iCloud Support like Apple Books

Hi Panels Team,

Started using Panels again and have purchased the Premium. Love the implementation of the Locked feature. Really appreciate the team taking in feedbacks and feature requests.

I mainly read my comics on my iPad and would love it if Panels supports iCloud similar to Apple Books app, whereby all comics in an iCloud folder are displayed in Panels with a Cloud icon to show it’s not available locally in Panels but can be downloaded by clicking the Cloud icon. That way I can store all my comics in iCloud, have Panels point to the iCloud Panels folder to show all my comics and have option to download the ones I would like to read at any given moment (and delete the local copy when I need storage space). That way it wouldn’t take up too much local storage and make the Panels app too bloated.

Thanks again for reading this request.



Totally agree! And to have it sync across multiple devices etc. iPhone, iPad.

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Thanks for the feedback and kind words folks.

We are working in that direction. But it’s not as easy as it might sound.
At the moment, Panels stores all the content in the app sandbox, and files are organized in a not very user-friendly way.
We’ve been modifying the core of the app to be able to open the sandbox so users can have access to it and organize comics and collections as files and folders.
That will be the first step.

The second will be adding the ability to use an external folder to store the content.
Nevertheless, there’s a fundamental limitation that we don’t know how/if we are going to solve.
Panels is a very visual app, and the content is always presented with a cover image.
In order to show the cover, Panels needs local access to the file (it has to be downloaded) to generate the cover thumbnail.
If your content is stored on iCloud, we wouldn’t be able to show the covers unless we download every single file on the device, at least once. This makes it very impractical.

We are still deciding whether we want to allow using external folders (we would have to design a new library without covers) or not.

An alternative solution is to store all the content in a media server like Komga or Ubooquity. These servers provide all the required information, including covers, that we can read without downloading the files.
We are also working on this. At the moment, you can connect to these media servers to import comics. But we are improving the integration so they appear in your library.

I hope that makes sense

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BTW, I want to emphasize that the problem is not really using iCloud and the sync. That’s something we’ll allow eventually.
The problem is being able to “unload” content from the device because of the image covers.

If what you’re looking for is to have your library synced across devices, that will happen eventually. For sure. But we’re still unsure that we’ll be able to allow deleting content locally.

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Thanks for the explanation. I wasn’t aware of the complexity and the need to download the files in order to show the cover. I could see the cover image on my Files app without needing to download the files (attached image). These are .cbz files, thought it would be achievable for Panels too.

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Do you use any comic app on your Mac or something like that?

I suspect that those covers were injected into the file headers or as QuickLook metadata and iCloud is returning those thumbnails. iCloud definitely does not have cbr/cbz support and extracts the covers on their end. There must be a missing piece here.

Apple provides APIs to generate thumbnails and attach them to files. https://developer.apple.com/documentation/quicklookthumbnailing/creating_quick_look_thumbnails_to_preview_files_in_your_app
But those previews must be pre-generated somewhere and then associated with the file on iCloud.

We could try to get the thumbnails from iCloud metadata, but there’s no guarantee that those thumbnails would exist. Actually, this is how comic files appear on my iCloud Drive.

Even if we add support for it, the number of users that would get the previews visible would be quite low. Most of the users would see their library the same way I see my iCloud Drive folder on Files.app.
I hope that makes sense.