Computing Software

How To Install iBooks Author On OS X Snow Leopard

iBooks Author on Snow LeopardApple has just announced iBooks 2 to “reinvent the textbook”. This is directed towards students and teachers to allow for interactive textbooks. Since many educational institutions use iPads, this is a step to lose those heavy textbooks.

Anyone can create a book for iBooks with Apple releasing the iBooks Author app in the Mac Store. It uses simple drag and drop features with Word files and images so that everything is done for you. One drawback is that OS X Lion is required to run iBooks Author.

Since iBooks Author requires you to have OS X Lion installed, it makes it difficult for those of us who have not upgraded from Snow Leopard yet.

Here is how you can get around that and install iBooks Author on Snow Leopard

*Digital Tweaker in no way supports this method and is providing this information for educational purposes only. If you plan on publishing on iBooks, you should upgrade to OS X Lion

  1. Update iTunes to 10.5.3
  2. Open Finder
  3. Click on your hard drive
  4. Double click System
  5. Double click Library
  6. Double click CoreServices
  7. Right click (or Control Click) SystemVersion.plist and select copy (leave this window open or minimized)
  8. Right click (or Control Click) on your desktop and select paste item
  9. Now open the file from your desktop by double clicking
  10. Now change the two places near the bottom of the file where they say <string>10.6.8</string> to <string>10.7.2</string>. Your version may differ such as 10.6.x
  11. Click File->Save
  12. You will be asked to overwrite, select overwrite
  13. Right click (or Control Click) on the file you just edited and select copy
  14. Open the window that you copied SystemVersion.plist from and select Edit->Paste Item. (You will be asked to authenticate, select authenticate) and if you would like to replace the file. Select replace. Enter your password if it asks)
  15. Now go to the Mac App Store and search for iBooks Author and install (Don’t Run Yet)
  16. Be sure to close the Mac App Store (yes you can close as app downloads)
  17. Open the SystemVersion.plist that you edited on your desktop and change what you did previously back to your original version. Example: change both instances of <string>10.7.2</string> to <string>10.6.8</string>
  18. Click File->Save
  19. You will be asked to overwrite, select overwrite
  20. Right click (or Control Click) on the file you just edited and select copy
  21. Open the window that you copied SystemVersion.plist from and select Edit->Paste Item. (You will be asked to authenticate, select authenticate) and if you would like to replace the file. Select replace. Enter your password if it asks)
  22. Now, Go to your Applications folder under your Snow Leopard Hard drive
  23. Right Click (or Control Click) iBooks Author and click Show Contents
  24. Double click Contents folder
  25. Double click Info.plist
  26. Search for 10.7.2 and change to your version of Snow Leopard, in our case 10.6.8
  27. Go to File in the Menu bar and select save
  28. Now open iBooks Author, you should be good to go!
  29. iBooks Author may seem not to work when you open it, but just click File->New to start

**Please note that throughout the process your app icon will probably have a slash through it, this is ok.

Watch The Video Tutorial Here


Run and install iBooks Author on Snow Leopard


  1. For anyone looking for whether this will work with iBooks Author 2.0 released 10/23/2012, the sad answer is it no longer does.
    If you follow these steps you now get a crash on launch with the prime error listed as:
    “Symbol not found: _NSUndoManagerDidCloseUndoGroupNotification”

    Unfortunately I couldn’t find the answer to this online so just had to try it out.
    If you need to stay on Snow Leopard and you want to keep using iBooks Author, don’t upgrade to 2.0. You really will need Lion to use it now.

  2. Hi there,

    Thanks for the method – other methods didn’t work for me (not authorized to change the .plist – so strange as it let me change the copied version and then let me overwrite the one I couldn’t change!!)

    Found an easy solution for the icon…
    right click the iBooks Author app and click on “Get Info”
    Again – right click on iBooks Author app and click on “Show Contents”
    Double click Contents and navigate through to “Resources”
    Scroll down until you find iBooks_Author.icns
    Simply clicking on this will update the icon and get rid of the “Slash”

  3. I was having trouble with the “Need OSX 10.7.2” as well so I dragged iAuthor to trash then back into applications and now it works fine.
    Go figure huh?
    Thanks for a great workaround from those increasingly dodgy, money grabbing folk at Apple.

  4. Finally got it to work. I kept getting error messages from the App Store (“unknown error”), but if I reset, in this order: 1. restart, 2. Open Itunes, 3. change plist file, [follow DTs instructs carefully], it came over great.

    THANKS!!! for helping thwart a case of Apple greed at its worst.

  5. I tried doing the same thing in order to update iBooks Author to 1.0.1, but it didn’t work. App Store still recognized the system as 10.6.8.

    Also, I made sure the owner/group on the replaced file was root/wheel, so permissions wasn’t the issue, I don’t think.

    Is App Store checking something else?

  6. As an update I would like to inform you that this “hack” is not without its problems. If you plan on using .dae files for the 3D widgets you will not be able to import them. Also if you are planning on publishing to iBooks you are best to spend the $30 to upgrade.

  7. Retryed 5 times already. Followed the instructions and I get “You can’t use this version of the application with this version of Mac OSX” You have ver 6.8.X and it requires 7.2.X.
    What seems to be the problem??? Please help…

  8. Help please!
    I was following the steps above mentioned but I missed to closed Itunes WHILE doing the version number change. As soon as I realized that I closed Itunes but I guess it was too late, and some damage was done. Now, when I click on Itunes a ‘famous’ “cannot run application unknown error -50” message appears.
    I tried “reversing” the process and typing the original message, no success. Uninstalling and reinstalling Itunes, no success, Restaring and turning the machine off/back on, no success. THe systemversion.plist is back to where it was (10.6.8, which is my OS version).

    Any advices?


  9. Thanks – worked like a charm to install and run.

    However it seems like the most exciting features still won’t work such as media (it asks to convert any video using QuickTime 10.1) and 3D graphics (starts looking for the SceneKit Framework).

    Let me know if anyone finds a workaround…

  10. Followed the steps works great.After performin these steps you can package the app for deployment. you will not have to change anything on the other Macs as long as they are running 10.6.8. just install and use.

    good find

  11. Will this work on a computer with an Intel Core Duo? I am running 10.6.8, but my processor is not an Intel Core 2 Duo or any of the others required for Lion. Since I am not upgrading to Lion, is that ok? Or do I still need a better processor to run iBooks Author?

  12. Hello. Thank you so much for posting this. I followed the instructions carefully, step by step, but I still ended up with this message when I went to open iBooks Author: “You have Mac OS X 10.6.8. The application requires Mac OS X 10.7.2 or later.” I saw Will’s message about this similar issue, and I was careful to quit the App store before changing the .plist. Any thoughts on what I may have done wrong or why this isn’t working? Thank you!

  13. I am running 10.6.8 on a Mac Pro -2.66 GHz.
    I tried this…Got to step 9, double click on the SystemVersion.plist, it starts to open them crashes. I ran Disk Utilities several times. reopened it and it still crashes I get a message, OmniOutliner quit unexpectedly. Any ideas?

  14. Thanks for this guide. You guys rock. Was so angry at Apple for this restriction, I am glad clever people have found a way to circumvent it.

  15. Followed the instructions and I get “You can’t use this version of the application with this version of Mac OSX” You have ver 6.8.X and it requires 7.2.X

    Anyone else getting this message?

      • I found this note on another wedsite: [UPDATE] Hack tested successfully, the important thing is to quit the AppStore first before changing the plist file.

        Going to try everything all over again, making sure the App Store is closed.

    • I checked both files to make sure they reflected 10.6.8 and they do. Is there something Apple has done to the program to lock it out of use for Leopard? My icon also has white circle with slash across it.

    • Im gutted. Using the iMac hassle free for 3yrs and this ‘tweak’ has just botched up all my main apps.

      Praying someone replies with a fix

  16. followed instructions above and iBook author wont open. Im also getting a ton of error messages to reinstall app that are failing to open (ie: echofon, safari, itunes) ?!?!


    • Jack, sorry to hear you are getting errors. Did you follow steps 17-21? Also, Are you currently running Snow Leopard 10.6.8, because if not that would cause issues. You need to be sure to input the correct version number you are running else all other apps may fail

  17. If in the dock the icon seems strange. You must remove from the dock, and place it again there. Now the icon it’s ok….

    And if you follow the rules, it works very fine


  18. anyone else have trouble previewing on an iPad? i’m using a iPad 1 with ibooks 2 but it isn’t showing up in the preview list

  19. It might be me that I messed up a step, but I followed all of it step by step. It won’t install, but I can open if I go into the applications > Ibooks author> show contents>contents folder>mac os folder> ibooks terminal link. How I can get this installed as a normal app with normal behavior?

  20. This works like a charm. With the help from both Dave and Digital Tweaker, I am now transferring my text book from University onto the new iBooks 2 platform.

    FYI, I found all my textbooks for this semester online…. FOR FREE.

    Marty McFly is back…… IN TIME that is.

    • Where did you find all your books online for free? I usually find my books, but not for free. I would love any tips you might have.

  21. Thank you so much for this awesome walk through. It was super easy to follow and works great. So glad I don’t have to update to Lion yet. 🙂

  22. Hello

    Changing the SystemVersion.plist file allows downloading, nevertheless the icon shows as not excutable and won’t install. Snow leopard.

  23. Just to let you know your method for altering SystemVersion.plist will not list the system as having access to it. You should probably recommend that people make two copies on their desktop then replace an unaltered one back.

  24. 1) Open Applications in Finder.
    2) Right click on iBooks Author
    3) Show Package Contents
    4) Click on Contents
    5) Edit Info.plist in much the same way you did to change your system plist changing the minimum system requirements to 10.6.8 I use xcode to edit plists
    6) Here is the important part change your system plist back to 10.6.8 in both places as per your instructions above!

    Mine is working fine!

Leave a Reply