Saving a PDF document to an iPhone or iPad

While browsing the web, it’s common to run into PDF files that you’d like to save to your iPhone or iPad for later viewing. Here’s how to do it.

While viewing the PDF file in Safari, tap on the Share button. The Share button is in a different location on an iPhone or an iPad. On an iPhone, it is in the lower-left corner of the screen.

The location of the Share button on an iPhone in Safari

On an iPad, the Share button is located just to the right of the browser’s address bar. It always looks like a rounded square with an arrow pointing upwards.

The location of the Share button on an iPad in Safari

After tapping the Share button, iOS will bring up a list of ways that you can share or save the file, including sending it to others through text message or email.

Preparing to save a PDF file

Swipe down the list with your finger until you find the app you want to open it in.

Choosing to save a PDF file to Dropbox or Books

Many people choose to send a PDF to the built-in Books app for later viewing. Once saved to Books, it is always be available through the Books app.

Some people prefer to save PDFs to Dropbox (i.e, a paid service available in the App Store), so that they can retrieve them on a computer later. If you have Dropbox installed, this will be an option on the list. You can save it to any file storage service you like, including Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.

iOS also has a way of saving documents outside of a particular app called “Files”.

If you’d like to save a PDF to Files, swipe down the list until you see the Files option and tap on it. Then, choose your save location.

Saving a PDF file to Files on iPhone

Later, in the Files app, you can see the PDF you just downloaded. Or, if you saved the PDF to Books, you can open the Books app and read the PDF there.

This view in the Files app shows your recently saved PDF

It’s also possible to save a website as a PDF file for later viewing, which can come in handy.

Simple and easy!

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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