5 Quick Ways to Transfer PDF to iPad & iPhone [WITHOUT iTunes]

waltr logo

4.8 Stars rating for all Softorino products (2,013 Reviews)

Free Download
Julia NashIcon
Julia Nash Jul 21, 2020

Wanna transfer PDF to iPad or iPhone - without iTunes? We put together 5 QUICK ways that will help you add PDF on your iPhone.

It happens very often that you need to quickly transfer a PDF into iPad. Simple as that! And of course – iTunes (or Finder if you use macOS Catalina) is a go-to app to manage your files…It’s designed to sync videos, music, podcasts, even ringtones to your iPhone.

But why should you launch iTunes for just a PDF?

Without further ado, here you’ll find a quick selection of ways you can send PDF to iPad without iTunes – and most importantly save your time. (No, we won’t tell you how to email your PDF).

There are 5 ways to transfer PDF files to iPad & iPhone.

Table of Contents

How to Save PDF on iPhone with WALTR

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

Meet WALTR 2! This is a minimalistic drop area that transfers any media files, including PDF and ePub files to your Apple device. It doesn’t have any buttons. All you need to do is drop a PDF file into WALTR 2. It will immediately appear inside of your iBooks.app.

That’s all there is to it.

WALTR helps to add Pdf to iPad in seconds!

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”.

Next time, WALTR 2 will see your device without you even plugging it in.

Besides PDFs, you can drop music, movies in any format. WALTR 2 takes care of AVI, MKV, MP4, WMA, FLAC, MP3, M4R and many more.

Requirements: macOS 10.9 and higher
Latest Version: 2.6.25, 13 December 2019
Requirements: Windows 8 and higher
Latest Version: 2.7.19, 14 November 2019
Free Download
Download Waltr

The download is free. WALTR 2 comes with a 1-day trial without any restrictions. In case you encounter any questions or requests about the app – you can always ask us right here.

BTW – MacObserver confirms that WALTR 2 is a perfect iTunes replacement.

Add PDF to iPhone without iTunes

Your PDF files is already on your iPad. Heck yes!

WALTR really stands out in the crowded arena:

  • It’s very simple. The user’s interface is more than straightforward. It’s 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.

PDF to iPad

After you send PDF to iPad, all the files will land into the default iBooks.app on your iPhone!

Add PDF to iPad using Books

Books is a default app on your Mac and iOS – this is why it’s simple to share files between the devices. Bad news if you’re on PC. Books is not compatible with Windows, meaning you will only be able to transfer PDF from Macbook to iPad.

Make sure to switch on iCloud Drive to share books between your Mac and iPhone. 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 iBooks.app on iPad or iPhone. Your book is there. Hooray!

AirDrop PDF to iPad

AirDrop always comes in handy when you need to share files with friends or family. And of course, you can airdrop PDF to iPad. This is super simple. But just like iBooks, it does’t work for Windows PC users.

If you’re on Windows – well, you still have WALTR 2 and iCloud to go with.

Most likely, you already know the basics of how AirDrop works. And it’s also easy to add any PDF file onto iPad using AirDrop.

Here’s what you should do:

BTW – AirDrop is not compatible with some older Macs. To make sure that AirDrop is available for your Mac, select ‘Go’ in the menu bar and if you see AirDrop there – this means it’s supported.

PDF to iPhone via AirDrop

If you see ‘AirDrop’ in the Finder’s menu – this means your Mac supports AirDrop.

  • On your device, go to Settings and make sure AirDrop is switched on.

  • On your Mac, click on ‘AirDrop’ in Finder. It will display the AirDrop users nearby, so just pick your iPhone from the list.

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

AirDrop Mac

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

How to add PDFs to iPhone using iCloud

The whole idea behind iCloud is really awesome, even though it may seem quite confusing for a novice.

Just like Dropbox, it provides you with a smooth way to share your files or access them from different devices. It also grants you a quick access to your files from any device you’re using.

Do not be afraid of all the numerous settings listed above. iCloud is basically a folder with your personal files stored inside.

The only difference is that it’s live on the Internet. This gives you the chance to access it from your Mac, PC computer or any other device you’re having.

However, there’s the slight inconvenience – you always need to be connected to the Internet. And there’s also a size restriction.

The storage quote should not exceed 5 GB. In any case, you may enlarge it by purchasing additional space.

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

Step 1. If you don’t have iCloud set up on your Mac, then go to System Preferences > iCloud and check the ‘iCloud drive’ box there.

PDF to iPad using iCloud

All apps that store data in iCloud are checked marked. Alternatively you may visit iCloud.com 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 :)


But first let's take a moment to appreciate the new macOS Catalina. I have been using it for a few weeks now. My thoughts? Wow!

Not going to lie – in terms of file management, Finder is slicker than iTunes! You don't need to deal with the all the functionality iTunes used to have.

Every year Apple used to introduce new iTunes update. Usually they don’t really make the weather (at all). But surprisingly this time they removed it completely. Of course, Windows users are stuck with iTunes even now (stay strong, folks!).

Taking down iTunes is a big step forward. Finder looks better and is easier to navigate. It’s less bulky and cluttered.

BUT. Let's see how you can send PDF to iPad using Finder.

Sync books to iPad on macOS Catalina


Follow these quick instructions to add ebooks to iTunes.

  • Open Finder & plug in your iOS device.

  • Then check “Manually sync files to iPhone” in the Summary tab. Click 'Books' from the menu bar.

  • Check 'Sync Books onto iPhone' > 'Selected books'

Pdf to iPhone

Here's a caveat: if your iPad 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.

  • Locate ePUB or PDF file that you want to transfer to your device.

  • Drag the ebook from your computer to iPhone in the left sidebar of Finder

  • Go into iBooks.app and select your ebook.


Quick disclaimer for Windows users: if you have iTunes 12.7 you can’t add PDF to iPad on Windows. That’s a Bummer!

Don’t worry – all your ebooks are safe and sound. In case you had some in iTunes library, now they are in iTunes Media Folder that magically appeared on your computer overnight.

New iTunes also makes you purchase ebooks directly from your iOS device or re-download them on your iPhone if you already purchased some.

Bottom Line

To sum up, these 5 ways let you easily transfer PDF to iPad & iPhone. Of course, there are other ways to help you. Say, you may use Dropbox. Or even email the file to yourself.

But since these methods are quite comprehensible and obvious, they do not require further explanation.

After testing many alternatives out there and even iTunes, we came to the conclusion that WALTR 2 does the job faster an easier than any other solution. It’s just a drop-zone window without any settings or buttons.

In conclusion, speak your mind in the comments below what method you personally prefer. We’ll be glad to know.

Julia Nash
Julia Nash

Apple junkie at Softorino

waltr logo


Drag and Drop Any Media to iPhone



With WALTR 2, you can wirelessly drag-and-drop any Music, Ringtones, Videos, PDF & ePUB files into iPhone, iPad or iPod without iTunes (Even files that aren’t supported by iTunes, such as FLAC and MKV).


Fully supports: MAC OS macOS & Windows Windows