- Additional options include brightness, changing your Books font, and turning scrolling view on or off–not all books offer these options
Basic navigation tabs in Apple Books
The main tabs on the user interface are now the Reading Now, Library, Book Store, Audiobooks and the Search tab.
- Reading Now is where you will perform most of the user actions. When you buy a new book, it goes straight to the Want to Read section on this tab. This tab features all the titles that you are currently reading, your reading wish list along with recommended titles.
- The Library is similar to the old My Books tab in iBooks. Books can be sorted manually in the my books tab via drag and drop actions making it convenient.
- The Books App also features a dedicated AudioBooks section. When you want to download a new Audiobook, you use this tab to do so. Your older audiobooks show up in the Library and Reading Now tabs.
How to Hide or Unhide books in Apple Books app
There are many reasons why you would want to hide a book from your Reading Now or Library in Books.
One of the primary use-cases of this feature is to hide books that show as downloading from iCloud or need to be downloaded from iCloud.
How to Hide Books
- Start with the Library tab as this is where all your books are stored
- Tap ‘Edit’ on the top right corner of your screen
- Choose the titles that you want to hide
- Tap on the Trash Can icon on the bottom left corner of your screen
- Choose ‘Hide Books’ to hide the titles selected.
- These titles are removed from both your library and Reading now tab
How to Unhide Books
- Start by tapping on Reading Now Tab and scroll to the top
- Tap on the ‘Account’ icon at the top right corner of your screen
- Next, Tap on ‘Manage Hidden Purchases’ and enter your credentials
- You now find all the titles that you had previously hidden
- Tap on ‘UNHIDE’ to move the titles back to your Library and Reading Now tabs
How To Use Books Wish List Feature in Apple Books
With iOS 12-13 and iPadOS, there is a separate section for your Books wish list–called the Want to Read section.
Find Want to Read under in your Book’s Reading Now tab–if you don’t see it, scroll down to reveal this section.
Look for the headphone icon to denote any audiobooks in your wish list.
The same process works for both Book Store and the AudioBooks tabs.
Adding Books or Audiobooks to your Wish List from the books or audiobooks store
- Open Apple Books
- Tap the Book Store tab or Audiobooks tab
- When Browsing in the Book Store/Audiobooks, tap on any book and then tap on Want to Read
- If you don’t see this button, scroll up a little bit to find this button!
- You see a message that the book was added to your Want to Read Collection (that’s your Wish List)
Adding Books or Audiobooks to your Wish List from the books or audiobooks you already purchased
- Open the Books app
- Tap the Library tab
- Choose a book from your collections of books
- Tap the three dots button next to the book
- Choose Add to Want to Read
- A confirmation message appears on-screen
Remove a book or audiobook you have not purchased from your Want to Read Collection (Wish List)
- Open Apple Books
- Tap the Reading Now tab
- Scroll to Want to Read
- Tap the book or audiobook you wish to remove
- Press the button for Want to Read
- You see a confirmation that book is now removed
You can also find the book in the Book Store or Audiobooks and tap it again to remove it from your Wish List.
Remove a book or audiobook you previously purchased from your Want to Read Collection (Wish List)
- Managing your wish list is done via the Reading Now tab
- In the Reading now tab, scroll down and tap on the See All button under Want to Read section to see all the items on your Wish List
- This section only shows up when you have added books/Audio titles to your wish list
- Remove the items by tapping on the three dots next to the book and choose Remove from Want to Read
Your Apple Books Wish List is also available on your Mac running macOS Mojave & macOS Catalina
When you are in the process of browsing Books in the macOS Book store, you can click on arrow next to the Buy Book (or pre-order) button books and add that title into your Wish List.
How To See Only Downloaded Books in Books App
- Tap on Library > Collections > Downloaded
- This tab shows you all the Books that you downloaded onto your device and don’t require an internet connection
We haven’t seen a direct way to filter out only the downloaded titles while using the ‘Reading Now’ section in the new Books App.
How to save PDF’s from the internet to Books
- Open Safari and locate the pdf you want to read in Apple Books
- Tap on the Share button
- Next, choose Copy to Books-if you don’t see this option, swipe inside the Share Sheet and choose the More button, then select Copy to Books
- With Copy to Books, your device automatically adds the pdf to your Apple Books app’s Library
Want to add Copy to Books to your Share Sheet?
- To add Copy to Books as an optionin your Safari’s share sheet, tap the More Button
- Choose Edit
- Under Suggestions, scroll down to Copy to Books
- Tap the Plus sign (+) next to Copy to Books
- Confirm that Copy to Books was added under your Favorites
- Make any other changes you want by adding via the plus sign (+) and removing via the minus sign (-) or by toggling certain items off
- Press Done to save your changes
Safari file not a PDF?
- For iOS 13, choose the Options button at the top of the Share Sheet, then select PDF
- For iOS 12, tap Create-PDF and then Copy it to Books
To use PDF’s in Book across your Apple devices, make sure you enable iCloud Drive in the Books Settings.
How to delete books from iPhone or iPad with Apple Books
- To delete a book or some books, you start with the Library tab
- Tap on Edit at the top corner of the screen
- Select the titles that you want to delete from your iPhone or iPad
- Next, tap on the delete icon (trashcan) at the bottom left corner of your screen
- Choose your options
- Remove From Reading Now to remove the book from the Reading Now section
- Remove download to remove it entirely from your device
- You can also tap the three dots next to the book and choose Remove
When you remove a book, it’s still visible in your library if you enable iCloud for Books. And it can be downloaded again, if desired.
How to sign out of your Books Account
- To Sign Out of your Books account when using iOS 12+ and iPadOS, start by tapping on the Reading Now tab
- Next, tap on your account photo or icon on the top right corner of the screen
- Then scroll down to the bottom of your screen
- Select Sign Out
Common Apple Books App problems and how to fix them
Apple Books keeps deleting PDFs or books?
- Re-enable iCloud drive syncing with Apple Books
- Go to Settings > Books > under syncing toggle off and back on both Reading Now and iCloud Drive
- The, go to Settings > Apple ID > iCloud
- Toggle Books off and on
Books white screen, app does not open
This annoyance has existed for some users for some time now. When you tap on the Books app, it doesn’t open the app. You see a white screen
We are not sure what causes this issue.
The only workaround that we have found is to force close the app and re-open it to work
- On an iPhone or an iPad with no home button from the Home screen, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and pause slightly in the middle of the screen
- On an iDevice with a home button, double-click the Home button and swipe right or left to find the Books app
- Swipe right or left to locate the Books app
- Swipe up on the Books app’s preview to close it
- Sometimes it takes a few tries to get Apple Books to work
- Another option is to delete the Books App from your iPhone and iPad and re-install it from the App Store. Please make sure to backup your PDF’s /Books that you didn’t purchase from Apple before you do this. You can also use the app offload functionality to mitigate this risk
Books not syncing
- The use of the word ‘Sync’ can be the root of the confusion. If you purchased a book using your MacBook or an iDevice and cannot find the book, check your settings
- Before checking, make sure that you are using the same Apple ID on the devices in question
- Even if you have Books Syncing option enabled, it does not make the book available on all your Apple devices
- Syncing only helps when you want to keep your collections in sync across multiple devices. For example, if you move a book into one collection in one of your Apple devices, syncing moves that book into the same collection for all your other devices
- The key to locating missing books or pdf’s across multiple Apple devices is to make sure that you have the iCloud Drive enabled in your Book Settings
How to Locate Missing Books or PDF’s in Books App
- Make sure you are using the same Apple ID across your multiple devices
- Force quit the Books App
- Check your iCloud setting and enable Books. Tap on Settings followed by tapping on your Apple ID
- Tap on iCloud and make sure that iCloud Drive is ON along with Books
- If either one of these settings is OFF, Please enable them and proceed
- The next setting is about making sure when you buy a book using one Apple device, they also download to your other devices automatically
- To verify, tap on Settings > Your Apple ID > iTunes and & App Store. Make sure you enable Books and Audiobooks under ‘AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS’ section here
- To copy books across all your Apple devices, turn on your iCloud Drive for Books
- Tap on Settings > Books > and under the Syncing option, make sure iCloud Drive is ON and check the devices that you have by tapping on ‘Update Other Devices’
- The next action item is to make sure that you have not hidden the book accidentally. Please follow the steps in the prior section to check your hidden purchases/books and make sure you unhide the title in question
- If you have already checked through the steps above, the last step is to Sign out of Your Books account / Sign Out of Your iCloud account, wait for a minute or two and then do a forced restart of your iPhone or iPad
- Once your device starts up, Sign back into your iCloud Account, followed by your Books Account and give it some time for the books to sync.
- You should be able to locate your missing Books
- If you were not successful, try deleting the Books app from your device and re-download it from the App store and then check
We hope that we covered some of the key changes for the new Books app on your iPad or iPhone. Please let us know if you have any comments or questions. And please consider sharing a favorite tip with all our readers.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the original editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.