How to Edit PDFs in iPhone (or iPad)

Use the Files app to edit a PDF

What to Know

  • Open a PDF in Files, then swipe from the left edge of the screen to open the thumbnail view. Press and hold a page to open the edit menu.
  • The edit menu allows you to rotate a file, insert new pages or documents, and delete pages.
  • Markup tools continue to make it possible to add signatures and text to files.

This article teaches you how to edit a PDF on an iPhone or iPad using iOS 15 and looks at what you're capable of doing with a PDF in general via iOS. 

How to Use the Files App to Edit a PDF on iPhone/iPad

In iOS 15, it's now possible to edit PDFs via the Files app rather than solely view or share them. Here's how to do so.

  1. On your iPhone, tap Files.

  2. Open a PDF file.

  3. From the left edge of your iPhone, swipe to the right to see the thumbnail page view.

  4. Press and hold on a page to open the edit menu.

  5. Choose to rotate the file, insert pages from files, or scan new pages in.

    Steps required to rotate a PDF in Files app on iOS 15

Can You Edit Files on iPhone?

In conjunction with the new PDF features, it's possible to edit a PDF using the Markup tools. Here's how to add a blank page, fill out a form, and more.

  1. On your iPhone, tap Files.

  2. Open a PDF file.

  3. From the left edge of your iPhone, swipe to the right to see the thumbnail page view.

  4. Press and hold on a page to open the edit menu.

  5. Tap Insert Blank Page.

  6. Tap the Plus icon.

  7. Tap Text, Signature or Magnifier to add one of the features to your PDF document.

    Steps required to add signature to PDF in Files app on iOS 15

What Can and Can’t I Do With PDFs Using iOS 15?

Editing PDFs on your iPhone is a valuable step, but it's not as powerful as editing PDFs elsewhere. Here's what you can and can't do using the Files app.

  • You can rotate pages. It's possible to rotate a file left or right using the Files app, changing how it looks.
  • It's possible to delete pages and add new ones. You can scan new pages by taking a photo on your iPhone and adding it to the document.
  • It's possible to insert documents or photos. Tapping Insert from File allows you to add other files to your PDFs. 
  • You can add signatures and text. Via the Markup tools, you can add your signature or text to documents by tapping the plus icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the document. 
  • You can drag and drop text to your clipboard. It's possible to drag and drop text from a PDF, so it's saved to your clipboard and available to paste to other apps on your iPhone. 
  • You can create text files. Besides copying and pasting, you can also create a new text file with the PDF text.
  • You can't identify font styles. Some third-party PDF apps allow you to identify font styles. The Files app doesn't offer this functionality. 
  • Files doesn't offer OCR functionality. Taking a photo of text doesn't automatically turn it into editable text as it can with some dedicated PDF apps. It simply adds it as an image.
  • How do I save a PDF to my iPhone or iPad?

    To save a PDF from an email or website, select the PDF to open a preview, choose Share, then select where to store the PDF. To transfer a PDF from a Mac, open the PDF, select Share > AirDrop, then select your iOS device. To transfer a PDF from a Windows PC, install iCloud on your PC, then enable iCloud Drive to move files to your iOS device.

  • How do I scan documents with my iPhone?

    Open the Notes app and create a new note, then open the Camera app and tap Scan Documents. Hold the camera over the document to automatically scan the document with your phone.

  • Where do I find my iPad downloads?

    Depending on the file type, downloaded files typically go to the Photos app, iBooks, or the Files app. If you have any third-party cloud storage apps you have on your iPhone, you might find your downloads there instead. You can choose where to save iOS downloads in Safari or Mail.

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