Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to a few common questions. If you need more help, choose one of the buttons on the bottom of the page to learn more or contact us.


+ How do I change a tool's default settings?

Tap the tool before making an annotation and change the settings in the menu on the upper right. You can also press down most tools to change the settings from the popup menu.

If you change the settings after making an annotation, the app views the change as specific to the annotation, and not the tool, so the change won't be permanent.

+ How do I scroll faster through lengthy documents?

Try pages view. To access, tap the navigation box in the top right corner of the screen (next to the magnifying glass). This opens the navigation pane. Tap pages in the bottom left to enter pages view.

+ How do I scroll while still using the highlighter tool?

Simply scroll with two fingers to suspend a tool.

+ How do I use my Apple Pencil to scroll?

The default setting for the Apple Pencil is to automatically annotate when you use it. To turn this off, go to your main library > gear icon > tap Annotation > turn off Auto-Add Markup to Annotations.

+ Why is there a note automatically appearing above my annotations?

You probably have the Auto-Add Markup to Annotations setting turned on. To turn off, go to your main library > tap the gear icon > tap App Settings > tap Annotation > turn off Auto-Add Markup to Annotations.

+ Where did all my tabs go? There's just one long orange tab now.

When you have a large number of documents open (typically around 15), iAnnotate will consolidate your tabs into a drop down menu. Tap the grey pages icon on the right side of the orange tab to open the drop down menu.

To return to tab view, simply close a few of your documents and reset the view either by returning to your main library or rotating your device from portrait to landscape (or vice versa).

+ My toolbox is gone. Where did it go?

Sometimes the toolbox can disappear if there's a large amount of tools on a toolbar. To bring it back, rotate your device to portrait mode. Then, the toolbox should reappear. Once it's back, remove a couple tools and then it should be available in both portrait and landscape mode again.

We recognize that this isn't the best behavior and are working towards improving it.

+ I keep accidentally making annotations with my palm. Is there any way to prevent this?

Try the wrist guard!

Purchasing the App

+ Is iAnnotate 4 a separate purchase from iAnnotate PDF?

Yes, iAnnotate 4 requires a separate purchase. We released it this way because we put a lot of effort into updating iAnnotate for new platforms, adding new features, and preparing it for a really bright future.

We are very proud to have provided six years of free updates and support for the older app without any in-app purchases and hope that our users can understand.

+ Is the iPhone app a separate purchase? Do I have to buy iAnnotate 4 again for my other iPad?

No. If you're logged in with the same Apple ID on each of your devices, you'll see iAnnotate 4 available for download in the purchased section of your App Store.

To access this section in iOS 11, open the App Store > tap your account icon in the top right > tap Purchased.


+ Does iAnnotate 4 have offline support?

Yes, iAnnotate 4 does offer offline support. Files that save to Local Files and iCloud Drive are automatically saved offline. Other cloud storage locations have the Download for Offline Access feature.

To use it, select a file from a cloud storage service, then tap the ellipsis (...) at the bottom of the screen. You should see a button that says Download for Offline Access. Use this to be able to open the file when you're offline. You can always save your work back when you connect again and, once online, your changes will automatically sync.

+ Why aren't all of my documents available in my iCloud storage connection? My other connections seem to work just fine.

The iCloud Drive connection that you create in iAnnotate is only able to show files that are associated with iAnnotate. So, the only files you'll see in that folder are files you saved to iCloud from within iAnnotate.

However, if you select the orange plus sign at the bottom of the screen and tap "Import File", you'll see a popup view of your different folders in iCloud. To work with a file in iAnnotate, simply go to that folder and select the file you'd like to work with.

+ How do I transfer my documents from Version 3 to Version 4?

It is very easy to transfer your files from v3 to v4 and, once transferred, all of your annotations will still be there. If your files are saved to a cloud storage connection, like Dropbox, they'll be there when you create that same connection in iAnnotate 4.

If you have files saved to your Local Files, simply select them and choose the Send to v4 action. They'll then appear in your Local Files storage connection (once you add it) in iAnnotate 4.

+ How do I transfer my documents from one device to another?

If your files are saved to a cloud storage connection, like Google Drive, they'll be there when you create that same connection in iAnnotate on your new device. If they're saved to Local Files, you'll want to use iTunes File Sharing. To use it, follow these steps:

In iAnnotate on both devices

  • Open the main library and tap the orange plus sign.
  • Tap Add Storage.
  • Tap Add iTunes File Sharing.

In iAnnotate on device with original documents

  • Select the files you'd like to transfer.
  • Tap the "..." icon at the bottom of the screen.
  • Tap Copy To...
  • Choose iTunes File Sharing.

In iTunes

  • Sync the device with the original documents with iTunes.
  • Press File Sharing on the left (used to be called Apps).
  • Scroll down in the main window to the File Sharing section and select iAnnotate.
  • You should see your files, be able to select them, and press Save To... to back them up to your computer.
  • Sync your new device with iTunes and go to File Sharing.
  • Select iAnnotate and click Add to add your old files.

Your files will then appear in the iTunes File Sharing location in iAnnotate on your new device and you can copy them to your preferred storage location.

+ How do I transfer documents between storage locations?

It is not currently possible to directly transfer documents between storage locations. However, you can copy your files to another location. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Select the files you'd like to copy.
  • Tap the "..." icon at the bottom of the screen.
  • Tap Copy To....
  • Choose the storage location you'd like to copy them to.

+ How do I change where my files are automatically backing up to?

Change your Auto-Backup locaiton. Open your main library > tap the gear icon > tap Auto-Backup Location and choose your preferred location.

Troubleshooting Tips

1. I can't seem to open this one file. What could be going wrong?

If you're having issues specific to one file, there may be a problem with the file itself. A great first troubleshooting step is to see if you have the same problems in other PDF readers, like Adobe Acrobat or ibooks. If so, that's a preety clear indicator that the file is corrupt.

Can't highlight and/or search through a document? Check out our support article on OCR scanning.

2. My file won't save and the app says to check my internet connection. What do I do?

There are a few reasons why this can happen (we're working on more specific error messages), so here are a few things to try when troubleshooting:

  • Try disabling auto-save (tap the title header > tap Disable Auto-Save.
  • Try changing the name of the file slightly (e.g. add a number to the end).
  • Try emailing one of these as an annotate file, then saving that copy.
  • Try saving the file to another storage location.

3. I'm having trouble with my storage connection. Any tips?

There's a chance that there may be a problem with your current connection. A good tip is to try creating a new connection with your same account. You can do this by opening your main library > tapping the orange plus sign in the bottom right > tapping Add Storage > tapping Add (choose your connection).

You'll now see two icons for your connection, and the issue may be resolved with the second connection.

4. When in doubt, try force-quitting the app.

To force-quit, double tap the iPad's home button > a screen with all of your open apps appears > swipe up on iAnnotate > reopen iAnnotate.


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