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Best Way to Load Library onto iPad


iPF Noob
Aug 25, 2017
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Since this is my first post here I will briefly introduce myself as a computer technician who generally avoids Apple products at work. They are pretty slick as personal devices but I often find irritating things about them. Long story short, I had the chance to cash in some promotional "reward" points and got a new 128GB iPad (not a Pro.) Maybe this will get me more familiar with these things from use.

What I want to do is load my digital book library onto this iPad and use it as an "ereader." Most of the files are pdfs and epubs. The app that looks best to me is KyBook.

Right off the bat, I'm irritated -- but I'm trying to figure it out and looking to those with more iOS experience. iBooks and iTunes don't seem to deal well with files that weren't purchased through them. KyBooks looks better than iBooks anyway, but the main irritation is getting the files into the iPad. Obviously there is no USB port, but even with an adapter into the Lightning port, a useful file system is intentionally omitted. Third-party apps seem to be the way around this but I don't know how well they actually work. I'm thinking the SanDisk iXpand is looking like it might work, or perhaps their Connect. Pushing 80GB worth of files up through some cloud service would just be stupid. Is there anyone here who has done something similar successfully? Would I be able to load these files into the iPad in a location KyBook will be able to access? Is there some app that would make the Lightning/USB connection really work to simply transfer files?
A brief read of KyBooks description shows that it supports WebDAV. As a computer tech you shouldn't have too much trouble researching and setting WebDAV on the computer where you're keeping your book collection. With a little luck, this should work well.

Some apps have what is commonly called a wi-fi drive mode. When you turn it on it supplies a URL that you can enter in your computer's web browser of choice. A web based file transfer tool then lets you transfer files to/from the app. While KyBooks does not seem to have this option, it is something to keep an eye out for when researching other reading apps.

Personaly, I just use iBooks and/or the Kindle app. iBooks handles PDF and ePubs very well. However, I've never had to import a huge number of non-iBook books. I built up my collection little by little, and importing a few non-DRM ePubs at a time is no big deal. I have some older ebooks in mobi format, dating back from my Palm days. Those ended up in the Nook app eventually, due to various aquisistions and such. Since they are almost all DRM, there they stay.

I rarely use the Kindle app for anything but Amazon eBooks, but there are ways to import .mobi non-DRM books. Most of my ebooks sources offer an ePub format options, so I've never used this. I have imported a few PDF reference files, so that I can have them handy on my Kindle Fire and PaperWhite devices.

As a general rule I don't keep or read PDF files in iBooks. I have no PDF novels. They are all manuals or other referenc documents. On the iPad I keep them in Documents by Readdle for easier markup and editing (extracting single pages, or adding pages).
I don't bother to keep all my books on my 128GB iPad Air2 all the time – only the ones I'm actively reading. The rest I keep on my computer's HDs, or if I think I may need them soon, on my (free of charge) Dropbox account. I use (free of charge) iBook to read ePubs, (free of charge) Kindle reader for Amazon's books, and Adobe's (free of charge) Acrobat for PDFs. These apps have been through several generations of development, are pretty easy to use (Dropbox – not quite so much, but that's what you get for trying to expose the iPad's filing system in defiance of Apple's intentions) and are supported by well-resourced corporations rather than hobbyist programmers.

If I'm at home it's simple to transfer documents wirelessly from my Mac to my iPad. If I'm not at home, I turn on my iPhone's hot spot function and transfer files from Dropbox. It's not difficult.

However, it's possible that the release of iOS 11 next month will change the game somewhat – the new Files app in particular sounds like the answer to many file system-lovers' prayers.
Thanks for the responses, I do appreciate them. I probably could figure out the WebDAV but this is already getting to be way more complicated than it should be. Without turning this into an anti-Apple rant and going into the details of a security question issue when purchasing a $4.99 app that turned into an 8 hour lockout that Apple support couldn't fix. After I finally got in and installed the app, I found that it required iTunes on a computer. --So I dug out an old iMac I had, only to find out that the computer side of this app required OSX 10.9 and that machine can only run 10.75. I'm putting it away for now but will be back. Thanks again.
Update: Some progress. I got a 32GB iXpand USB/Lightning drive and was able to get the files transferred somewhere inside the iPad. The iXpand drive works nicely. I can just move the files on to the drive with the USB on my computer, unplug it from that then plug it into the Lightning port on the iPad and open the iXpand app. There is one button to copy the files into the iPad. The app decides where the files go apparently based on their file type. PDFs, ePubs and docx files go into the regular folder, not the photo or video folder.

Now that they are in there I can open the PDFs in the iXpand app fairly reliably but other file types are more difficult. When a file is selected there is an option of opening with other apps - but it is hit or miss whether it will actually open or import into in any of the three or four other reader apps. I pretty much just have to throw ePub files at the various apps and hope they stick to one of them. It does not seem to be predictable and none of the reader apps can directly just access the iXpand folder. The ePub files are fine and open in all the readers I have previously used. Bluefire Reader seems to be the most likely to open the ePub files. Documents seems to be the most likely to docx files. I still have to find something good for odt files.

The lack of an accessible file management system makes things really inconvenient but I am figuring out how to get some functionality out of this device.
Your problem is the result of the iOS operating system not having a central file management system. Apps are strictly limited in how they can directly interact with other apps due to the app sandboxing rules in iOS. That's why your reader apps cannot directly access the iXpand folder. Files have to be directly imported into an app to be used by that app. There are cloud based services that can be accessed by apps, such as Dropbox but a file downloaded to the iPad can only be accessed by the app it was imported to.
The iXpand is the latest version 4.4.2 and I just updated the iPad to iOS 11. The onscreen keyboard is a little bit better and from what I read it should be better at sharing files between apps. That probably won't show up until new versions of the apps show up. We'll see.
Since iOS 11 is still in beta, you won't see many (if any) apps updated to support the new Files app. Other than those that Apple included in the beta, anyway.

But I wouldn't get my hopes up too high. In my experience these external drive/hardware support apps tend to lag. I've got the Lexar app and Lighning/USB drive. It's one of the least friendly apps I've seen, and it is rarely if ever updated.

So, if the iXpand app and device gets updated and works well with iOS 11, please let me know. :)
Well, the File app in iOS 11 is an improvement. Hopefully it will continue to improve with updates. So far with my testing, it still feels like just another app, not really part of the operating system. It is not very robust and chokes easily when moving multiple files between folders. When I try to move more than about 32 at a time I sometimes get "The Operation Can't Be Completed. Couldn't communicate with a helper application." This makes sorting large numbers of files pretty tedious.

On the positive side, new folders can be created for keeping things somewhat organized, and files in the iXpand app can be copied into the Files app. This provides a way of getting files into the app that is not through the cloud or iTunes. The next step will be figuring out how to import from USB/Lighting directly in the File app.
The Files app should become more useful as more developers support it. DropBox has already updated so that it appears native in the Files app.

Also, there is an API that lets developers use the Files brower inside their app, giving you the same access and interface as if you had opend the Files app. Apple has shown the way by updating all their iWorks apps. Hopefully this will become popular, and we can count on having the same access to our files inside all our apps as we do through the Files app.

Like you, I’d like to see the Files app get the ability to access files via the Lightning port (either directly or through a thrid party app); however I haven’t seen any indication that Apple has opend up this possibility. I hope I’m wrong.
I had a chance to work with this a little more tonight and found that through the iXpand app, I can transfer from the iXpand Lightning/USB drive directly into the Files app. This is not quite as good as having the iXpand show up in the FIles app but it is close enough for what I am trying to do right now.
I’m glad you mentioned that, because it turn out my Lexar device/app does the same; and that is awesome. Getting files from the office computer to the iPad just became a lot easier.

Still a several step pain to do it the other way around, unfortunately.

Luckily, it’s almost always computer to iPad that I’m needing.

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