Feature request, iOS Beta: option to download all files at sync time

edited March 13, 2021
It would be great to add the feature to download all pdfs to Zotero iOS at sync time. I have tens of thousands of PDFs and I’ve gotten used to having them all downloaded on my iPad via iCloud/zotfile. I don’t at all mind switching to Zotero storage but it would be great not to have to download all 34,601 pdfs manually. I think some other users may have the same request. Thank you for a great app!
  • I think we can do this, but we may wait until after the beta — I'm not sure how reliably we can migrate beta users to the App Store version without their deleting the existing beta app, which would delete local data. (I think it's supposed to be possible to switch over, but accounts vary.)

    (We'll also need to add some support for handling of low storage conditions when it's supposed to download gigabytes of files.)
  • No problem to wait until the App Store app--makes sense. Thanks!
  • edited March 14, 2021
    +1. I'll just chime in to say that it would be enormously helpful to be able to have my full library of PDFs on my iPhone while offline. This comes in handy when doing field research in remote areas.

    My vote would be to implement full sync/download even during the beta. I wouldn't mind deleting everything and re-downloading once the App Store version is released.

  • I also would not mind having to re-download everything after the App Store version is released.
  • Just in case it has not been considered, I would like to add that the possibility of selecting which collections to sync (as well as the binary nothing/everything function) would also be a nice to have :) .
  • I would also be very interested in this option. Do you know when the app will be available on the store? I came in too late to have access to the beta, but I'm very interested in trying the app
  • The perfect solution would be if PDF download could be initiated by collections as well as by search lists, e.g. when filtering by tags/keywords. This approach is also more friendly for large full libraries.
  • @erdoke: As in being able to download all PDFs within a given collection manually, or by enabling automatic on-demand downloads for a given collection? We can certainly do the former easily.

    We also may be able to add a context menu when multiple items are selected, so you'd always be able to do a Select All (e.g., for a search) and trigger downloading.
  • @dstillman
    Yes, just the manual download all PDFs of a collection. Also nailed the download option for all items of a search/filter. Thanks in advance
  • (I forgot that we've looked into this before and it's not possible to show a context menu for multiple items, so we'll have to come up with something else for search results.)
  • Perhaps selected items could be flagged and then flagged items downloaded via a dedicated menu option? Flagging works for mail items in e.g. the iOS Mail app, although there’s a separate folder for those mails that enables further manipulation. I’d be fine with a similar solution, too.
  • fyi this is already implemented, just long-press on the collection and select "Download all attachments". That's great, thank you very much! :)
  • edited March 18, 2022
    Great to see that this is implemented! It definitely works for individual collections. When I do it for "All Items", however, it's hard to tell whether it's working, because there doesn't seem to be any sort of progress indicator. (My "All Items" has around 1500 attachments). There are progress indicators for individual files, but when I scroll through "All Items", I don't notice any of them actively downloading.

    EDIT: I see that I can filter for "Downloaded Files", but the number of items that shows up with the filter seems to be remaining static, which would seem to suggest that my 1500 attachments are not actively downloading.
  • Very glad to see this implemented with the exit from beta. Thank you.

    Fwiw, discovery of this ability by the user is nearly impossible. I spent 5 minutes rooting around in the settings very confused why there was no "download all attachments" option under Settings > Local Storage. (This would be a very natural place for it, seeing as this is where one deletes all attachments from local storage.) Had to come to this thread to discover what to do.
  • edited March 23, 2022
    @jessriedel: There will be an option in settings to download all files. The functionality just hasn't been implemented yet.

    Downloading all files in a collection is a different feature.
  • @dstillman got it, thanks.

    As you probably know, after one selects a library one can long-tap on "all items" and there is a "download attachments" option, which seems like it should download all attachments for all items in the library. However, consistent with lucas's comment, this doesn't work for me. It causes the zotero app to hang for a few seconds (perhaps because my library os 7GB) and then items in the view to the right get the enqueued-to-download symbol (a thin blue circle with dot at center), but they never seem to download. The amount listed in "local storage" for the library also doesn't increase.

    I of course completely understand that the ability to download all attachments for a library won't be available until a future version, but you might consider removing the "download attachments" option from the long-tap menu for "all items" until that feature is implemented correctly, just to avoid user confusion.

    Thank you!
  • @jessriedel, I'm seeing this too with my 30+GB of PDFs: clicking "download all attachments" on "All items" doesn't seem to work.
  • We've fixed a number of issues with file syncing in the latest beta version. If you'd like to test it, you can join the new TestFlight beta group:


    You can reinstall the release version from the App Store at any time.
  • Downloads seem to be progressing now after activating them from "Download attachments" in "All Items". Thanks!

    It still takes a long time to respond after tapping "Download attachments", which is probably due to the size of library, ~18k items and PDFs.
  • A few more observations about the iOS app on my iPad Pro:

    - Tapping "Download attachments" has a ~1 min wait even after downloading all the PDFs.
    - The number of items after I select "Downloaded Files" in Filters is slightly less (17546) than the number total items (17563). Every item has a PDF and the total number of PDFs is 17569 (counted using a saved search in the desktop app). I can't tell yet if some PDFs are actually missing or which ones they might be.

    Any chance of getting an "Items without downloaded files" option in Filters?
  • Hey all,

    thanks for the *great* new app, loving it! I am really glad this "download all" feature exists so I can read on trains etc. However I only found the UI for that by googling it and finding this thread.

    I searched for it in Settings > Local Storage, and I understand that it would not fit in there. But maybe one paragraph of text explaining the feature right there would help!

    To add to the other issue, I long tapped "All items" and downloaded all 500 items, totaling 1GB, no problem. (I use v1.0.2 b2)

    Love the work you do, thanks again!
  • In case this slipped through the cracks, let me note that the "download attachments" command in the long-press menu works on all normal collections but still does not work on "All Items". For that it still just silently does nothing, which is a bit confusing. (Zotero 1.0.3 Build 5 on iPadOS 15.6.1.)

  • Also, a few of my collections don't have an option to "download attachments", and I don't know why. It's just missing from the long-press menu.
  • I'm also not seeing "download attachments" work on "all items on the latest beta.
  • jeremyvancleve: Note that, per dstillman's comment on March 23, this might be a purposeful improvement: if the ability to download all files has not yet been implemented, then it's best if that command is removed from the menu until the feature is ready.
  • Love the new app and ability to download (though like others have pointed out I had to find this thread to learn how to do it). Putting in/seconding a request to demarcate automatic downloads for the entire library/certain collections. Would be great to hop on a flight confident that the latest papers will be on my iPad.
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