How to read PDF files on iPad


PDF is popular for ebooks and documents. Unfortunately, iPad does not support PDF format directly. You can read ebooks in epub format in ibooks app on the iPad device. Hence you need to convert PDF documents into epub format. Then load epub files in ibooks app on iPad for flip page style ebooks reading.

Convert PDF to epub to read on iPad

There are number of tool to convert PDF files into epub format. Checkout listing of tools to create and convert epub files.

You can use online tools or download free PDF to epub converter on your Windows, MAC or Linux system for quick conversion. Options galore!

View PDFs in Mail app on iPad

Unlike direct PDF reading support, you can view PDFs and other attachments within Mail application. So, if you receive PDF file as attachment – it can be read within Mail app on iPad. However, for direct PDF reading in ebook style – you need to convert PDF file into epub format.

Free & paid iPad apps for reading PDF files

There are few iPad apps that can be used to read PDF files on your iPad device. Adobe has released official free PDF Adobe Reader app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users. This app allows you to quickly open PDF files from email , the Web or any application that supports “Open In…”.

It also support reading text annotations such as Sticky Notes and viewing PDF Portfolios, PDF Packages, annotations and drawing markups. You can open and view password-protected PDF files with support for the highest grade of PDF encryption, up to AES256. Besides the usual PDF controls like zoom, you can print wirelessly using Airprint and share PDF files further by email.

There are also few paid PDF reading apps for iPad, this includes: Good Reader app ($0.99) has both free lite version & paid version. PDF Reader Pro edition ($3.99) is iPad app speciallay for reading PDF files. It has lot of features and comes with little heavy price tag. If you use to store files, then grab app for reading PDF files in account. You can get all these apps from iPad app store. [Originally Published on April 05, 2010 – Updated on October 18, 2011]



  1. Trying to load a PDF Tech Manual on to IPAD but the trouble shooting trees and images are JPEGS and the readers will not show the images or trees I have goodreader and Iannotate. tried resaving as PDF and no luck with the 2 apps I have. I want to put on IPAD cause it weighs a lot less and has a 10 hr battery life over my regular laptop. need help new to MAC and IPAD world

  2. Hi there, I have just bought an iPad and I want to download some of my lecture slides from uni, but some of the lectures have been uploaded in a PDF format. I was wandering what i need to do to access these file on my iPad? The first page of the PDF is viewable but I’m unable to scroll down to view the rest of the file. Please help… Oh and I downloaded some PDF viewer from the app store, still no luck…

  3. I am using FileReflex to read PDF files in my iPad

    • Yes, there are many ways we can choose to read PDF files on iPad, GoodReader, iBook 1.1 or later, send to Mail apps. The complete solution to deal with versatile files including PDF is the standard ePub format. For an eBook lover like me, the casul reading at any time and anywhere is wonderful, besides the new generation iPad 2 has the multipletounch function. It really make me lose in reading.

  4. Mike uganda says

    Thnx alot i cn read my pdf files

  5. I spent a good bit of time last night adding hundreds of Songs in PDF format to my Ipad. I fell for the ‘must convert to Ipub/Epub’ but discovered by accident that all I have to do is Add File from the File list, drop the PDF into my BOOKS folder, SYNC and presto. I now have all my songs on my Ipad in PDF format.

  6. My ipad has been uploading a few pdf files in ibooks, no problem. Now, I am unable to open any pdf files in iBooks..Would anybody be kind enough to help me with this? thanks so much.I just called Apple support, and they want $30 to help me..ridiculous.

  7. i’m trying to open pdf files on ipad. if we wan to open it by ibooks, is it required for us to send the pdf files by email?

  8. iPad reads PDFs using iBooks.
    No problem, it simply works brilliantly.
    I had a 20Mb PDF and the Mail on iPad would not open a file that large, so I sent it in chapters instead and that worked fine.
    Afterwards the books remain filed under the PDFs tab in iBooks.
    At first an unwilling person considering iPad, I am now sold on it totally. My new-ish Toshiba NB300 rarely gets used. Who needs it when there’s an iPad ready to go?

    • ibooks reads pdf files easily and accurately. Simply open itunes, resize it to half screen then drag your pdf files to the books. Next time you sync they’re moved across and are available on ibooks. Converters, size, what’s this all about?

  9. Wow, this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. The vaunted, hyped to no end IPAD, which is touted as THE ebook reader to have doesn’t even support PDF’s?!?!??!?! The ultra common format for ebooks? Good lord. Steve Jobs is a complete tool. This just shows the marketing might of Apple. Slap an I on a bag of crap, and apple can sell it to the sheep masses…It’s new!! It’s exciting!! It’s the must have product this Christmas season!!! It’s iCRAP, and it’s only $398!!!

  10. No need to buy 3rd party apps to read PDFs.

    1. Email PDF as an attachment to yourself you can open in iPad.
    2. Open PDF in the mail app.
    3. Click “Open In…” button on the top-right corner.
    4. Click iBooks.
    6. Boom! The PDF is saved and can be read from iBooks going forward.

    • surfdabeach says

      Yes, but pictures not shown.

    • I just follow your steps, but aftef click ibooks, ibooks opened, but it doesn’t open the PDF, and the PDF file not store in bookshelf.
      do you know the reason?

      • @wang

        Click on collections and select PDFs. I have just loaded a few on my ipad through itunes and it works fine.

      • This is the same problem I am having. It has worked for me in the past, but periodically it just stops opening them. I open the PDF from the email, click the black open in iBooks button, and iBooks just opens, it doesn’t save it or even actually open the document in iBooks. Do you have to create the PDF in a certain way to get it to work? I can’t figure out why some PDFs work and others don’t…

    • Not true. I was able to boom and get PDF files open in iBooks. loved it. But with the upgrade, can’t open PDF files in iBooks anymore. Not good. I don’t use iBook for PDF files anymore.

  11. I installed a local webserver which lists the contents of local folders. ( using showIndex )
    When I browse using safari to that local webpage, I can open the pdf files within safari. I’m not aware of any conversion being done.

    Now I want to transfer some pdf’s to the ipad ( for when I’m on the road)
    First off, iTunes ask for a app which will be used to open the files. I cannot select safari -because local device access is (b)locked.

    So, I need to buy an app for functionality the iPad can do out of the box?

  12. These two spammers promoting their products are feeding people a crock of bull.

    As Brandon said, iBooks reads PDFs. There is NO conversion necessary. Not to ePub, not to JPG, not to anything. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar.

  13. ibooks is a free app and supports pdf

  14. you need convert pdf to read on ipad.

  15. PDF to JPEG Converter can easily convert PDF to JPEG and to many other image formats with 100% quality, such as convert PDF to GIF, TIFF, PNG, BMP, PCX, TGA, etc. If you happenly want to convert PDF to JPEG or other image formats for enjoyment, I highly recommend this PDF to JPEG to you.

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