How to Print to PDF on iPhone with 3D Touch

How to Print to PDF on iPhone with 3D Touch

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You can save nearly anything as a PDF from iPhone, all it takes is using a little known 3D Touch trick available only in Sharing action menus. Essentially this trick allows you to perform the iOS equivalent of Print to PDF like you would see on desktops like a Mac or Windows PC, except it’s on the mobile iOS world and available to iPhone users with 3D Touch devices.


You can perform the Print to PDF trick in iOS from just about any app, as long as it has the Sharing button and could theoretically print from it. This includes Safari, Pages, Notes, and other apps you’d expect to have this feature in. For demonstration purposes here, we’ll walk through this with Safari where we will use the print to PDF trick on a web page.

How to Print to PDF on iPhone with 3D Touch

This trick works the same to save just about anything as a PDF by using the print function within iOS, here’s how it works:

  1. Open Safari (or another app you want to print to PDF from) and go to what you want to save as a PDF file
  2. Tap the Sharing action button, it looks like a square with an arrow flying out of it
  3. How to Print to PDF from iPhone

  4. Now tap on “Print”
  5. How to Print to PDF from iPhone

  6. Next, perform a 3D Touch firm press on the first page preview to access the secret print to PDF screen option, this will open into a new preview window
  7. How to Print to PDF from iPhone

  8. Again tap on the Sharing action button at this new Print to PDF screen
  9. How to Print to PDF from iPhone

  10. Choose to save or share the document as a PDF – you can print to PDF and send it through messages, email, AirDrop, copy it to your clipboard, save the printed PDF to iCloud Drive, add it to DropBox, import it into iBooks, or any of the other options available in the sharing and saving actions
  11. How to Print to PDF from iPhone

Your freshly printed PDF file will be available with whatever means you shared or saved the PDF. I typically choose to print the PDF and save it into iCloud Drive, but if you plan on sending it to another person through Messages or email to get a signature on the document or something similar, or send with AirDrop from the iPhone or iPad to a Mac, you can easily do that as well.

The ability to print to PDF is very popular and widely used, so it’s a bit of a mystery as to why iOS has this feature hidden behind a secret 3D Touch gesture within the Print function, rather than available as an obvious menu item within the Print menus like Print to PDF is on a Mac. As far as I can tell, there is absolutely nothing obvious to suggest this feature exists at all and it’s basically hidden, which is a little weird given how useful it is to save things like web pages or documents as PDF files. But now that you know it exists, you can print to PDF to your hearts delight, right from your iPhone. Perhaps a future version of iOS will make this great trick a bit more obvious, we’ll see.

To have this pdf printing action available to you, you will need a modern version of iOS on a device with a 3D Touch equipped display. Earlier versions do not support the print to PDF gesture, but if you do happen to have an old device with an ancient iOS release you can use a javascript bookmarklet trick instead for web pages only.

Know of any other handy PDF saving tricks in iOS? Let us know in the comments.

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