How to edit a PDF on iPhone, iPad & Mac

One of the most popular format choices for digital documents is the Portable Document Format, commonly known as PDF. This format allows users to reliably share and distribute documents, independent of the type of device or platform. Additionally, this format supports multimedia content embedding as well as security features essential for confidential files.

As PDFs have become a common choice for sharing documents, PDF editing tools have become more and more important across all fields of work and studies. Here are the top three methods for how to edit PDFs on iPad, iPhone, and Mac systems.

Method 1: Use an online tool like FormatPDF

For those that do not like the hassle of downloading apps to edit PDFs on iPhone, iPad, or Mac, online tools like FormatPDF.com are a great choice. More often than not, such services also offer additional functions such as PDF converters and PDF file compressors.

Here is a step-by-step look at how to edit a PDF on Mac, iPhone, or iPad using an online PDF editor like this one.

Step 1: Open the website on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac internet browser;

Step 2: Click on the “+ Select PDF file” button to upload the PDF you want to edit. Alternatively, you can also drag and drop your PDF file into the selection box;

Step 3: Once the PDF file is uploaded to the site, it will open in the PDF editing application;

Step 4: In the PDF editing application, you can edit the PDF using the tools provided in the ribbon above the preview;

Draw Tool: Use the draw tool to freehand draw on the PDF pages. You can adjust the size and color of the pen to suit your requirement. It also gives you a straight-line tool. 

Shape Tool: The shape tool allows you to add shapes to the PDF pages. You can choose the fill color as well as the stroke color, in addition to adjusting the size of the shape.

Icon Tool: You can add icons using the icon tool which also allows you to use custom icons of your choice.

Text Tool: The text tool allows you to add content to your PDF file, which is great for filling out forms and text editing.

Additional Tools: The editor also comes with Undo, Redo, Reset, Delete, Delete All, and Image Mask tools to make PDF editing easy.

Step 5: Once you are satisfied with the editing, you can click on the “Download” button on the bottom right corner of the PDF editor to download the edited file to your iPhone, iPad, or Mac system. You can also choose to manually download the file by clicking on the “Download File” button on the download page.

Method 2: Use Apple’s markup feature

Pro Tip: PDF files saved on Apple Books are accessible on all devices connected to your Apple account when you have iCloud Drive turned on for Books. This approach makes it easy to access and share your PDF files from any device anywhere.

You can copy your PDF files from your emails and other downloads to your Apple Books app on your iPhone and iPad devices. Simply share the file from the source to your Apple Books to make it available on your device. To save PDF files from your Mac system, use the Finder in the Apple Books app. You can also drag and drop the file from the Desktop to the Library in the Books app.

Here is how you can edit PDFs on iPhone for free:

  1. Open the Files app on your iPhone and select the PDF file you want to edit;
  2. To see the thumbnail page view, swipe the screen from the left edge to the right;
  3. Press and hold the page icon of the page you want to select for editing;
  4. Use the dropdown menu to use Rotate Left, Rotate Right, Insert Blank Page, Insert from File, or Scan Pages;
  5. Use the Markup menu and tap on the plus button to add texts and signatures to your PDF file;

The same approach can be used to edit PDFs on iPads and is much easier and quicker when you use your Apple Pen. The Markup feature also works with Mail, Messages, and Photos apps on your Apple devices.

PDF native tools on iOS | Image: 9to5mac.com

Method 3: Use your MacBook’s native tools

If you have stored your PDF files on Apple Books from your Mac system, it is quite possible to use the previous method to edit them on your iPad or iPhone. But, if you want to edit PDFs on your Mac system, you can edit them either with QuickLook or the Preview app.

Here is how to edit PDFs on Mac for free using QuickLook:

  1. Click on the PDF file you want to edit and press the spacebar. This will open a preview window;
  2. Click on the pencil icon on the top right of the window;
  3. You will be presented with a variety of editing tools that you can use to edit your PDF file;
  4. Click on Done when you have finished editing to save changes;

You can also use the Preview app to make edits to your PDF files. Here is how:

  1. Clicking on the PDF file should open it in the Preview app. If not, right-click on the file and choose Open with and then click on Preview;
  2. Next, click on the pencil icon which looks like a pencil in a circle to open the Markup tools;
  3. Use the required tools to make the necessary edits to your file and save the changes;
macOS Preview app | Markup & PDF editor

Regardless of which Apple device you use, a PDF editor is a handy tool to have at work or school. One of the easiest ways to edit PDFs on your devices can be using Apple’s native tools. However, these might not offer you the flexibility that you need. 

Your choice of PDF editor should be based on your requirements. If you need something simple, then Apple’s native tools should suffice. But if you want to do more with your PDF files consider downloading an app if you have the storage or better yet use a reliable online editor that saves space and gets the job done.

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