Can’t Open PDFs on iPhone or iPad, How to Fix

Can’t Open PDFs on iPhone or iPad, How to Fix in 2024

Not able to Open PDFs on your device? Check out our fixes for the Can’t Open PDFs on iPhone or iPad issue in this article. 

iPhones and iPads are smart devices with many different functions. They are also devices that are aimed to boost productivity and let you work from anywhere.

One such function that most users perform regularly is opening PDFs, especially ones that come attached to emails. 

However, users have reported that they can’t open PDFs on their devices, particularly on their iPhones and iPads. If you are facing the same issue, then you are in the right place.

In this article, I will explain why you can’t open PDFs on iPhone or iPad and how to fix the issue.

Encountering difficulties opening PDF files on your iPhone or iPad? Try one of these fixes:

#1 Force restart your iPhone

#2 Turn off the Hide iCloud Books feature

#3 Sign out and sign in to iTunes

#4 Update the Mail and Apple Books apps

#5 Update the Gmail app

#6 Update iOS

#7 Remove potentially problematic third-party apps causing conflicts.

If you are facing trouble performing any of the above fixes, then continue reading this article, I will explain how to perform the fixes in detail. 

How to Fix PDF Files Not Opening on iPhone or iPad

Fix 1 — Force Restart your iPhone

Can’t Open PDFs on iPhone or iPad, How to Fix

Are you experiencing difficulties opening PDF files on your iPhone? Don’t worry, one of the first troubleshooting steps you can take is to force restart your iPhone, as temporary bugs and glitches might be causing the problem.

Here’s a detailed guide on how to force restart your iPhone based on different models:

Restart iPhones with Face ID (iPhone X and Later),

  • Step 1 Press and hold the volume up and down buttons.
  • Step 2 At the same time press and hold the side button.
  • Step 3 Keep holding until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

Restart iPhone 7 and 7 Plus,

  • Step 1 Press and hold the volume button and power button at the same time.
  • Step 2 The Apple logo appears on the iPhone screen.

Restart iPhone 6, SE (1st Gen), and the Earlier Models,

  • Step 1 Press and hold the top button on your iPhone.
  • Step 2 At the same time press and hold the power button.
  • Step 3 Until the Apple logo appears on the screen to restart the iPhone.

Now, try opening the PDF file. If you still can’t open PDF on iPhone or iPad, then check out other fixes.

Fix 2 — Turn Off the Hide iCloud Books Feature

Can’t Open PDFs on iPhone or iPad, How to Fix

If you’re encountering difficulties when trying to open PDF files on your iPhone or iPad, one potential culprit could be the Hide iCloud Books feature.

To resolve this issue, follow the steps below to turn off this feature:

  • Step 1 Launch the Apple Books app on your iPhone or iPad. 
  • Step 2 Access the My Books tab within the app..
  • Step 3 Locate and tap on the All Books option.
  • Step 4 Look for the Hide iCloud Books toggle switch and disable it by toggling it off.
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Now, attempt to open the PDF file once again. If you’re still unable to open PDFs on your iPhone or iPad, don’t worry. There are additional fixes you can explore to resolve this problem.

Fix 3 — Sign out of iTunes then Sign in Again

Can’t Open PDFs on iPhone or iPad, How to Fix

If you’re experiencing difficulties with Apple Books on your iPhone or iPad, a simple fix is to sign out of iTunes and then sign back in.

This process can help resolve syncing problems and restore proper functionality.

Follow the detailed steps below to sign out and sign in to iTunes:

  • Step 1 Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Step 2 Scroll down and tap on “iTunes & App Store.
  • Step 3 Tap on your Apple ID, located at the top of the screen.
  • Step 4 A menu will appear. Select “Sign Out” to sign out of iTunes..
  • Step 5 Once you’ve successfully signed out, tap on “Sign In” and enter your Apple ID and password to sign back in..

Check if you can open PDFs on your iPhone and iPad now. If not, check out our other fixes for can’t open PDFs on iPhone or iPad. 

Fix 4 — Update the Mail App

Can’t Open PDFs on iPhone or iPad, How to Fix

If you’re unable to open PDFs within the Mail app on your iPhone or iPad, updating the app may resolve the problem.

Updating apps regularly ensures that bugs and glitches are fixed, potentially resolving the issue preventing you from opening PDFs.

Follow the detailed steps below to update the Mail app on your device:

  • Step 1 Open the App Store on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Step 2 Locate and tap on your profile icon in the upper right corner of the App Store screen.
  • Step 3 Scroll down to find the Mail app and check if an update is available. If an update is listed, tap on it to initiate the update process 

Wait for the update to complete, ensuring that you have a stable internet connection. Once the update is finished, try opening the PDF file again using the Mail app.

If you’re still unable to open PDFs on your iPhone or iPad, there are additional fixes available that you can explore.

Fix 5 — Update the Apple Books app

Can’t Open PDFs on iPhone or iPad, How to Fix

If you’re encountering difficulties when opening PDFs in Apple Books, updating the app might help resolve the problem.

Keeping your apps up to date ensures that any bugs or glitches are addressed, potentially resolving the issue preventing you from opening PDFs.

Follow the detailed steps below to update the Apple Books app on your device:

  • Step 1 Open the App Store on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Step 2 Tap on your profile icon located in the upper right corner of the App Store screen.
  • Step 3 Scroll down to find the Apple Books app and check if an update is available. If an update is listed, tap on it to begin the update process.. 

Wait for the update to complete, making sure you have a stable internet connection. Once the update is finished, try opening the PDF file again using Apple Books.

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If you’re still unable to open PDFs on your iPhone or iPad, the next option available to you is to update your Gmail app.

Fix 6 — Update the Gmail app

Can’t Open PDFs on iPhone or iPad, How to Fix

If you’re using the Gmail app as your default mail app and experiencing difficulties opening PDFs, updating the app can help resolve the problem.

By ensuring you have the latest version of the Gmail app installed, any bugs or glitches that may be preventing PDFs from opening correctly can be addressed.

Follow the detailed steps below to update the Gmail app on your iPhone or iPad:

  • Step 1 Open the App Store on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Step 2 Tap on your profile icon located in the upper right corner of the App Store screen.
  • Step 3 Scroll down to find the Gmail app and check if an update is available. If an update is listed, tap on it to initiate the update process.. 

Allow the update to download and install, making sure you have a stable internet connection. Once the update is complete, attempt to open the PDF file again using the Gmail app.

Fix 7 — Update iOS on your iPhone

Can’t Open PDFs on iPhone or iPad, How to Fix

If you’re experiencing difficulties opening PDFs on your iPhone or iPad, it’s possible that outdated software could be the culprit.

Bugs and glitches in older software versions may impact various aspects of your device, including the Mail app and PDF functionality.

To ensure optimal performance and compatibility, it’s essential to update your iOS to the latest version available.

Follow the detailed steps below to update iOS on your iPhone:

  • Step 1 Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • Step 2 Scroll down and tap on “General.”
  • Step 3 Scroll down and then select Software Update.
  • Step 4 If an update is available, you will see the Install now option, tap on it.
  • Step 5 Alternatively you might see a Download and Install option too, if so, click on it to download and install to update the latest version of iOS on your iPhone.
  • Step 6 You will have to enter your passcode, after which you have to confirm by tapping on Install Now.

Allow the update to download and install, ensuring you have a stable internet connection. Once the update is complete, try opening the PDF file again.

Fix 8 — Remove Third-Party Apps Causing Issue

Can’t Open PDFs on iPhone or iPad, How to Fix

In some cases, certain third-party apps installed on your iPhone can interfere with the ability to open PDF files.

These apps might be set as the default PDF reader, leading to conflicts and issues. To address this, it is necessary to identify and remove any problematic apps.

Although this task can be challenging, I recommend examining any recently installed apps for potential conflicts.

Based on user experiences, the following apps have been known to cause issues with opening PDFs on iPhones:

  1. Alibaba
  2. AliExpress
  3. Centrelink
  4. WinZip

If any of these apps are present on your device, removing them may help resolve the problem. Before proceeding, it is advisable to restart your iPhone to ensure a fresh start.

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If the issue persists after removing these apps, you can consider uninstalling other recently installed apps one by one to determine if any of them are responsible for restricting the opening of PDF files.

By systematically removing potentially problematic apps and restarting your iPhone, you increase the chances of successfully opening PDFs without any obstacles.

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Why Can’t I Open PDF Files on my iPhone or iPad?

Encountering difficulties when trying to open PDF files on your iPhone or iPad? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are some possible reasons behind this issue;

  1. Damaged or Corrupted PDF Files: One possible cause for being unable to open PDFs is if the file itself is damaged or corrupted. In such cases, attempting to use a different copy of the PDF or requesting the sender to resend the file may help.
  2. Insufficiently Downloaded PDFs: If the PDF file hasn’t been fully downloaded, you won’t be able to open it. This situation often arises due to poor internet connectivity. Ensure that you have a stable and reliable internet connection when attempting to open PDFs.
  3. Email App Malfunction: If you’re using an email app to access PDFs on your iPhone or iPad, and encountering difficulties, it’s possible that the app itself is experiencing issues. Try updating the app to its latest version, or consider using alternative apps to open the PDF files.
  4. Outdated Device Software: Sometimes, if your iPhone or iPad is running an outdated operating system, it may struggle to open PDFs. Ensure that your device’s software is up to date by installing the latest available updates, as this can often resolve compatibility issues.

By addressing these common causes, you can improve your chances of successfully opening PDFs on your iPhone or iPad.

Can’t open PDFs on iPhone or iPad – Conclusion

So, there you have it, all the fixes for can’t open PDFs on iPhone or iPad issue. Try each fix one by one.

Let us know which fix worked for you in the comments below. We hope this article was helpful in fixing your problem.

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