How to Save a PDF Document From Safari on Your iPad

| How-To

You're reading a really cool document on your iPad (or other iOS device) you found on the Internet. It's in PDF format, and Safari downloads it, then displays it nicely. But how do you save it for all time? Here's how to save it in your iBooks library. Or other compatible apps.

1. You may not have noticed when the PDF document was downloaded, very briefly, a grey task bar appeared at the top of Safari's display, then disappeared. This is what you need.

A PDF document in iPad's Safari

2. To recover the task bar, tap anywhere in Safari's window, firmly but briefly. If you hold your finger there too long, you'll just get the iOS editing magnifying glass. After a brief tap, you'll see this at the top:

Options!  My kingdom for options!

3. Tap the button "Open in iBooks". The document will be nicely CBC bound (a nice skeuomorphism) and dropped onto the bookshelf in iBooks. You'll be whisked from Safari to iBooks where you can read it with IBooks controls and keep it forever if need be.

If you already have a collection that you named "PDFs," the document will be placed there. If not, it will be placed in with all your books in a single collection.

The document is saved to your iBooks library.

4. If, instead, you tap "Open In..." you'll be shown an array of apps that can read that document, and then it will be added to that app's document folder and (re)opened. If you want to save it in several places, just go back to Safari and select another app.

Apps that can read the PDF file are listed. Tap one.

5. There is no step five!

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Do you know a way to save a PDF in Safari directly to Dropbox?

John Martellaro

A few of the apps in the screen shot above, like GoodReader have Dropbox interfaces.  So it would be a two step process.  Apple doesn’t provide a direct connection to Dropbox in iOS (that I know of).


“There is no step five!”

Haha, I was just today thinking of Jeff Goldblum and his funny over-acting.


In distinction from GregGehr’s comment/question, when I tap the Safari screen (as per the tip) I get only “Open in DropBox.” Don’t see the “Open in ‘iBooks’ ” or “Open in…” buttons.

After logging in to my DropBox account ( I rarely use it on my iPhone, iOS v 6.1.3) the option to save to DropBox came up.  I saved the pdf I’d downloaded and can read it in DropBox.

There must be a setting for Safari to default to iBooks that I’m overlooking.


Emma Shaw

Besides save PDF from safari, we can also save it from our Email.
Here is a post shows you how to do this with ease:

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