How to Find and Save iPad Downloads

Manage iPad files and choose where to save them

iPads are popular, handy, and powerful computing tools. Your iPad can store all your favorite apps and files, making it easy to access important documents wherever you are in the world. But finding and managing your downloaded files can be confusing and unclear. Here are some tips for iPad download management.

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. Unlike PCs and Macs, the iPad has no designated Downloads folder where all downloaded files immediately go. And, the iOS file system isn't as easy to browse as an Android file system.

A downloaded file's location largely depends on the app you're in when you access that file, although things have become a little easier with the introduction of the Files app in iOS 11. 

Choose Where to Save a File

Save your files to a location you can easily find again. While you have many options, here's how to save files 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 where to send the file. 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, 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. 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 a simple process.

  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

If you've downloaded a file and you're not sure where it went, check some of the likely locations.

Images

If you're searching for a downloaded 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 as you would a book or manual. 

Other Files

Any other files likely ended up 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 such as 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.