How to troubleshoot Apple Books

Troubleshooting Apple Books
Troubleshooting Apple Books (Image credit: iMore)

Apple Books is great for just kicking back and flicking through the latest page-turner, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Like any app, there can be problems and times like that call for some troubleshooting.

If you're having issues downloading your e-books or audiobooks in Apple Books, getting configuration errors, or other problems, here are a few things you can try.

How to fix Apple Books download issues

Are you getting an error when trying to view the Book Store or redownloading an iCloud-stored book in your library? You might have cellular data disabled on your iPhone or iPad. If your device is not on a Wi-Fi network, cellular data must be enabled to download a book.

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Books.
  3. Turn on Cellular Data (or Mobile Data, depending on your region).

How to fix Apple Books download issues: Tap Settings, tap Books, Turn on Cellular Data (Image credit: iMore)

How to fix Apple Books missing item issues

We've seen reports of downloaded audiobooks not transferring properly from an old iPhone to a new one. If your book displays strange errors or doesn't look quite right, it may have gotten garbled on download.

In these cases, you may want to try deleting and redownloading the book. Here's the process for deleting and redownloading a book; similar steps apply to audiobooks.

To delete a book

  1. Tap the Books app.
  2. Tap the Library tab.
  3. Tap the more (•••) button beneath the cover image of the book you want to remove.

How to a delete book in Apple Books: Tap Books, tap on the Library tab, tap on the more button beneath the book's cover art (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Remove....
  2. Tap Remove Download.

How to a delete book in Apple Books: Tap Remove..., then tap Remove Download (Image credit: iMore)

To redownload a book

Unless you've hidden a book, it will still be visible in your library. You'll know that this is the case if a small cloud icon appears beneath the book. To re-download it, just tap it.

If the book you've deleted doesn't appear in your Library, do this:

  1. Tap Reading Now.
  2. Tap the account icon. It's either your picture or your initials and it's located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  3. Under My Purchases, tap Books.

How to a re-download book in Apple Books: Tap on Reading Now, tap on your account, tap on Books (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap All Books or pick a particular genre.
  2. Find the book you want to download and tap the download (cloud) button.

How to a re-download book in Apple Books: Tap on All Books or a genre, tap the download (cloud) icon beside a book to re-download (Image credit: iMore)

If the book you are after doesn't appear in your purchases, you can check whether it has been hidden with the following steps.

  1. Tap Reading Now.
  2. Tap your picture or initials in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

How to unhide a book in Apple Books: Tap on Reading Now, tap on your account (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Manage Hidden Purchases and enter your Apple ID password.
  2. Tap Unhide next to any book.

How to unhide a book in Apple Books: Tap on Manage Hidden Purchases, tap Unhide on any book (Image credit: iMore)

This book should then re-appear in your purchases and be available to re-download.

How to fix Apple Books syncing issues

As you move between your Apple devices, the status of your books and audiobooks in Apple Books should remain consistent. This means the position in the last book you read should be the same as well as any bookmarks, notes, and highlights. If you're not seeing this syncing behavior, make sure it's set up correctly as follows.

First, ensure you are signed in with the same iCloud account on each device you want to sync Apple Books with, then go through the below processes on each device.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on your name.

Apple Books Syncing: Tap Settings, tap on your name (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap on iCloud.
  2. Ensure that the toggles beside both iCloud Drive and Books are set to the ON (green) position.

Apple Books Syncing: Tap iCloud, toggle both iCloud Drive and Books to On (Image credit: iMore)

Once you have done that on each device, you'll then need to do the following.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Books.
  3. Ensure that the toggles beside both Reading Now and iCloud Drive are set to the ON (green) position.

Apple Books Syncing: Tap Settings, tap Books, toggle both Reading Now and iCloud Drive to On (Image credit: iMore)

Once complete, this should resolve any syncing issues between devices.

If all else fails, talk to Apple

If your best iPad for reading still isn't performing or you're continuing to experience Apple Books problems on your iPhone after following the above steps, it's time to contact Apple Support. There are plenty of ways to get in touch with the company and they may be able to offer alternative options or fix potential problems on its end.

Mike Matthews is a writer at iMore.com. He has used Apple products all the way back to the Apple II+. He appreciates no longer having to launch apps by loading them from a cassette tape recorder.