Where Are Downloads on iPad?

The trick to managing your iPad downloads

A smiling older woman browsing an iPad while sitting on a sofa.

 Caiaimage/Robert Daly/Getty Images

Your iPad is a lot like having a slimline PC with you at all times. It can store all your favorite apps and files, making it easy to access important documents wherever you are in the world. Of course, that's presuming you know how to find downloads on your iPad and how to manage your files. Learn all you need to know about managing your iPad downloads. 

Instructions in this article apply to iPads running iOS 11 and above. 

Where Are Downloads on My iPad?

Using iOS on any Apple device is generally a straightforward process, but that's not the case when it comes to managing files. There's no iPad downloads folder where all files immediately go to like on PC or Mac, and the iOS file system isn't as easy to browse as an Android file system.

Where a file is downloaded is largely dependent on the app you use to view it with, although things have become a little easier to understand thanks to the introduction of the Files app in iOS 11. 

How to Choose Where to Save a File

It's important to save your files to a location you can easily find again. Along the way are various different options, but here's how to save files easily from commonly used apps.

Saving a File From Mail

Oftentimes, you'll want to save an attachment from an email you receive. Here's how to choose where the file goes. 

  1. Open the relevant email.

  2. Tap the attachment icon.

    iPad Mail app displaying an open email with an attachment icon
  3. Tap Options in the top right of the screen.

    iPad Mail app with an open email and attachment, highlighting the Options dialog box
  4. Choose which app to send the file to. Depending on the file, you can usually tap Save Image for images, Copy to iBooks for PDFs or Save to Files to save it to the Files app for general use.

    The iPad Mail app displaying an open email and attachment, highlighting the Save to Files option.

    Tap the More icon to find more options. 

  5. If you tap Save to Files, you can then choose to either save the file to your iCloud Drive or directly to the iPad, then tap Add.

    iPad Mail App displaying where to save an attachment to

    If you want to access the file from other iOS or Mac devices, tap iCloud Drive

  6. Well done. You've successfully saved the file to your chosen location!

Saving a File From Safari

Here's how to save a file from the default web browser, Safari. 

  1. Open the file in Safari.

  2. Tap Options.

    iPad Safari app showing where the Options dialog is on the browser
  3. Choose where to save it. 

    The Safari web browser running on an iPad, with the Save to Files dialog box highlighted

You may need to scroll to the right to find more options such as Save to Files, depending on how many apps are available to use the file. 

Saving an Image From Safari

Saving an image is even simpler.

  1. Open the image in Safari.

  2. Hold your finger to the image, then release after a moment or two to bring up the dialog box.

  3. Tap Save Image to save the image to your Photos folder.

    An image within Safari on the iPad, with Save Image highlighted.

How to Find Downloads on Your iPad

Once you've downloaded a file, where do you go to find it? Here's the various places it could be:

  • Images: If it's an image file, it's almost certainly stored within your Photos app. 
  • PDF: If you tap Copy to iBooks, PDF files are sent or copied to iBooks so you can easily browse the files like you would a book or manual. 
  • Other Files: For all other files, it's probably stored in the Files App. This app brings together all your files across iCloud so it can also include documents from your Mac or other iOS devices. 

If you have third-party apps like Google Drive or Dropbox installed on your iPad, they'll show up on the Share menu when you're saving a file. Remember to check there if you prefer to use a non-Apple based solution for your file storage.