Cloud Sync

You can sync the contents of Bookends for iOS with the cloud, from where they can sync with other iOS devices or with Bookends for Mac.

Typically you will already have a Bookends library on Mac that you want to sync with your iOS device. In this case, make sure it has been uploaded to the cloud before setting up Bookends for iOS sync. To do this, on your Mac click on the Bookends cloud icon at the lower left corner of the window and “Sign In To Cloud..."


Now select “Upload This Library To Cloud…”


Start Cloud Sync in Bookends for iOS by tapping on the top right button ("…”) or tapping “Sync” under the “Bookends” section on the main screen.


After the first successful sync the library will be synced automatically every time the app is launched and closed. In addition, you can sync manually any time by tapping the … button and selecting Sync Now.

After every successful sync of references, Bookends will start syncing attached files, usually PDFs.

Sync of attachments is based on iCloud Drive. All files must be located in the iCloud Drive -> Bookends folder. Note that if on the Mac you store your attachments outside of the iOS sync folder, for example in a Dropbox folder, Bookends for iOS won’t be able to see them. Therefore, if you intend to sync with Bookends for Mac you must enable iCloud Drive on your Mac in System Preferences. It will appear in the Finder window, like this

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To create the Bookends iOS sync folder on your Mac, you must perform a few extra steps.

In Bookends for iOS:
• The Bookends for iOS library should be synced with cloud.
• Download any reference with attachments from any online source you have privileges for (e.g. PubMed or PubMed Central) in Bookends for iOS. Import this reference to your library. 
• The Bookends folder with this new attachment should be created by macOS on every one of your Macs.

In Bookends for Mac:
• In preferences, set your default attachment folder to iCloud Drive.

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Note that the Bookends iCloud Sync folder will become visible only when it has content. So it is important that you import a PDF into your Bookends for iOS library or attach one to your Bookends for Mac library. The folder, once it has content, will have the Bookends logo on it:

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Important note: Do NOT create the iCloud Drive Bookends folder yourself in the Finder. If you do it will not have the Bookends icon and it will not be recognized by Bookends for iOS. You must let Bookends create the folder for you as described above.

If you have pre-existing attachments on the Mac, you must go to the Finder and move them from their current location to the Bookends iCloud sync folder (the one with the Bookends icon).

Note: if you are syncing with a Mac, attachments must be actually present on the HD or SSD, Bookends can't find them if they are stored only in the cloud. Therefore if you have Optimize Mac Storage turned on in iCloud Drive options you may find some PDFs cannot be found because they have been uploaded. For Bookends to use them they must be downloaded in the Finder by clicking on the small downward arrow next to their icons. As of version 13.4.2, Bookends will try to do this for you automatically.

Bookends for iOS will download files from iCloud Drive -> Bookends folder only if they are 50 MB or smaller.

As files are downloaded in the background by iOS, it may take some time until you see the attachments in Bookends for iOS.

Note that smart groups on the Mac will not sync with Bookends for iOS and vice versa. The search capabilities are far more extensive on the Mac and can’t be duplicated in Bookends for iOS.

Troubleshooting tip 1: Sometimes the Bookends sync folder will not appear in the Mac iCloud Drive even after completing the above steps. You may be able to fix this by taking these steps:

1. Turn off iCloud Drive in iOS Settings.
2. Close Settings.
3. Open Settings and turn iCloud Drive on.
4. Let Bookends sync.

Troubleshooting tip 2: If the sign in window on your Mac is blank, you can take these steps to sign in.

1. Sign In from the cloud icon menu with the Option key pressed.
2. You will be directed to your default standalone browser, where you should enter your login information. Check "Keep me signed in".
3. After a successful sign in the Bookends home page will be shown. Copy the full URL for this page and switch to Bookends. Click the cloud icon and Sign Out and Sign in again.