Downloading and Viewing PDFs on iPad

There are numerous different ways to download and view PDFs on the iPad. Usually, if you are using Safari, your browser should open the PDF documents automatically. However, if you find yourself needing to download PDFs onto your device from email, or if your browser for some reason isn’t letting them open, try the steps below to get the PDFs open and readable.

Step 1

One way to read PDFs on your iPad is to download them from your computer and sync them with your device. This is ideal if your PDFs are extremely large files—full books or manuals, for instance—that could require a lot of data to download directly to your device.

To do this, save the file on your computer desktop and then open iTunes. Add the file to your library, then look for it under the “Books” tab on your Library sidebar. You should find the file under the PDFs tab.

Step 2

To make your PDF easy to find on your iPad, add as much information to the file as possible. Select “Get Info” on the PDF, and type in the title, author name, year, or any other necessary cataloging information. When you are done, click “OK” to save your new settings.

Step 3

Plug your iPad into your computer, and find it in the source list, also on the sidebar of your library. Find the “Books” tab once more and select it, this time for your iPad library instead of your computer iTunes library. Check the box that says “Sync Books” at the top of the page, and decide if you want to sync all of your eBook and PDF titles or just some of them. Once you have made your selections, click “Sync” at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.


The process described above will sync your PDFs from your computer to your iPad, so that you can easily find them, open them, and read them with iBooks! You will, of course, need to connect to your computer to do this, but it’s easily the most organized way to access PDFs on your iPad.