Updated March 2017: Added information about PDFs and iOS 10.3.

iBooks turns your iPhone and iPad into the ultimate e-reader. The iBooks Store makes it easy to find and download books, and the iBooks reader lets you peruse, scan, or search at your leisure. All you need to do is know where to look!

How to find and download books

iBooks comes with Apple's iBooks Store built right in. That means you can search or browse for new books and download them right from the app.

  1. Launch the iBooks app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap the tab at the bottom of the screen to find a book. You have three options.
    • Featured is an ever-changing list of books that are being promoted.
    • Top Charts takes you to the bestsellers in any genre.
    • Search allows you to search by title, author, genre, or through a preset list of search suggestions.
  3. Tap on the book you want.
  4. Tap price to buy the book, or tap sample to have a few free pages downloaded. (If you download the sample, and then decide to buy the full book, iBooks will automatically replace your sample with the full book.)

    Tap Top Charts, Select your book, buy or sample.

Your downloaded book will appear in your My Books library where all of your books will be stored.

How to add and view PDFs in the iBooks app

Ebooks and audiobooks aren't the only things you can view in iBooks: You can save PDFs to the app, too — and store them in iCloud. As such, any compatible document that you've added to iBooks on one device can be downloaded onto another device.

As long as you're running iOS 9.3 or later on your iPhone or iPad and OS X 10.11.4 on your Mac, you can save PDFs to iBooks (and iCloud). When you launch the app, you'll be asked whether you want to use iCloud. Tap or click on Use iCloud, and your PDFs and other ebooks will automatically begin uploading.

To add a PDF to iBooks, you need only save it from the app you're currently viewing it in. For example, here's how you save a PDF from Safari:

  1. Open the PDF file in Safari.
  2. Tap anywhere on the screen to view the Open In controls.
  3. Select Open in iBooks (or, if iBooks isn't the default, tap the More button in the upper left corner).

  4. The PDF will automatically open in iBooks.

Once your files are uploaded into iCloud for iBooks, you'll be able to download them onto any of your devices.

  1. Open iBooks.
  2. Find the selection you wish to download.
  3. Tap the Download button in the upper right corner of your PDF. It looks like a cloud with an arrow pointing downward.

    Downloading a PDF to your device in iBooks

On the Mac, all PDF documents will automatically download into your iBooks library.

How to view your books, audiobooks, and PDFs

There are a number of ways iBooks organizes your books. The first is by Collections.

  1. Launch iBooks from your Home screen.
  2. Tap My Books at the bottom left of your screen.
  3. Tap the Collections button, it's at the top of your screen in the middle.
  4. Tap one of the Collections from the list.

    • All Books (of any format)
    • Books
    • Audiobooks
    • PDFs
    • Collections you've created.

      Launch iBooks form your home scree, tap My Books, tap the collections button, tap on a collection from the list.

Tapping any one of the Collections options will filter the books that appear on your My Books main screen.

You can also view your books by property.

  1. Launch iBooks from your Home screen.
  2. Tap My Books at the bottom left of your screen.
  3. Tap the menu button (it looks like three short lines) at the top left of your screen.
  4. Tap one of the options from the top of the screen:

    • Recent
    • Titles (in alphabetical order)
    • Authors (in alphabetical order)
    • Categories

      Tap menu, select from options at top of screen

To return to your bookshelves, tap the menu button (which now looks like six tiny rectangles) at the top left of your screen.

How to read your books

There is one significant difference between reading on an iPhone and an iPad with iBooks. On your iPhone, you will only see one page at a time. On your iPad, turn from portrait to landscape to see two pages at a time. The rest of the mechanics are exactly the same.

  1. Launch iBooks from your Home screen.
  2. Tap My Books at the bottom left of your screen.
  3. Tap the cover of the book you want to read. The book will automatically open to the first page. If you are returning to a book you've already started, the book will reopen to where you left off.
  4. Swipe left to turn the page.

    Tap the book, swipe left to turn pages

How to quickly scan through a book

To skim quickly through multiple pages:

  1. Launch iBooks from your Home screen.
  2. Tap My Books at the bottom left of your screen.
  3. Tap the cover of the book you want to read.
  4. Tap the page counter at the bottom of the page. Move the blue dot right or left along the line, releasing it when you've reached the correct page.

    Tap book, tap page counter and move left or right

How to bookmark a page

iBooks will automatically reopen a book to the last page you were reading. If you need to bookmark a page because you've found an inspiring quote, or you want to revisit a passage, you can insert a bookmark.

  1. Launch iBooks from your Home screen.
  2. Tap My Books at the bottom left of your screen.
  3. Tap the cover of the book you want to read.
  4. Tap the bookmark button at the top right of the screen. It will turn red to mark the page. To remove the bookmark, tap it again so the red disappears.

    Tap book, tap top right corner bookmark

How to return to a bookmarked page

  1. Launch iBooks from your Home screen.
  2. Tap My Books at the bottom left of your screen.
  3. Tap the cover of the book you want to read.

    Tap iBooks, tap My Books, tap your book.

  4. Tap the menu button (three short lines at the top left of your screen).
  5. Tap the Bookmarks button.
  6. Tap the bookmarked selection you wish to return to.

    Tap Menu, tap Bookmarks, tap selection.

How to annotate and highlight words and passages

With your fingers or Apple Pencil, you can highlight in iBooks as you go. It's quick, it's easy — and it's the way it's meant to be!

  1. Open the iBooks app.
  2. Select a book.

    Opening iBooks

  3. Find a passage of text.
  4. Place your finger or Apple Pencil on the first word of the sentence.
  5. Drag your finger or Apple Pencil across the passage to highlight it.

Once you've highlighted a passage of text, you can change its color or style, which is useful if you color-code your annotations.

  1. Tap the highlighted text.
  2. Tap the color icon in the far left on the options menu. It looks like a multicolored disc.

    Changing the highlight color in iBooks

  3. Tap the new color. Or, tap the red underline.
  4. To exit the Options menu, tap anywhere on the screen.

    Selecting a highlight color in iBooks

Additionally, if you have a thought about the passage you've just highlighted, you can add a note. Notes can be viewed right on the page they were originally written, or from the Notes section.

  1. Tap the highlighted text.
  2. Tap the Note icon in the middle of the options menu. It looks like a comic word bubble.

    Selecting the Note options in iBooks

  3. Type your thoughts.
  4. To exit the options menu, tap anywhere on the screen.

    Typing a note in iBooks

Want to look up the passages of text you highlighted? You don't have to flip from page to page looking for them. They are all listed in one convenient spot.

  1. Open the iBooks app.
  2. Select a book.
  3. Tap the center of the screen to bring the iBooks menu into view.

    Calling up the tools in iBooks

  4. Tap the menu icon in the upper left corner of the screen next to Library.
  5. Tap Notes.

    Viewing saved passages of text in iBooks

All of your highlighted passages — along with any comments you've added — are listed in page order.

How to search for words or passages

There are two ways to search for particular words or passages in a book. The first is a straightforward search, just like you would do if you were searching for something online.

  1. Launch iBooks from your Home screen.
  2. Tap My Books at the bottom left of your screen.
  3. Tap the cover of the book you want to read.

    Launch iBooks, tap My Books, tap book

  4. Tap the magnifying glass button at the top right of the page.
  5. Type a word or passage into the space provided.

    Tap letter button, enter search word or phrase

The second way to search within a book uses the highlighting feature.

  1. Swipe to open a page of text.
  2. Tap and hold a word or passage that you want to search for somewhere else in the book.
  3. Tap Search from the options that appear above the word or phrase.

    Swipe to page, tap and hold word, tap Search

How to enable Scrolling View

If you don't like swiping to turn pages, you can scroll vertically through the book in one long view.

  1. Launch iBooks from your Home screen.
  2. Tap My Books at the bottom left of your screen.
  3. Tap the cover of the book you want to read.

    Launch iBooks, tap My Books, tap book

  4. Tap the letter button at the top of the page.
  5. Toggle Scrolling View so that it appears green.

    Tap letter button, toggle Scrolling View to green

Page numbers will appear on the left side of the screen in Scrolling View.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments.

iBooks: The Ultimate Guide

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