Can someone explain why when I go to read a book in Apple Books, it is no longer on my device but in the "cloud"

Here is the scenario. I have a book on my iPad (with only 130/256 used) and when I am on a plane with no internet, I decide to read the book. It is no longer on my iPad and it has the little cloud symbol under it. What are the rules for this? Is there a time limit before it gets snatched back into my iCloud book storage? Is there no setting for “Keep on Device”?

Yeah when I’m short on space, iOS will optimize and offload books to the cloud. To keep my books locally, I used a 3rd party ebook reader to keep my epubs on my device. Sadly, 3rd party apps can’t access ebooks that have DRM on them.

it’s a 256gb device with barely half of the space used. that’s why it is so strange and I cannot figure it out. there is no logical reason for this behavior.

Not sure if it’s related, but I’ve been experiencing an issue when I open the Books app where it will temporarily “forget” anything that I didn’t buy from the Apple book store. A few seconds later it finally shows all my ePubs and PDFs, but I have to re-download them first. So annoying.

I do not think iCloud actually cares about how much space you have, it just uploads everything at random. I’ve never found any way to predict what iCloud will to do my files.

If only they’d let you choose, but I guess that’s too technical for the “average user” to think about

I took my iPad out of the icloud loop and just manually copied the files with imazing. I don’t want to do this with every device though.

This has been happening to me for a long time; it’s very irritating. I believe it’s just a careless implementation of cloud storage and that Apple has never got around to sorting it out.

I use calibre as my canonical library - I can access it remotely (it’s on my desktop) and get books from there f need be. At least I know where they are.

Incidentally, if you use Books with iCloud, they’re accessible via the Files app on the device.

Yes to both of these. I haven’t noticed this as an issue for a while now, and I don’t use iBooks these days, but there was a point (early/mid 2020, I think?) where the offloading of local files drove me to call Apple Support to try to determine what the criteria for it might be. Suffice to say, the techs I spoke to (escalated to a senior) couldn’t tell me anything. ICloud Drive used to disturb some of my Scriptable scripts which were in constant use, so it definitely wasn’t a “lack of recent use” thing. Sad to hear that it’s still an issue, but it once again makes me wonder whether there’s some specific conditions under which it appears…

I think there’s a good chance that Apple forgot the Books app exists.


It’s more likely that their software devs are nowhere near as good as their hardware devs.

1 Like

The fact that they just removed the book-like page-turning animation (among other things) in iPadOS 16 is evidence to the contrary.