How to Save a File as PDF on iPhone & iPad

Learn how to make a photo a PDF on iPhone and iPad and how to download PDFs from your email and other apps.

There are many surprising ways to work with PDFs on an iPhone and iPad. The first step is to learn how to get PDFs on your device and convert files into PDF documents. It isn’t as intuitive as it should be, so I will walk you through the steps to save PDFs on your iPhone and iPad.

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How to Download PDF on iPhone & iPad

Before you can view, share, or edit a PDF on your iPhone or iPad, you need to make sure the document is on your device. I will also teach you how to save photos and other types of files on your phone as PDF documents. To save a PDF to iPhone or iPad:

  1. Open the app that contains the PDF document. For this example, I will use an email from the Mail app. If you use the Gmail app, you might not be able to download PDFs, and you'll need to set up your email address in the Mail app to do this.

    Open the app that contains the PDF document.
     
  2. Tap to Download the attachment.

    Tap to Download the attachment.
     
  3. Once you see the PDF logo, you can tap again to open it.

    Once you see the PDF logo, you can tap again to open it.
     
  4. The file will open directly in the Files app.

    The file will open directly in the Files app.

How to Save File as PFD on iPhone & iPad

Most files in the Files app can be saved as PDF files, whether they are text documents or images. You can also save any photo from your photos app as a PDF. To do this:

  1. Open the file you wish to convert to a PDF document. For this example, I will pick a photo from the Photos app, but the steps are the same for any file.

    Open the file you wish to convert to a PDF document.
     
  2. Tap the Share icon.

    Tap the Share icon.
     
  3. Select Print.

    Select Print.
     
  4. Tap Print again.

    Tap Print again.
     
  5. You’ll see that the file is now a PDF document.

    You’ll see that the file is now a PDF document.
     
  6. From here, you can share it directly via another app.

    From here, you can share it directly via another app.
     
  7. Tap Save to Files to save it to your iPhone or iPad as a PDF document.

    Tap Save to Files to save it to your iPhone or iPad as a PDF document.
     
  8. You can pick a folder or create a new one, or just tap Save, and it will save in the default location in the Files app.

    You can pick a folder or create a new one, or just tap Save, and it will save in the default location in the Files app.
     
  9. If you’ve done this before, you may need to change the name to avoid overriding an existing file.

    If you’ve done this before, you may need to change the name to avoid overriding an existing file.
     
  10. Tap the text to the image.

    Tap the text to the image.
     
  11. Tap Done once you have named it.

    Tap Done once you have named it.
     
  12. Tap Save. You will find yourself back in the app where you originally selected the image.

    You can pick a folder or create a new one, or just tap Save, and it will save in the default location in the Files app.

Now you know how to make a photo a PDF on iPhone.  Are you wondering how to create PDF on iPad? The steps above work the same on an iPad. To create a PDF from scratch using the Files app, you’d have to convert a white page-sized image or text file. There are third-party apps that let you do even more with PDF on your Apple device.

Pro Tip: There are many other ways to use the Files app. Learn how to scan and edit a document on iPhone using the Files app here.

How to Save a PDF on iPad

Downloading and saving PDFs is the same on iPad as it is on iPhone. However, it is a lot easier to work with PDFs on an iPad due to the size of the screen. Plus, you can use an Apple Pencil to markup a PDF on your iPad.

Pro Tip: If you tend to work with PDFs a lot on either an iPhone or iPad, you may want to consider downloading a third-party app. Although Files app is excellent for basic editing, PDF Expert (free with subscription options) can offer more choices and is created with PDFs in mind.

Now you have PDF files on your iPhone or iPad! What next? Learn various "how-to PDF on iPhone and iPad" tips such as how to edit PDFs, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter.
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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life who lives in Hawaii. With a BA in International Relations from Anglo American University, Olena traveled the world. She has lived in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, China, and the USA. Olena won an excellence award for a controversial article, got a grant to blog from a war-zone, and published a short fictional story. She hopes to publish a full-length novel and continue writing up a storm on her blog The Travel Bug Bite! When she’s not typing or flying, she is loving on animals, crafting bizarre creations, and devouring all-you-can-eat sushi.