Bugs: Disappearing iBooks and configuration problems

Problem with iBooks disappearing from your iBookshelf, or getting a configuration error telling you have to restore your iPhone or iPad and reinstall iBooks? You're not alone. We'll go over the bug and try to troubleshoot after the break!

Disappearing iBooks

iBooks seems to be... well, a little quirkier when it comes to errors than its older iTunes and App Store cousins. Sometimes when it launches you can watch your iBookshelf populate with titles only to see one or more disappear right before your eyes. (We've had readers report a dozen or more disappearing). Luckily, you can redownload your previously purchased iBooks:

  1. Tap Store, top right
  2. Tap Purchases, bottom left
  3. Tap redownload for any iBooks that have disappeared

iBooks redownload

It's a pain but it's better than music, movies, or TV Shows where there are no re-downloads.

If you're near your Mac or Windows PC, you can also just re-sync and that might fix it, though I've had to redownload some even after sync.

iBooks configuration error

This one is even more galling. You tap to open a book and start reading but instead get an error messages saying "There is a problem with the configuration of your iPhone [or iPad]. Please restore with iTunes and reinstall iBooks."

Restoring in iTunes is a nuclear option and Apple shouldn't be so quick to recommend it. In my experience, the following work in most cases:

  1. Exit iBooks
  2. Double click the Home Button
  3. Tap and hold iBooks in the Fast App Switcher dock to put it into Jiggly Mode
  4. Tap the X in the corner to Force Quit iBooks
  5. Click the Home to exit back to the Home Screen
  6. Relaunch iBooks

iBooks force quit

Others have recommended restarting your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, or syncing to iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC. Restoring your device should be a last resort.

We've gotten some comments that this only affects devices with multiple iTunes accounts on them, or Jailbroken devices, but there's no clear pattern we can determine so I think it's most likely just a bug. Hopefully Apple fixes it soon. They invented iTunes, dagnabit. Managing digital downloads should be a cakewalk for them by now.

If you've had this problem, let us know what you've experienced and if these tips help fix it. If you've got more or better fixed, leave them in the comments!