It may not be well known, but iOS has several ways to save things as PDF and print webpages and other documents as PDF files. While one of the most popular methods involves using 3D Touch, another PDF generation approach is available to devices without that capability, and instead relies on a gesture trick to save something as PDF. The advantage to saving PDF files with the gesture method is that it works on iPad as well as iPhone and iPod touch, covering a much broader range of devices.
It’s quite simple too, though it is completely hidden from any obvious user interaction. We’re going to demonstrate this great PDF saving trick by saving a webpage as a PDF on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but it works the same with other document types from common apps like Notes, Pages, Numbers, and many others. You’ll need a modern version of iOS 10 or newer to have this special save PDF gesture feature, it is not included in old releases, so update your device if need be.
How to Save as PDF on iPad and iPhone with a Zoom Gesture in iOS 10
You can save webpages and most other documents as PDF by using a largely hidden and unknown gesture trick at the Print screen in iOS, here’s how it works for iPhone and iPad:
- Open Safari (or an app like Notes) and go to what you wish to save as a PDF file, this tutorial uses a webpage for example
- Now tap the Sharing action button, it’s the little square with an arrow flying out of the top
- Tap on “Print” from the Sharing sheet menu options
- At the Print Preview screen, place two fingers on the preview and spread apart, this is basically a reverse pinch gesture just like you’d use to zoom into a picture inn iOS
- This reveals the secret PDF saving option in iOS, now again tap on the Sharing action button to save or share the webpage or doc as a PDF
You can save the generated PDF to iCloud Drive, or to multiple other services and apps, including iBooks, Dropbox, Kindle, and more. You can also choose to just share the saved PDF file by way of Messages, Mail, or AirDrop too.
Why such an important and useful feature as saving as PDF is hidden behind a gesture on an obscure print screen is a bit of a mystery, but perhaps future versions of iOS will make this more obvious and easier to access directly in the Sharing menu.
This is not the only way to accomplish PDF generation in iOS, in fact you can use the aforementioned print to PDF with iPhone 3D Touch trick which is also accessed from the Print screen, or you can even save webpages to iBooks app as a PDF file in iOS using the simple sharing and save menus, though you will obviously need the iBooks app installed on the iPhone or iPad to do that.
Thanks to Luis for leaving this great alternative PDF saving option in our comments! Do you know of any other handy PDF saving, generation, or modification tips for iOS? Do you have a favorite PDF trick for iPhone or iPad? Let us know in the comments!