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Josh Brown Apr 29, 2024

How to Download a PDF on an iPhone and Open It

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Josh Brown Apr 29, 2024

Wanna transfer PDF to iPad or iPhone without iTunes? We put together 6 QUICK ways that will help you add PDFs to your iPhone.

PDFs are a great way to view important documents. They are organized, clean, and easy to transfer and read. They are widely used as the official format for sharing valuable documents over the internet. You can even sign them.

However, the most efficient use that I have seen of PDFs as of yet has to be PDF books or eBooks. Instead of buying a 500-page, heavy, bulky book from a bookstore, you can find its copy on Google in the form of eBooks for free! 

But what’s challenging is transferring those PDFs to iPhone or iPad. When it comes to these devices, you have very limited options for transferring files. These often involve using iTunes, which is now discontinued for Mac and the Windows version is just too tedious. 

So below, you will find a quick selection of ways you can send PDFs to iPads without iTunes—and most importantly, save your time.

Table of Contents

Video Guide: PDF to iPad and iPhone Without iTunes

How to Download a PDF on an iPhone with Safari

The most straightforward way to download a PDF file is with the help of native Safari web browser. Some guides advise you to pick a PDF and save to Files and then open it with a different PDF reader than 'Books'. We think these actions are redundant and you can download a PDF on an iPhone directly to Books from Safari. Let's show step-by-step how to do it.

Note: All PDF files on iPhone usually located in Books app or Files app. 

Step 1. Open the page with desired PDF file in Safari

Find the PDF file you want to download. Usually, PDF documents would open on separate webpage so you could read it in browser. That option is not really convenient for long documents or books, so we will proceed to save the PDF in the more suitable app. The URL of the all PDF downloads like this will be located in Safari search bar.

Step 2. Navigate to 'Open In' icon at the bottom menu of Safari

Download Pdf On Iphone 1

Step 3. Pick 'Books' option if presented right away or navigate to 'More' to find it

Here, you may have an alternative option to download PDF on iPhone Files app and open it from there. To do so, scroll down after tapping 'Open In' icon and locate 'Save to Files' option. Tap it and you'll save a PDF on iPhones file system.

Step 4. Tap the PDF and feel free to read it

Download Pdf On Iphone 2

You can find PDF file to save, marked additionally as new, to separate it from older content.

All the PDF files on your iPhone natively can be opened in Books app and saved there in the first place. Alternatively, you can read them from direct webpage in Safari but this option is far from convenient and more like a temporary solution for quick access.

How to Transfer PDF from Computer to iPhone with WALTR

Ever wish you could just drop anything into a magic box, and it instantly shows up on your iPhone? Well…

WALTR PRO is a universal converter and transfer app that brings any file to your iPhone from your PC. Regardless of type, it will convert any media from your PC directly to your iPhone in the Apple supported format. While simultaneously placing the file in the corresponding native app in a matter of seconds.

With it, you can save a PDF on your iPhone from your PC as well as dozens of other different files.

All you need to do follow the 4 simple steps below:

Step 1. Download WALTR PRO by clicking on the free download button below

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macbook with waltr pro on it

WALTR PRO is a free-to-download transfer tool specifically dedicated for iOS devices. You will need to activate a 24-hour trial period with the code you can request via your email on the app startup.

WALTR PRO can transfer audio, video, and PDF files to your iPhone without using iTunes or Jailbreak.

Step 2. Install and launch the WALTR PRO app on your Mac/Windows PC

Open Waltr Pro

Step 3. Connect your iPhone to your PC

Conect Your Iphone To Waltr Pro

You can connect your iPhone via a USB cord or Wi-Fi.

Step 4. Drag and drop your PDF file into the WALTR PRO app.

How To Save Pdf On Iphone

Your transfer will be finished within seconds and you will receive a notification.After you send PDF to iPad, all the files will land into the default iBooks app on your iPhone!

You can add any PDF file to iPad or iPhone with WALTR PRO in seconds. That’s all there is to it.

PDF to iPad

However, you will need to connect your iPhone with a cable when you launch it first. In case you hate wires like we do, simply click on the little settings wheel in the bottom right corner of the app and hit “Enable Wi-Fi Connectivity”. The next time you use it, WALTR PRO will recognize your device without you even plugging it in.

Besides PDFs, you can drop music and movies in any format. WALTR PRO converts AVI, MKV, MP4, WMA, FLAC, MP3, M4R and many more formats into iOS-compatible formats on-the-fly.

Is WALTR PRO Free to Use?

The download is free. WALTR PRO comes with a 1-day free trial without any restrictions. In case you encounter any questions or requests about the app – you can always ask us right here.

BTW – MacObserver claims that WALTR PRO is a perfect iTunes replacement.


WALTR really stands out in the crowd:

  • It’s very simple. The user interface is more than straightforward. It is just a drop-zone window without any buttons at all.

  • You simply need to drop your PDF file to add it to your iBooks app.

  • There’s no size limit!

  • Transfer speed is suuuuuper fast.

  • It supports wireless transfers.

  • It converts file formats on-the-fly.

How to Transfer PDF to iPhone using Books on Mac

Disclaimer: Only go for this option if you want to add PDF to iPad or you want to add PDF on your iPhone.

You will find many ways to transfer PDF files to iPad & iPhone. One way is to do it by using the Apple Books app on your Mac and iOS devices. But since Apple is all ‘exclusive’ about its devices, you can only transfer PDF from MacBook to iPad. Meaning that you can't add PDF to iPad or iPhone from a Windows PC. 

So if you are using Windows, you still have WALTR PRO and iCloud to go with :)

In order to transfer PDF from Macbook to iPad or iPhone, make sure to switch on iCloud Drive to share books between your Mac and iOS device. It will only work if you have iCloud sharing on.

Step 1. Start iBooks by going to your Launchpad.

Then you will need to drag your files into the app.

PDF to iBooks

Drag your file into PDFs section in iBooks.

Next, make sure to connect your device. Check the ‘Sync books’ > ‘Selected books’ option.

Step 2. Click on a PDF file that you want to transfer.

Step 3. Hit “Apply”.

Now go into your on iPad or iPhone. Your book is there. Hooray!

Note: You can also put your audiobooks in your iphone without itunes.

AirDrop PDF to your Apple Device

You must be well aware of Apple’s alternative to bluetooth, AirDrop. AirDrop always comes in handy when you need to share files with friends or family who share iOS devices. So if you want to send PDF to iPad without iTunes, you can always Airdrop PDF to iPad or iPhone. This is super simple. 

But just like iBooks, it does not work for Windows users. So if you are using Windows – well, you still have WALTR PRO and iCloud to go with.

So most likely, you already know the basics of how AirDrop works. It is super easy to transfer PDF to iPad & iPhone using AirDrop.

Here’s what you should do:

Since AirDrop is not compatible with some older Macs, first  make sure that AirDrop is available for your Mac.

Click on ‘Go’ in the menu bar, and if you find AirDrop in the drop-down list, well, you are lucky. 

PDF to iPhone via AirDrop

Step 1: On your iOS device, go to Settings and make sure AirDrop is switched on.

Step 2: On your Mac, click on ‘AirDrop’ in Finder. It will display the AirDrop users nearby, so just choose your iPad/iPhone from the list.

Step 3: Drag the PDF to the needed icon in the menu. It will show up in your iBooks app.

Wait until your device is visible in AirDrop. Then simply drag and drop your PDF there.

AirDrop Mac

Wait until your device is visible in AirDrop. Then simply drag your PDF there.

How to Download PDFs to an iPhone Using iCloud

One of the most convenient things about Apple has to be the iCloud. Apple’s very own cloud service that lets you store and sync data with all of your Apple devices. 

Thanks to iCloud, you don’t have to transfer files across your iOS devices separately. You can quickly access all the data on iCloud via your Mac, iPad, iPhone or even iPod. 

If you are wondering how to transfer a PDF to iPad or iPhone, you can use iCloud to transfer a PDF to an iPad or iPhone. 

Here’s how to transfer PDF to iPad or iPhone with iCloud:

Step 1. Go to System Preferences > iCloud and check the ‘iCloud drive’ box there.

How To Add Pdfs To An Iphone Using Icloud

All apps that store data in iCloud are checkmarked. Alternatively, you may visit and sign up with your Apple ID.

Step 2. In Finder, go to iCloud Drive and open it.

Step 3. Drag & drop your file in there.

Simply go to iCloud Drive and drag’n’drop your PDF in there. DONE!

Step 4. Go to iCloud on your iPhone & iPad and enable it.

Step 5. Launch iCloud on your iPhone & iPad and open your PDF.

It will be opened with the help of iBooks app, though it will not be saved there unless you download it.

PDF to iBooks on iPhone

Can I add PDF to iPad using Finder on macOS Catalina?

Yes :)

Did you know that using Finder on MacOS Catalina is a great way to sync your data across iOS devices? Well, now you know. So to answer your “Can I add PDF to iPad using Finder on macOS Catalina?” question, I’d say YES, you can! :)

Finder is a great file manager for iOS devices compared to iTunes. The only downside to it is that it works for Mac users only. Apart from that, Finder is better and easier to navigate than the complex iTunes. You don't need to deal with all the functionality iTunes used to have.

So, let's see how you can transfer a PDF into iPad or iPhone using Finder.

Sync books to iPad on macOS Catalina

Follow these quick instructions to add ebooks to iTunes.

Step 1: Open Finder & plug in your iOS device.

Step 2: Next, check the “Manually sync files to iPhone” option in the Summary tab.

Step 3: Click on 'Books' in the menu bar and check 'Sync Books onto iPhone' > 'Selected books', respectively.

Pdf to iPhone

Here's a caveat: If your iPad or iPhone is synced with another library, you will receive the following message, like I did. It's your choice here. If you proceed, the contents of your “Books” app will be removed.

Step 4: Locate the ePUB or PDF file that you want to transfer to your device.

Step 5: Drag and drop the ebook from your computer to iPhone in the left sidebar of Finder

Step 6: Finally, go to the iBooks app on your device and you will find your PDF file there. 

That’s it! 

But if you are a Windows user and you are wondering how to save PDF on iPhone or iPad using a Windows PC, you can always use WALTR PRO drag and drop PDF files to your iOS device.  

Bottom Line

That’s all, folks! These six ways allow you to easily download PDF files to iPhone or iPad without using iTunes. Of course, some of these only work for Mac and some for both (such as WALTR PRO ). 

After testing many alternatives out there and even using iTunes, we came to the conclusion that WALTR PRO does the job faster and easier than any other solution. It works for both Mac and Windows users and even converts incompatible file formats on-the-fly. With  just a drop-zone window without any settings or buttons, WALTR PRO does the job within seconds.

So once you have tried all of these 5 ways, pick your favorite one, or the one that is more convenient for you, try it out, and let me know which one worked the best for you in the comments below :) 


How to send pdf on iPhone?

For this purpose, you would need a dedicated transfer tool like WALTR PRO to help you transfer all media files to the iPhone. To send a PDF on iPhone, you need to follow these steps:


  • Step 1: Install WALTR PRO on your computer
  • Step 2: Connect your device to the computer via USB
  • Step 3: Drag & Drop the file into the Apps' interface
  • Step 4: Wait for a few seconds and then find the file in the native application of the iPhone


How to transfer a pdf file to an iPad?

Transferring a PDF file to an iPad is no different than moving a PDF file to an iPhone. All you have to do is drag & drop the desired PDF file in the app’s interface and leave the rest of the job to WALTR. The application will automatically transfer the file into the default iBooks app on your iPad.

How to take PDF on iPhone?

One of the most straightforward ways to put PDF on iPhone is through the WALTR PRO application. All you need to do is to drop the PDF file into the drop zone of the application, and the software will add it to the iBooks app. The best thing about the application is that there is no size limit, and the transferring speed is super fast.

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Drag and Drop Any Media to iPhone

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If you need to get any file on iPhone and dont’ worry about any compatibility – this is what WALTR PRO is designed for.


Fully supports: MAC OS macOS & Windows Windows


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