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How to – Easily convert anything to PDF on iOS

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PDF or the Portable Document Format it just that, highly portable, in addition to being highly compatible with a lot of software and applications (remember all those times when you’d take a PPT to a printing place around you and then realize that he has a different version of PowerPoint which screws up the look of your PPT?). Especially at times when you need, say a boarding pass, a ticket, an email or even a web page for reference and your internet connection is feeling under the weather, a PDF version of either can come to your rescue, big time. Saving a document, web page, photo, etc., comes in handy and out of the two most used operating systems on mobile devices, one has gotten all your PDF saving needs covered with a very easy system that ‘just works’. You’d be forgiven to think that it is iOS, but, it isn’t. Android has a very simple (and intuitive) system to save almost anything under the sun as a PDF (just go to the settings in the app where your to-be-PDF-item is, tap on share, tap on ‘print’ and you are set) and the easily accessible file system makes accessing those saved PDFs a breeze too. Saving PDFs has long been thought of as quite difficult on iOS. Fortunately, there is a very easy way to do so (there are two, actually) on iOS too. The only thing is that that way is a bit hidden and isn’t very easy to find.

Now, onto to good stuff. It may be hard to find, but once to get the hang of how you can save stuff to PDF on iOS, it is really easy and doesn’t require any third-party apps. As I said above, there are two ways to go about with this.

The ‘save PDF to iBooks’ way

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This is the easier way and has been around since iOS 9. iBooks is Apple’s app which lets you buy, store and read books and other documents in ePUB or PDF formats. When you want to save anything as a PDF, you just invoke the share sheet through the share icon (usually at the bottom of the page) and tap on the ‘save PDF to iBooks icon in the middle row of the panel that opens next. If you don’t see that icon, this option might not have been activated for you yet. It’s easy to activate it. Just tap on ‘more’ after scrolling to the end of the middle row, locate the ‘share PDF to iBooks’ option in the panel that opens next and you are good to go. Your saved PDF will be waiting for you the next time you open the iBooks app on your iPhone or iPad.

The (better) ‘print as PDF’ way

We have learnt to print stuff as PDF on all our other platforms (Windows, Android, macOS), so, why should iOS be left out of the fun? Well, since the release of iOS 10 in September, your iPhones and iPads can join the PDF party too. So, when you tap on the ‘share’ icon to save something as a PDF, you should now tap on the ‘Print’ option in the last row of the panel that opens. From here, when you see the print preview, you just have to pinch out with two fingers and that’ll open the PDF version of whatever you were trying to save. Tada!

You can now save this PDF in your iCloud Drive (or any other cloud storage account that you have) or share it through any other application (Email, WhatsApp, Messages, etc.).

I don’t know why we need the whole ‘pinching out’ bit to print something as PDF on iOS but that is the way it is right now. Hope that this makes your iOS life a bit easier (albeit, one with more pinching).

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