BARD Mobile

In this section are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about BARD Mobile and BARD Express. The intention of this section is to have answers readily available to the more common questions asked by patrons about using BARD Mobile only. This is offered in reference to BARD Mobile usage. It does not cover using your device and such. It is assumed that the patron has an understanding of their own device and how it functions. NLS has also produced some how to videos to help you get started using BARD Mobile.

BARD Mobile Questions

How do I apply for BARD using my device?

Open a web browser from your device and go to Select the link to the BARD application instructions. From the BARD application instructions page select Link to BARD application for individuals. You will be presented with a drop-down list of network libraries. Choose your library from the list and then select the Submit button.
Fill in all of the information in the application. Note that the field labeled “Please select the type of player you will be using” is for users of 3rd party talking-book players and/or braille notetakers. You do not need to select anything from this list. Submit your application.

Once your application is processed by your network library, you will be e-mailed a temporary password. You must login to BARD, using a web browser and change your password before logging into BARD Mobile.

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I have a new iPhone, iPad, Android or Kindle device, can I use it to download books?

  • If you already are a BARD user, Yes, you can go get the BARD Mobile app for your device (iPhone, iPad) - (Android) - (Amazon Kindle), enter in your current email address and permanent password and start downloading today. 
  • If you haven't used BARD before, you will need to setup a BARD account first by going to Fill out the online application and wait for approval (usually within 2 days). Once you are approved you will get a temporary password, which you will need to go in and change to a permanent password using a Web Browser on the BARD website (NOT BARD Mobile). Once this is complete you are ready to start using BARD and can download and activate the BARD Mobile app for your device.

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Is there a limit to the number of mobile devices I can have on my BARD account?

Yes. Users are limited to 5 devices per account. If you try to add a 6th device to an account it will not accept it. You will generally get an error saying, "Failed to authorize device from BARD." Note that sometimes BARD Mobile will treat an upgrade of the operating system on a device as a new device. This will effect how many devices you have listed, even though you haven't added a new device. Please contact the library to have extra devices removed from your account.

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BARD Mobile App won't take the temporary password I was sent by email. How can I fix this?

In order to use BARD Mobile you need to setup a permanent password on BARD. The password you were sent by email is a temporary password that is only used to set a permanent password in BARD. Login to BARD from a Web Browser (either on your computer or mobile device), using your Username (email address) and temporary password. This will take you to a page where you can set your permanent password. This will only be known by you. Once you completed this, you can then open the BARD Mobile App on your mobile device and set your Username and Password. This will be stored and used for everything going forward. The only time this will need to be changed is if you change your email address. BARD will send you a temporary password which you'll have to change using a Web Browser and then change in BARD Mobile.

When you are creating a password that you plan to use with BARD Mobile, please be sure to follow the password rules listed on the BARD website. In addition, make sure that your password does not contain any of the following special characters:

  • Apostrophe (')
  • Quote (")
  • Ampersand (&)
  • Percent (%)
  • Less Than (<)
  • Greater Than (>)

Passwords containing these characters work when you log into the BARD website, but not when you log into BARD Mobile.

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BARD Mobile all of a sudden won't let me in. My Username and Password are correct. What happened?

  • If you have recently changed your email address or Password, this could be the reason. You need to make sure you enter the same email address and Password used to access BARD using a Web Browser. BARD Mobile uses what you have online to connect you. Please note, your password can't contain Ampersand (&), Percent (%), Less Than (<), Greater Than (>), Quote ("), or Apostrophe('), if you plan to use BARD Mobile.
  • If you haven't changed anything there could have been an issue with BARD online (Web Browser version), where the server goes offline, etc. This can sometimes be fixed by doing an App Reset:
    1. iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch - Go to Device settings, BARD Mobile, and switch Setting Initialization to the "On" position.
    2. Android devices - Tap into More Options, Settings, and finally Application Reset. Note this will reset the App to new and erase all downloaded content.

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How many downloaded BARD Audio books and magazines can my device hold?

The amount of books and magazines that your device (or flash drive) can hold depends on the amount of storage space and the length of the recording, which determines that amount of space it takes up. The rule for space is that for every 1 hour of audio recorded you need 10 MB of space. This means an average length recording of 14 hours takes 140 MB of space to store. For a typical mobile device with 16 GB of space (GB is 1000 times larger than an MB) you have room for approximately 1600 hours of audio or roughly 114 average length books.

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I've finished reading a book. How do I delete it from my bookshelf?

When you are finished reading a book, or are just wish to delete a book from your bookshelf to free up space on your mobile device:

  1. Select and enter a category within Bookshelf, on the upper right corner of the screen, there will be an Edit button
  2. Activate the Edit button to reveal a Delete button after the name of the book you intend to delete
  3. Select the Delete button to remove the title from the list
  4. When you have finished deleting titles from within the category selected, activate the Done button on the upper right corner of the screen.

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Queued for download message on the Wishlist. What does this mean?

BARD Mobile downloads one book at a time. If you try to download multiple books, it starts downloading the first one and marks the others as "Queued for download." When the first book finishes downloading, the second starts, etc., until all the books have downloaded.

If no book is downloading and all the books are marked as queued, the first thing to do is make sure you have a solid Wi-Fi or cellular connection. Then make sure no book is downloading, and double-tap one that is queued. This should start it downloading.

If there is a book that won't download, delete it from either the bookshelf or wish list. Then once all books are downloaded, add it to your wish list, and try downloading it again.

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Failed to decode audio file message. What does this mean?

This messase usually indicates that too many apps are running in iOS and draining available memory. To fix this, open the app switcher in iOS and close all apps. Then, open BARD Mobile and try playing the book. It should now play.

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    Is there a reset button for BARD Mobile? It seems stuck and having issues. Can I start over fresh?

    Yes, however you may lose your downloaded books and magazines.

    This start over or reset button is called doing an App Reset:

    1. iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch - Go to Device settings, BARD Mobile, and switch Setting Initialization to the "On" position.
    2. Android devices - Tap into More Options, Settings, and finally Application Reset. Note this will reset the App to new and erase all downloaded content.

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    Is there a Sleep Timer in BARD Mobile?

    No, BARD Mobile itself does not have a sleep timer. However, you can use the Timer in the Clock app on your iOS (iPhone or iPad) device. This allows you to set an amount of time that seems comfortable to stop playing.

    1. Go to Utilities
    2. Then to Clock
    3. Look for the 4th item "Timer"
    4. Set the Timer
      • Select hours and minutes
      • You'll then see a Picker item to select the sound you want to play at the end of the set time
      • Select from the last item on the list from "When timer ends" list is "Stop Playing"
    5. Once set, you can use this any time after
      • Open clock
      • Select timer
      • Tap the Start button
    6. The book will stop playing when the timer amount has ended

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    I have noticed that sometimes BARD Mobile volume levels for audio playback is lower than other apps. Any reason for this?

    Book volumes do vary from time to time in how they are recorded. This may be a reason. Another reason also could be something known as Audio Ducking or Audio Leveling, where the volume is reduced while assistive speech speaks. This could make the volume of audio heard be pushed to a lower level until you stop and restart audio.

    iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch - for Voiceover, to turn off Audio Ducking go to Settings and choose General, then Accessibility, then Voiceover, then Audio. Find the Audio Ducking setting, and double-tap until it's turned off.

    Android devices - for TalkBack, adjust Speech settings. Navigate to Settings and choose Accessibility, then TalkBack and then Settings. Select the first option, Speech, which controls spoken feedback. From here you can adjust Speech volume to be the same or less than the media volume. Media volume is the volume of other sounds on your device. Your choices are Match media volume, 75% of media volume, 50% of media volume, 25% of media volume. You can try out different settings to see what works.

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    I found a book on the BARD website and I'd like to download it to my mobile device. Can I do this without having to search again in BARD Mobile?

    Yes you can. There are a couple of ways to do this. Use your wish list or you can try sideloading the book.

    Use the Wish List

    Add items to your wish list. The wish list used by BARD Mobile is the same wish list used by the BARD website, which means anything you add to your wish list from either BARD Mobile or the BARD website will show up on the wish list in either place.

    There are two ways to add a book to your wish list:

    1. BARD Mobile
      • Click Browse BARD from the Get Books tab
      • Search for a book
      • Find your book
      • Click the link below the book's description that says "Add to my wish list"
    2. BARD website
      • Search for a book
      • Click on the title of the book to open its full record
      • At the bottom of the full record click on the link that says "Add to my wish list".

    Once your book is added to your wish list:

    1. Go to the Get Books tab
    2. Click on Browse Wish List
    3. Find the book
    4. Click on the title of the book
    5. Begin the download


    Sideloading is a way to manually load a previously downloaded BARD book onto your device. This may be useful if you have issues with downloading through BARD Mobile or want to travel with a large number of books, but don't have enough storage space on your device.

    First download the book you want from the BARD website and leave them zipped.

    Dropbox (iPhone, iPad or Android):

    • Upload the zipped book to your Dropbox account
    • Open the Dropbox app on your device
    • Export the zipped file to the BARD Mobile app
    • BARD Mobile will open and import the book

    iTunes File Sharing:

    • Install iTunes onto your computer and connect your iPhone or iPad
    • Click Apps
    • Below File Sharing, select the BARD Mobile app from the list and click Add
    • In the window select a file to transfer
    • Click Open
    • Open BARD Mobile and the book will be available


    • Connect your device to a computer by USB cable
    • Open your device's internal memory
    • From the directory of folders
      • Go to Android > data >gov.loc.nls.dtb>files>nls-dtb
    • Copy and paste the zipped folder of the book into the nls-dtb folder
    • Open BARD Mobile and the book will be available

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    How do you you change the contrast and font size in BARD Mobile?

    BARD Mobile allows you to change contrast and font size to make it more comfortable for viewing.

    To do this:

    1. Open BARD Mobile
    2. Choose Settings
    3. Choose Visual Settings

    From here, you can change contrast and font size.

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    How do you zoom in and out in BARD Mobile?

    To zoom in and out in BARD Mobile is controlled by the device, not BARD Mobile. This is part of the Zoom text magnification program that is built into iOS. This needs to be turned on. To do this:

    1. Open the Settings app
    2. Go to General
    3. Then Accessibility
    4. Then Zoom
    5. Turn it on

    This should now allow you to use Zoom's gestures to magnify BARD Mobile, the same way it does with other apps.


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