Audiobooks on iOS

Does anyone know if it is possible to get an audiobook onto an iOS device (not into a third party application, into iBooks) without specifically syncing it via a Mac and iTunes? I’ve been hammering at this for a few days and I feel I am missing something.

I haven’t tried it for audiobooks, but for epubs and pdfs, any app that can share a file should be able to send the file to iBooks (ios 2 through 11). I use Goodreader as my file system, but pretty much anything that handles files ought to work. I’ve downloaded things in iCab and sent to the iBooks with no trouble.

I haven’t played with Apple’s Files app much, but maybe you could send or drag files into iBooks that way, too.

Getting files out of iBooks seems to require a Mac and either iTunes or something like Imazing. I haven’t found any way to extract annotations if I forget to mail them to myself, though they seem to be backed up–if you put a book with the right name back in iBooks, the annotations come back, even years later…

Where do the audiobooks reside, on a Mac or PC or are they to be downloaded off the internet?

Do you not load the audiobook into iBooks on the Mac? It should sync automatically.

Audiobooks are in iTunes on the Mac. They do not automatically sync unless I set iTuenst to sync ALL the audiobooks. I do not want all the audiobooks synced, I just want to be able to access the ones I want. The only thing I can do is access the audiobook via Files, Dropbox, or the web and play it as if it were a movie files. 1x speed, no saving position, no chapters.

I can’t get the desired audiobook into iBooks, Overcast, Poodcast player, or any other audio player that can actually properly manage an audiobook.

I’m a lightweight audio book user, so my criteria for an “audio player that can actually properly manage an audiobook” might be weak. That said, I’ve been using “MP3 Audiobook Player Pro” to play books from Librivox

You can use Airdrop to move books downloaded on your Mac (Librivox files are .zip archives of chapter files) to your iOS device, and it will offer to import directly into MP3 Audiobook Player Pro.


Overcast offers premium members the ability to upload up to 1 GB of audio files. I’ve done this myself. I’ve even uploaded files from my phone using Safari (from both Dropbox and OneDrive.)

I think this is part of the general problem on iOS that you can’t get audio files into the system library without going to a Mac and iTunes. I once downloaded some music files on my phone (legally, I’d purchased them) and could not get them into my library for playing in the music app, no matter what I tried. Eventually had to wait until I was on my Mac, send them over, add to iTunes, sync. Really poor design. :disappointed:

1 Like

All these solutions involve getting the file onto a computer and then getting it into iOS in the right program.

What I am trying to do is get an audiobook into a player app without the computer.

I know that it is not possible with music files, but audiobooks should be treated differently since they are managed entirely differently. I can, for example, access a movie or TV show or “home video” on my iOS device without sending it from my computer into the right app.

Looks like what I want is not possible,

Like I said, it’s possible with Overcast, uploading using mobile Safari on iOS. See

Are they DRMed? You’ll need a non-Apple app that understands that DRM. What/who created the files? What’s the underlying codec? Can you fiddle the file extension to turn it into some other audio type, as with creating a ringtone from an AAC by changing the extension from m4a to m4r?

I downloaded a random DRM-free m4b audiobook from onto my phone with iCab, then downloaded the Bookmobile audiobook app (suggested at Tom’s Hardware, free trial). I was able to send it the file from iCab, though it didn’t show up. I had to go through a non-obvious ‘create’ step, but once I did that (leaving the title/author field blank since those were embedded in the file), it showed up and plays. Lets me choose a chapter and skip around. I don’t know how good the control are since I don’t do audio books. But it claims to be able to handle DRM from Audible and iTunes.

@kreme if the audiobooks are not on your computer, where are they?

Your post seemed to imply that you could get the files into Dropbox or on a web site (“I can … access the audiobook via Files, Dropbox, or the web”). MP3 Audiobook Player can import directly from Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, MailRu Cloud, and others. I believe you can also use Files to send any visible .zip file on the iOS device to the player. When I download a .zip audiobook file using iOS Safari, it offers to open it in the audiobook player.

It seems that this covers just about any likely file source. Of course, it doesn’t answer the question of what happens if the file isn’t available in a format the audiobook player recognizes, or whether MP3 Audiobook Player meets your criteria as a program “that can actually properly manage an audiobook.”

The audiobooks are in iCloud Drive and in Dropbox and are not DRMed. I can access them without issue, but I was not able to play them as audiobooks. However, it looks like Overcast’s upload feature will work (I knew about this, but it did not used to work in iOS Safari so I didn’t try it most recently), thanks @ddmiller, I should have paid closer attention to your initial post.

1 Like