Setup syncing with Papers for Mac (Versions up to 1.9.20)

NOTE! Syncing with Papers for Mac 2.0 or later is explained here.


Synchronize Papers on your Mac with your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch so you’ll always have the knowledge of your entire personal library of research at your fingertips wherever you are.

1. Pairing your iOS device to your Mac

This only needs to be done once after which your iOS device will automatically appear in the source list of Papers on your Mac every time it appears in the same network.


If there's no wireless network available, you can create a computer-to-computer network from your Mac and to connect to your iOS device. If you’re unsure how to do this see this article from Apple.

2. Start Papers on both your Mac and your iOS device

  • On your iOS device open the Papers app and tap settings (a). Then, tap syncronize (b).


  • Tap the switch to enable syncing and select your Mac in the list of available computers.


  • A dialog window will appear on your Mac asking you to confirm the pairing of the two devices.

  • If you do so your iOS device should appear in the source list and the sync options will be shown.

  • If this doesn't work some common problems include issues with firewalls, routers, and wifi problems in your mac. Check out this thread for some possible solutions.

3. Selecting which articles to Sync

You can currently sync up to 1000 articles from your library to your iPhone or iPod touch, or up to 5000 to your iPad. First you can select which collections you wish to synchronize, the indicator at the bottom of the screen will show how many papers you have selected and how many you could still add.


You can select both manual and smart collections to sync with your iPhone or iPod, but note that smart collections are no longer updated on the Phone or iPod and remain static until you synchronize them again with your Mac.

In addition to the selection of specific collections you can use the autofill option to fill up the remaining number of 1000 papers automatically with papers from your library that have been sorted by the criterium you select from the autofill popup button.

For example, if you have selected 300 papers from different collections and have activated the autofill option in combination with "Last Imported Date", Papers will automatically select the last 700 papers you imported into your library for syncing with your iPhone or iPod touch.

4. Syncing your iPad, iPhone or iPod with your Mac

Once you have selected which papers to sync with your mobile device click the sync button to start the sync process.

Note that depending on how many articles you have selected, the first time you sync with your mobile device can take a little while, approximately 30 minutes for 1000 papers with PDFs. Make sure you have sufficient battery life to last the entire sync session, or even better, connect your iOS to the power.

After the initial sync session Papers is smart enough to only sync the changes and syncing will be much faster.

Select bidirectional syncing if you wish to sync back any new articles you download or apply any changes you make on your mobile device back to your library on the Mac.


Or choose Mac-to-iPhone or Mac-to-iPod to discard any changes and bring your mobile library back into the same state as the library on your Mac.

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