Product Guides

How to Download And Save PDF Files on An iPhone or iPad

January 25, 2022

When you’re on the internet on your phone and find a PDF that you’d like to save for future reference, how do you save it? 

What about the PDF that a coworker emails to you and you have to save it on your iPhone because you’re on the go?

Or you’ve already saved it on your iPad and you’re wondering how to save, edit, or manage the PDF file?

The steps are relatively simple and we’ll cover everything you need to know about downloading or saving PDF files on your mobile below.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • How to Download and Save PDF Files From Safari on an iPhone 
  • How to Download a PDF File On Your iPhone from an Email Attachment
  • How To Manage PDFs in the Files App on iPhone
  • How To Share PDF File To Other Apps on iPhone
  • How to Save Other Pages as a PDF on iPhone or iPad
  • Where Are Downloaded PDFs Stored on iPhone or iPad? 

Let’s take a look.

How to Download and Save PDF Files From Safari on an iPhone 

Since Apple introduced the Files app, it’s never been easier to download and save a PDF. It allows you to store important information and different file types for later. 

The Files app allows you to store photos, videos, mail, bookmarks, files, and most importantly - PDFs. 

You have a few options on how to save your documents in files: 

  1. Save files locally onto your phone storage
  2. Move to your iCloud Drive to save storage on your phone

Below, we’ll take a look at both.

Here are the steps to save a PDF from Safari onto your iPhone:

Saving a PDF from Safari in Files: 

  1. Open the Safari app.
  2. Type in the search bar what you’re looking for.
  3. PDFs will have a small box beside the link that says PDF.
  4. Tap on the article to open it in your browser.
  5. Click the share button at the bottom of the browser window.
download pdf file from safari iphone

6. Scroll down and click “Save to Files”

save pdf to files on iphone

7. Choose the folder where you want to store the PDF

8. Click save in the top right corner

NOTE: If you want to save space in the storage on your phone, you can choose the iCloud Drive folder. This will save your PDF in your cloud storage so it will be available on all of your Apple devices. 

Saving A PDF from Safari to Books app: 

The Books app on the iPhone is another file storage option. The difference between the Files app and the Books app is the Books app is designed to hold files that are PDFs and digital/audio books, and the Files app allows you to store other file formats. 

Here are the steps on how to save a PDF from Safari to Books on an iPhone or iPad: 

  1. Open the Safari app.
  2. Type in the search bar what you’re looking for.
  3. PDFs will have a small box beside the link that says PDF.
  4. Tap on the article to open it in your browser.
  5. Click the share button at the bottom of the browser window.
  6. Scroll to the right and click “Books".

If you don’t see Books, tap the three dots at the very far right.

  1. Then, scroll down and tap Books.
download pdf on iphone to books app
  1. The file should open in Apple Books.

How to Download a PDF File On Your iPhone from an Email Attachment

This is a commonly used function for those who have PDFs emailed to them for work functions. 

These steps would also be useful for if you are viewing a PDF on your computer that you would like to save to your phone. If you have emailed yourself a copy of a PDF from your computer, then you can open your email on your phone and download it there. 

This tutorial below is on the Apple Mail app, but the process is the same for virtually every email app that allows you to open and save PDFs. 

Saving a PDF from Email on iPhone: 

  1. Open your Mail app.
  2. Scroll down and open the email that has the PDF you’d like to save.
  3. Tap the PDF to open it.
  4. Tap the export button in the bottom left corner.
  5. Scroll to find the Copy to Books option and select it.
save a pdf from email on iphone

6. The Apple Books app will open and your PDF will be stored in the library.

How To Manage PDFs in the Files App on iPhone

For all options mentioned below, you must first locate your Files app on your phone. If it is not on the home screen, swipe to the left to find the search section.

Type “Files” into the search bar at the top.

iphone search for files app

Tap the Files icon to open the app. 

Save your PDF to another app on iPhone

  1. Open the files app. If it is not on your home screen, reference the steps above. 
  2. Tap on the file you would like to open. 
  3. To save it to another app, click the Export icon in the bottom left corner.
  4. Scroll to find the desired app you would like to save it to 
  5. Tap the app to open and save.

To see instructions for commonly used apps such as AirDrop, Notes, Email, and Messages, read on!

Move the PDF to another folder on iPhone

This option is great if you want to have a highly organized Files app. When you move your files between folders, you’re essentially creating a digital “filing cabinet” within your app. 

  1. Open the files app. If it is not on your home screen, reference the steps above. 
  2. Tap on the file you would like to open.
  3. To move it to a different folder of your Files app, tap the Export button at the bottom.
  4. Tap Save to Files.
  5. Select the folder you would like to move it to.
  6. Click Save in the top right corner.

Print your PDF from iPhone

  1. Open the files app. If it is not on your home screen, reference the steps above. 
  2. Tap on the file you would like to open. 
  3. Tap on the Export button in the bottom left of the screen.
  4. Select Print.
print pdf document from iphone


5. Choose your printer.

6. Tap print.

Alternatively, learn how to print multiple PDFs at once here.

Out-of-the-box PDF generation
The easiest way to automatically generate and manage paperless documents at scale.
By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and understood Inkit's Privacy Policy.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

How To Share PDF File To Other Apps on iPhone

Below are tutorials on how to move your PDF files between the most commonly used apps: Mail, Messages, AirDrop, and Notes. 

Share PDF to Email on iPhone

  1. Open your PDF either using a web browser or email following the instructions above.
  2. Tap the export icon. Located in the top right if using web browser. Located in bottom left if opening the attachment from email.
  3. Scroll to the right to find the email app of your choice.
  4. Fill out your email and send to your desired recipient.
share pdf to email on iphone

Share PDF to Messages app on iPhone

  1. Open your PDF either using a web browser or email following the instructions above.
  2. Tap the export icon. Located in the top right if using web browser. Located in bottom left if opening the attachment from email.
  3. Scroll to the right and find your messages app.
  4. Send to your desired recipient .
send pdf document with email on iphone

AirDrop your PDF on iPhone

Airdrop is a function within Apple’s later operating systems. This is a way for Apple products to quickly and efficients share files between each other within close ranges. It’s similar to Bluetooth functions. 

Please note: AirDrop is a function only available between Apple devices. 

  1. Open your PDF either using a web browser or email following the instructions above.
  2. Tap the export icon. Located in the top right if using web browser. Located in bottom left if opening the attachment from email.
  3. Scroll to the right and find “AirDrop”.
how to airdrop pdf document on iphone
  1. Make sure your desired Apple device also has the AirDrop function on.
  2. Tap the recipient you would like to send it to.

Share PDF to Notes app on iPhone

  1. Open your PDF either using a web browser or email following the instructions above.
  2. Tap the export icon. 
  3. Located in the top right if using web browser.
  4. Located in bottom left if opening the attachment from email.
  5. Scroll to the right and tap “Notes”.
  6. Click the “Save” button in the top right corner to save your PDF in a new note.
how to share pdf to notes app on iphone

How to Save Other Pages as a PDF on iPhone or iPad

This is a function that is useful if you find a website, webpage, or an email that you will need to reference back to. You can turn any webpage or email on your phone into a PDF and save it to Books. 

Here’s are the steps to turn any webpage into a PDF on iOS: 

Save a Webpage as a PDF on iPhone

  1. Open the Safari browser.
  2. Select the webpage you would like to turn into a PDF.
  3. Tap the Export button.
  4. Scroll to the right to find the More button.
  5. Scroll down and tap Books.

Save an Email as a PDF on iPhone

  1. Open your Mail app.
  2. Select the email you would like to save as a PDF.
  3. Tape the more actions button. 
  4. Scroll down and tap Print.
  5. Tap Print again at the top right section of the screen. 
save email as pdf on iphone printing
  1. Scroll to the right and tap Books.

Where Are Downloaded PDFs Stored on iPhone or iPad? 

As stated above, you have options on where you save your PDFs on your iPhone. 

The two main options consist of the Files and Books apps. If you choose to save it to iCloud Drive, then you’ll be able to access your files on any of your Apple devices. 

In most cases, the default download location will be your ‘Downloads’ folder.

Conclusion

Hope this guide to downloading and saving PDF files on iOS helped!

The next time you’re on the go, you should hopefully know how to download, save, or manage your documents.

Now, if you need more info on managing your PDF documents, you might also want to read:

Out-of-the-box PDF generation
The easiest way to automatically generate and manage paperless documents at scale.
By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and understood Inkit's Privacy Policy.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.