How to Download PDF files on iPad

January 29, 2011, By Fouad Bajwa

iPad with on display keyboard
Since I own an iPad for quite some time now, I have been playing around with it finding more ways to make it more usable and add a lot of PDF content that I have stored on my computer and would like to read it on my iPad.

Most of the tutorials on the Internet target at selling various kinds of applications through iTunes in order to download PDF content to your iPad but that really is not necessary as this can be done free of charge and conveniently.

The most convenient way today is using the iBooks application on your computer and iPad:

  1. Launch the iTunes application on your computer and connect your iPad to your computer using a USB cable or visit the iTunes App Store on your iPad if you have a WiFi connection in range or are using iPad with a 3G connection.
  2. For any iPad user, you should have the latest version of iTunes installed on your PC or Mac especially when you are connecting your device to a computer to sync with iTunes.
  3. Download the free iBooks application from the App Store on to your computer here or through iTunes or directly to your iPad. Note that when you sync your iTunes and iPad, the iBooks application will be updated on your iPad from your computer.
  4. With iBooks 1.2 and iTunes 10.1 or later, you have the ability to view, sync, and print PDFs right to your device.
  5. You can even view PDF e-mail attachments or PDFs from Safari, all within iBooks as the application now provides native support for PDF file and content viewing on an iPad other than the epub only format in earlier versions.
  6. Once you have completed the transfer and installed iBooks either on both your computer and iPad, you will see that iTunes now displayes Books under the Library section.
  7. Transfer all the PDF files you want to view on iPad into the books section by selecting the option > Add to Library and the files will be included in the library.
  8. Now sync your iPad with iTunes and all your PDF files from your computer will be transferred to iPad.
  9. All your PDF files will be available under iBooks application on your iPad.

The second method is to use the email application on your iPad:

  1. The most common method to load PDF files on to your iPad is to email the files to yourself as an attachment.
  2. Without loading the Safari browser, launch the Mail application on iPad.
  3. Open the email you sent yourself with the PDF attachment.
  4. Click the PDF file.
  5. Once opened, tap on it and you will see a new option loaded > Open In… >.
  6. Choose Open in iBooks.
  7. The file will now open and be stored in iBooks.

The third method is using the Safari browser on your iPad:

  1. Open the Safari browser on iPad.
  2. Type in the url of the PDF file.
  3. As the PDF file opens, tap it and it will give you the same options as in the second method to Open It in iBooks.
  4. Once the PDF files loads up in iBooks, it has been stored on your iPad for later viewing.
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