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PocketBib for BibTeX, BibDesk and JabRef

By Graham Dennis

This app is only available on the App Store for iOS devices.


PocketBib is a BibTeX library reader for academics on the go. With PocketBib you can search, browse and read the papers in your BibTeX library, and synchronise them with BibDesk or JabRef on your computer. You can edit existing entries, and you can even annotate your papers in another app, then re-import them to PocketBib and your annotated paper will be uploaded! PocketBib supports Dropbox, Google Drive, SugarSync and WebDAV storage services for accessing your BibTeX library and linked files.

PocketBib features:

● Entry editing. You can edit the BibTeX fields of existing entries and automatically upload the new BibTeX library.
● Parsing BibTeX libraries, including understanding TeX character accents. “Döring” is displayed correctly, not as “D{\"o}ring”.
● Sync your libraries using Dropbox, Google Drive, SugarSync, or WebDAV, or add them to your device directly through iTunes.
● Support for JabRef and BibDesk groups with the exception of JabRef 'search' groups.
● Search for entries by title, author, abstract, etc.
● Browse your papers by keywords.
● Tap to download and view linked PDF files. The PDF files must be linked in BibDesk / JabRef.
● Automatically sync all linked files. Just go to settings and select ‘All Linked Files’ in ‘Offline Cache Size’. The default is to keep a 200Mb cache of the most recently used files.
● Although annotating files is not supported, and ‘unflattened’ annotations cannot be viewed, you can send a PDF to another application, make your annotations and then send it back to PocketBib. PocketBib will then offer to upload the new file, replacing the original.
● You can email BibTeX entries with the paper attached.
● Multiple group selection on the iPad: tap and hold on a group to engage multiple select mode and the articles list will display only the articles in all of the groups.
● It's fast! PocketBib has been tested on libraries with thousands of papers.

User reviews:

“Great mobile addition to BibDesk! This is the app I was waiting for! Combined with BibDesk on Mac and Dropbox, it turns the iPad into the perfect reference library.”

“Finally, an app for the BibTeX + Dropbox -> iPad academic workflow! I've been looking for an app for reading academic papers for months now ever since I bought my iPad, but amazingly nothing existed for browsing a directory of pdfs + a bibtex file until now.”

“Even with almost six thousand PDFs, this app handles it all with aplomb and the new updates makes keeping the PDFs in sync even easier.”

“It is flawless! Works like a charm.”

What's New in Version 1.7.2

Version 1.7.2:
● Support JabRef 3.7 groups.

Version 1.7.1:
● Support JabRef 3.4+ groups. These groups are now defined by the "groups" field on individual BibTeX entries.

Version 1.7.0:
● Make PocketBib not crash on iOS 9. It's the small things that count...


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Customer Reviews

Great app, missing some features

This app works seamlessly with BibDesk and Dropbox. I keep my bib library in my Dropbox folder along with all my linked files, and I can easily download and open the pdfs with this app. I also annotate the files in Goodnotes (or whatever program) and then export them back to PocketBib, which automatically replaces the files in my Dropbox with the annotated version. Sometimes this does break the file links in BibDesk, but PocketBib issues a warning to close BibDesk first. This requirement is annoying but maybe its an issue with BibDesk. I would give the app 5 stars if it were possible add new references in PocketBib. Because this features is missing, I cannot perform a lit search on my iPad, I have to use my MacBook, which is unfortunate.


As of October 2, this no longer syncs with Dropbox.

Until this is updated to work with the new Dropbox API (as of end of September 2017), I can't recommend it. Unfortunately the developer has given no indication as to whether he plans to update it, despite user requests.

Old review:
For working viewing BibDesk records on iOS, this works great - but there is a lot more that could be done with extensions/share sheets and / or URL schemes to allow for more automation, templated output, etc., to integrate bibliographic records into other writing tools, etc. There are lots of great suggestions on the support site waiting for action - it's been well over a year since the last substantive update.

Happy with this app

By syncing my bibdesk database via Dropbox this app lets me see the papers in my collection, search through them, and open the pdfs of each paper. All the features I wanted to use work well.

PocketBib for BibTeX, BibDesk and JabRef
View in iTunes
This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad
  • $9.99
  • Category: Productivity
  • Updated:
  • Version: 1.7.2
  • Size: 12.1 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller:

Compatibility: Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

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