How to edit a PDF on iPhone, iPad & Mac

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

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

Method 1: Use an online tool like FormatPDF

For those who don’t like the hassle of downloading apps to edit PDFs on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, online tools like are a good choice. More often than not, these services also offer additional functions such as PDF converters and PDF file compressors.

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

Step 1: Open the website in your iPhone, iPad, or Mac web browser;

Step 2: Click 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;

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Drawing Tool: Use the drawing tool to draw freely on PDF pages. You can adjust the size and color of the pen to suit your need. It also gives you a straight line tool.

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

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

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

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

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

Method 2: Use Apple’s markup feature

Pro tip: PDF files saved in Apple Books are available on all devices connected to your Apple account when you turn on iCloud Drive in Books. This method 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 to your Mac system, use Finder in the Apple Books app. You can also drag and drop a file from the Desktop to a library in the Books app.

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Here’s how to 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 left to right;
  3. Press and hold the page icon of the page you want to edit;
  4. Use the drop-down menu to use Rotate Left, Rotate Right, Insert Blank Page, Insert from File, or Scan Pages;
  5. Use the Markup menu and press the merge button to add text and signatures to your PDF file;

The same method can be used to edit PDFs on iPads and is much easier and faster when using your Apple Pen. The Markup feature also works with the Email, Messages, and Photos apps on your Apple devices.

Native PDF tools on iOS | Photo:

Method 3: Use your MacBook’s native tools

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

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Here’s 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 the pencil icon at the top right of the window;
  3. You will be presented with various editing tools that you can use to edit your PDF file;
  4. Click Done when you’re done editing to save changes;

You can also use the Preview app to edit your PDF files. Here’s how:

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

Regardless of which Apple device you use, a PDF editor is a useful tool to have at work or school. One of the easiest ways to edit PDFs on your devices would be to use Apple’s native tools. However, these may not give you the flexibility you need.

Your choice of PDF editor should be based on your needs. 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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