Sync PDF Documents with PDFpen 7 and iCloud Drive

Thanks to iCloud Drive, one of the few differences between PDFpen from the Mac App Store v.s. direct from the Smile store has been removed, that of document sync.

Specifically, version 7 of PDFpen and PDFpenPro, purchased directly from Smile, can sync documents with PDFpen for iPad & iPhone version 2 and with PDFpen Scan+ via iCloud Drive. Here’s how.


  • You must be running iOS 8 (or later) and have iCloud Drive enabled on your iPad and/or iPhone
  • In the PDFpen for iPad & iPhone and/or PDFpen Scan+ settings, you must have iCloud turned on
  • You must be running OS X Yosemite (or later) and have iCloud Drive enabled on your Mac

On the iPad and iPhone, once you’ve turned iCloud on in the app settings, all of your documents are stored on iCloud and synced automatically.

On the Mac, only the special “PDFpen container” folder is synced with the iPad and iPhone. That folder is found at the top level of iCloud Drive and is named “PDFpen”, “PDFpenPro”, or “Scan+”. When you modify documents in the PDFpen container folder, they are synced with your iPad and iPhone. Documents stored elsewhere in your iCloud drive on your Mac can be imported on the iPad and iPhone, but they will not sync.

For example, here is what that iCloud folder looks like in the open dialog (File > Open) of PDFpen or PDFpenPro 7.

Open Dialog - Cmd+O

Note: The PDFpen container folder may have any of the three visible names noted above, and its visible name may change over time. Under the hood, both the actual name of the folder and its contents are consistent. The visible name is just a cosmetic issue which appears to stem from an Apple bug with how the names of shared iCloud Drive folders are shown in the Finder and file dialogs. Hopefully, this will be fixed in a future update to Yosemite.

If you have questions about syncing your documents, please contact us.

(Aside from the standard differences in all apps purchased directly from the developer v.s. the Mac App Store, the only other difference specific to PDFpen is Library sync, which does require the iCloud available in the Mac App Store version.)