Smartphones still don’t have Internet connections everywhere — and, even if they did, there are times you’ll want to save a copy of a web page. Modern iPhones and Android phones allow you to save copies of web pages so you can refer to them later.
If you want a copy of a full web page, save it as a PDF. This is ideal for receipts, tickets, maps, and anything with just more than text. If you just want the text of an article to read later, there are other easy solutions.
Save as PDF on iPhone
Apple just recently added a new way to do this on iOS 9. While viewing a web page, tap the “Share” button — it looks like a square with an up arrow coming out of it — and tap the “Save PDF to iBooks” icon.
You can then open the iBooks application and view a PDF copy of the web page at any time, even when you’re offline. It’ll appear under “My Books”, and there’s a special “PDFs” category that contains your saved PDFs.
Save as PDF on Android
On Android, you can use the built-in printing support and print the page to a PDF just as you should on a Windows PC or Mac.
Let’s say you’re viewing the web page in the Chrome app. Tap the menu button at the top-right corner of the Chrome app and tap “Print”.
You’ll see a print preview interface. Tap the “Save to” menu at the top of the screen and select “Save as PDF” to save a copy of the web page as a PDF file to your phone’s local storage. You could also select “Save to Google Drive” to save a copy of the web page as a PDF and store it in Google Drive. You could then open the Google Drive app, long-press that PDF file, and tap the pin icon to keep it available offline.
Use Safari’s Reading List on iPhone
Safari’s built-in “Reading List” feature allows you to save a copy of a web page’s text for later. Note that this only works with the text — it’s useful for saving a text-based article to read later, but it won’t save anything else.
This is a bit like making a bookmark in Safari, but — unlike a bookmark — you also get a local copy of the text on that web page. Just tap the “Share” button in Safari and tap “Add to Reading List”.
You can then tap the “Bookmarks” button in Safari, tap “Reading List”, and tap the title of the web page to access it offline. Safari may eventually dump the local cache of the web page, so this isn’t a good idea for long-term archival. It’s just a convenient way to save an article that you might want to read when you’re somewhere you don’t have an Internet connection. Swipe to the left on the page in your reading list and tap “Delete” to remove it.
Email the Article to Yourself on iPhone
On an iPhone, you can tap the “Reader View” button in Safari and get a slimmed down view of the current web page — just the text and other important elements. After you do, you can tap the “Share” button and tap “Mail”. Safari will put the entire text of that article into an email, and you could email it to yourself. You could then open the Mail app and access the locally cached copy of that email later.
Safari will share the entire text of the web page with any application you choose, so you could share it with another application, too.
Use Pocket or Another Offline Reading App – iPhone and Android
If you want to save just the text of a web page, you’re better off doing it with Pocket or another read-it-later application, like Instapaper. Save the article to Pocket (or a similar app) and the application will download a copy of the article’s text and keep it offline. It’s a more powerful and robust solution than using the reading list feature in Safari or emailing the article to yourself.
Many of these same tricks work on your computer, of course. Windows 10 includes integrated PDF printing, and so do Mac OS X, Chrome OS, and other modern operating systems. You can also use Pocket on your computer and have it automatically download the text of articles for offline-enabled reading on your phone.
Image Credit: Japanexperterna.se on Flickr