Several iOS and iPadOS users have reported they are unable to open and view PDF files on the iPhone or iPad. For example, users have said that they could not open PDF attachments in Mail when they try to open them.
Your iPhone or iPad is designed to open PDF files automatically. You do not need to install any additional apps to read them.
If you are having this problem, this can be a major problem for you. This is because PDF files are one of the most common file types that are used commonly worldwide. We often send or receive a lot of PDF files daily for business or personal purposes. It is important that you fix this problem quickly.
Before we start, it is important to identify if the problem PDF document is corrupted. Are you having this problem with all PDF documents or with a certain PDF document? If you are having this problem with some PDF documents, it is possible that those PDF documents may be corrupted. These files cannot be opened if they are corrupted. Perhaps the PDF file you could not open was not downloaded properly. You may want to obtain (re-download etc) the file again. For example, if you are unable to open a PDF email attachment, ask the sender to send it again. If you are certain that the PDf files are not corrupted and if you are still having issues, then continue.
PDFs Not Opening on iPad and iPhone
After trying each solution below, check to see whether it fixed your problem.
1. Make sure that your iOS device is up to date. You can update your device wirelessly. On your device, go to Settings > General > Software Update. Your device will check for updates, and if there is an update available tap Download and Install.
2. Restart your device. Here is how:
Note that you can also turn off your device by going to Settings > General > Shut Down.
- iPhone X or 11: Press and hold the side and the Volume Up or Down buttons until you see the power off slider and then slide the slider. This will power off your device. Wait about 30 seconds. And then turn on your iPhone by pressing the Side button until you see the Apple logo.
- Other iPhone models: Press and hold the Side or Top button until you see the red power off slider. Then slide the slider to turn off your device. Wait about 30 seconds and then press and hold the Side or Top buttons to start your device.
- iPad with Face ID models: Press and hold the Volume Up or Down button and the Side button together until you see the power off slider. Then drag the slider and wait about 30 seconds. Press and hold the top button until you see the Apple logo to restart your iPad.
- iPad with Home buttons: Press and hold the Top button until you see the red slider. Then drag the slider and wait about 30 seconds. Press and hold the top button to restart your iPad.
See also: Face ID Disabled? How To Fix
3. Force restart your device. This is also called soft reset but you do not worry. This process does not remove anything. Here is how:
- iPad with Face ID models and iPhone 8 or later models: Press and release the Volume Up button and then press and release the Volume Down button and then press and hold the side or power button until you see the Apple logo.
- iPhone 7 models: Press and hold the Side and Volume Down buttons together until your iPhone restarts.
- iPad with Home button and other iPhone modes (iPhone 6s and earlier models): Press and hold the Home and the Side buttons together until the device restarts.
4. Some third-party apps may cause this problem. This problem app may act as a default PDF reader thus preventing you from opening your PDF files. You may need to find and remove the problematic app. The following apps are known to cause this PDF problem. If you have any of them on your iPhone or iPad, uninstall, then restart your device and try again:
On your iPhone or iPad, you may have another app that’s causing the problem. What you can do is to try uninstalling your apps one by one until you find the problem app. Start uninstalling recently downloaded apps one by one. After removing each app, test to see if you can open the PDF file. Once you find and remove the app, you can reinstall the other apps that you uninstalled.
5. If you are having this problem with email attachments (e.g., you can’t open the PDF attachments), you can try the following:
- Try the Web version of the email account. For instance, if this is an iCloud account, go to the icloud.com and log in using your Apple ID password, check your email there and see if you can open the PDF file. If this is a Gmail account, then go to gmail.com, etc.
- You can also try to remove the email account from your device and then re-add. First, remove your account by going to Settings > Passwords & Accounts. Choose the email account you want to delete, tap Delete Account. Restart your device and then add your account again. Go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Add Account.