Restoring Missing PDFs in iBooks

You know for a fact that you have a specific PDF pattern saved in your iBooks….and suddenly you are missing some files! If that happened to you after an IOS update, no need to panic, these files can be easily recovered from iCloud in 3 simple steps. If you have multiple Apple devices connected to the same ID (example – iPhone & iPad), I would recommend to go through these steps on all devices at the same time.


Close iBooks app & go to Settings > Apple ID > iCloud
Scroll down to find iBooks icon and switch the green slider to the OFF position.


Wait about 20+ seconds….NO rush or it won’t work! Now reset your device. For example, if you have an iPad —> press & hold the Home button + Power button at the same time until you see the Apple logo.


Once your device is reset & ready to use, go again to Settings > Apple ID > iCloud & turn the slider for iBooks back to ON position (it should be green).

iBooks Files Recovery - Missing PDF Patterns

Now open your app and the missing files should be restored from iCloud. If you still do not see missing files, tap on “Collections” at the very top of the screen and make sure that you see “All Books” & the “Hide iCloud Books” is in the OFF position.

iBooks Files Recovery - Missing PDF Patterns


This article is based on my personal experience; please understand that I do not have answers for different app-related issues. There might be different reasons for similar issues and different ways to fix them. I am not a certified specialist, you can contact Apple support if you need additional help with Apple product.


  1. Susan Paquin says:

    Didn’t work with iOS 11 update. Just when I thought this was going to work because your steps were the first of its kind from what I have been finding in my research. Cannot believe this, or can I? UGH!!!

    • IraRott says:

      Hi Susan, they don’t make our lives easier, do they? I just got the latest IOS update and it didn’t work on my devices either. Hope they fix it with the next update. Please let us know if you find a solution. I am backing up everything to my Dropbox from now on.

  2. Solenne says:

    Thanks a million ! I thought I had lost some of my precious crochet patterns ! Your tips worked amazingly and everything is back to normal =D

  3. Bluenightingale54 says:

    WOW! Your hack is very handy. It worked well for me. I’m glad I don’t have to redownload every PDF file that was lost. Those are really vital for my Nursing Licensure Examination review in the UK.

    Thank you so much and more power to you!

  4. Carol says:

    Didn’t work. Lost hundreds of patterns. I think Apple to stop messing up how you have set up your device. It also messed up my email program. Having to get used to a whole new interface. Hate it!

  5. Trish says:

    The last point of this article helped me without doing the iCloud on/off trick. On my MacBook the Sort By option includes “Show iCloud Books” (“Hide iCloud Books”), rather than under collections. It had somehow flipped to the mode where they are hidden and when I clicked Show all my files reappeared. Thank goodness!

  6. Cora Brown says:

    Thank you so much for this tip! I have been going crazy reloading disappearing PDFs. Your tip worked like a charm.

  7. Jas says:

    Thank you so much, it worked! I have so many pdf books I was shocked when it transfer the few that are not my ipad and got rid of over 400 books! So glad this still works in 2020 I really appreciate you sharing! 🙂

  8. Susan says:

    This hasn’t worked for me 🙁 and I have a pattern that I am in middle of doing . When I go to collections I do not have all books or the hide iCloud there ?

  9. Abdullah Zia says:

    If you have an Ipad 2 and ios 9.3.5 is the latest update then I recommend to leave your ipad open once you open ibooks app for the last time. I did the thing it did not work and when i just put the ipad down due to pure frustration (ibooks app still open) they all started coming back. Note that it took a good 5 mins or so…….

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