In this digital age, we do a lot of reading and writing with our devices. PDF is one of the most popular file formats for digital documents and there are thousands of apps that can read such documents.
However, not all apps can give you the smooth and comfortable reading experience you need; some apps have better features than others. If you need a good PDF reader for your iPad, check out the 15 best PDF ones available.
Adobe Acrobat Reader is a popular PDF reader for iPads with more than 635 million installations. It’s a free app for reading, storing, and managing PDF files. There are also premium features to edit text, images, convert, combine, and organize PDFs.
With Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can read PDFs in single page or continuous scroll mode. Also, it supports dark mode which not only makes reading convenient at night but helps save battery. You can read even more conveniently with Liquid Mode.
Liquid Mode automatically adjusts contents in your PDF to fit your device. It features a unique outline for easy navigation. Adobe Acrobat Reader lets you share PDFs with others. Those you share with can view, drop comments, and respond to each other’s comments.
You’ll get notifications when there’s any activity. You can annotate PDFs using text, images, sticky notes, or signatures. With this feature, you can fill PDF forms and sign digital documents.
With this PDF reader, you can import and save PDF files in cloud storage including OneDrive, Google Drive, and DropBox. Together with the Adobe Scan app, you can create PDF from scanned images. You can subscribe to Adobe Acrobat premium monthly or yearly.
2. PDF Expert
PDF Expert is more of a PDF editor than a PDF reader but it does both expertly. It’s one of the best available as it’s a very fast app with smooth scrolling. You can choose between different layouts for reading PDF.
In addition, there are different reading modes including day, night, and sepia mode for your convenience. With state-of-the-art search, you can locate content easily; you can save search history for quick recall.
PDF Expert allows you to annotate and note documents; the app is optimized to work seamlessly with the Apple Pencil. For editing PDFs, PDF Expert can automatically detect the font style, size, and format of the already existing text so your edits are a perfect match.
You can add text, images, sign, number pages, add links, export notations, and fill out. In addition, you can merge PDF files, read documents in split view, export notations, resize files, and crop pages using PDF Expert.
PDF Expert is an ideal PDF if you prioritize collaboration; you can share and receive PDF files via Telegram, Evernote, Dropbox, Spark Mail, Google Drive, and iCloud. Thanks to the customizable toolbar, you’ll find this app easy to use as all the tools are within quick reach.
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3. Foxit Editor
Foxit Editor is an easy-to-use app for viewing and editing PDFs on an iPad. It’s a lightweight app and supports up to 12 different languages. Foxit Editor has features to edit, share, and protect PDFs.
With the bookmark system, you’ll find it easy to navigate between pages and there’s the Reflow option for easy viewing. The app for iPad also features an exclusive tabbed document interface. In addition, the app can read out PDFs.
Foxit Editor lets you import and export files from cloud storage including Google Drive and OneDrive for collaboration. Also, you can share files with other iPads or PCs using Wi-Fi. Aside from full files, you can also send screenshots from within the app.
As you browse, you can create PDFs out of web pages; you can also create PDFs from scratch. The app can convert PDFs into other files like images, text, and HTML files. In addition, you can sign PDF forms and submit them via Email, FTP, or HTTP.
While editing PDFs using Foxit Editor, you can insert hyperlinks, images, audio, and videos. You can edit the PDF’s properties, reorder the pages, and optimize the size. Also, you can protect PDFs using passwords, redaction, and MS Information Protection.
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4. Apple Books
Apple Books is the default PDF reader for Apple devices and it’s undoubtedly one of the best you can use on your iPad. It’s not just a PDF reader but a library of eBooks and audiobooks.
You can save PDFs to the Apple Books app using the Send To feature; it doesn’t matter where you download the PDFs from. The app arranges all saved PDFs in your library and you can group them into different collections.
As an Apple app, Apple Books works with iCloud. Hence, you can download and store PDFs in your iCloud storage. It supports vertical and horizontal scrolling and you can navigate between pages using the grid view or the table of contents option.
Also, as you read, you can bookmark pages and access them via the bookmark section. With the marker, you can sign pages and add text with handwriting – with the Apple Pencil, this is very seamless. Notably, there are markers of different colors.
Furthermore, with Apple Books, you can add text, shapes, and add signatures. The app features Magnifier to enlarge text. With the Apple Books library, you’ll never run out of PDFs to read; you’ll find both free and paid PDFs.
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Xodo PDF Reader features works as a PDF reader, editor, and annotator. It supports popular cloud storage including Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive.
This PDF reader for iPads features an intuitive file organizer and a fast viewing engine; all of these enable seamless navigation. As an editor, you can add text and highlight existing texts in PDFs and fill and sign PDF forms and documents.
With support for cloud storage, you can share PDF files with others and edit or annotate the files at the same time. Xodo PDF reader will load all text and annotations added using other PDF viewers/editors.
This app lets you read PDFs in full-screen mode or, you crop the pages to fit your screen. There’s also the reflow mode that auto-adjusts the PDF text size. Other interesting features of the Xodo PDF reader include Night Mode and continuous vertical scrolling.
A unique feature of the Xodo PDF Reader is that it supports MS Office files. You can open, view, and annotate Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files; you can also convert them into PDFs.
Furthermore, Xodo PDF Reader lets you merge and split PDF documents and scan and create PDFs from scratch.
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GoodReader is a premium PDF viewer and editor app. You have to pay in the Apple Store before you can download this app on your iPad. GoodReader works as an all-around document viewer and editor.
Aside from PDF, you can also view and edit MS Office, Txt, HTML, and iWord files. GoodReader makes PDF viewing very seamless; you can import PDFs from different locations and cloud storage locations.
The app has the PDF Reflow feature that extracts text for plain and more comfortable reading. You get to set the size and font style of the extracted text.
As you read, you can set the menu to either auto-hide, auto-hide with status bar on, or no auto-hide. Furthermore, the app supports bookmarking and you can navigate easily using the Table Of Contents.
The page lock feature helps to prevent accidental scrolling while reading and With Annotate and Markups, you can edit documents, fill & sign PDF forms, add, extract, remove, and rearrange PDFs; you can also split and merge PDFs.
As you add annotations, the app creates a Summary List so you can quickly find all your annotations; you can export them to email.
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7. WPS Office
WPS Office is popular as an alternative to MS Office hence it’s more popular as a document editor. Nevertheless, this iPadOS app is one of the best PDF Toolkits you can use.
As an office suite, you can easily convert office files – Word, Excel, PowerPoint – into PDFs. WPS Office supports cross-device management. You can save documents on your iPad and view them on your other iOS devices like Mac or iPhone.
The app is optimized for iPad with support for drag-and-drop and split-screen view. Furthermore, WPS Office supports ink annotations and notes using Apple Pencil.
Other features include PDF merge & split, text to speech, document compression, and optical character recognition (OCR). You can read comfortably in low light with Night Mode.
A top feature of this app is multilingual support; the app supports 13 languages including English, Indonesian, Hindi, and Japanese.
You can download WPS for free for PDF viewing and annotation. However, you must subscribe to the premium plan to edit, sign, encrypt, and insert objects into PDFs.
WPS Premium Pricing options include:
- 6-month Plan: $18.99
- 1-year Plan: $29.99
You can try premium for seven days before subscribing.
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8. MuPDF Viewer
If you need a lightweight PDF reader for your iPhone, MuPDF viewer is one of the best options to use. You cannot only view PDFs but also XPS, ePUB, CBZ, and other eBook file types.
With this app, you can open and render PDFs saved on your iPad or from cloud storage. You can read PDFs in full-screen viewing mode with features like zoom and search.
The toolbar features a quick search and table of contents for quick navigation. You can open multiple PDFs at a time using the Overview option. In addition, the scrubber option lets you switch easily between different pages.
Like most PDFs apps, MuPDF restores your last view when you exit and reopen the app. Notably, there’s link navigation that helps you easily identify links in the document. With the Note feature, you can add comments to files.
The app supports annotation; you can highlight text within documents, and draw annotations with different line thicknesses and customizable colors.
MuPDF supports thousands of printers for wireless printing. You can share PDFs with others via Dropbox and Google Drive, or email. In addition, you can share documents with other iPad applications.
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9. PDF Viewer
The PDF Viewer app lets you work with PDFs on the go. You can read, review, and annotate PDFs with simple tools. Notably, you need iPadOS 13 or later to install this PDF Reader.
PDF Viewer supports annotation via highlighting and adding notes; you can also add images and freehand ink drawings, amongst other annotation features.
There’s an annotation inspector that checks your annotation style to ensure they match your needs. In addition, all annotations you make are featured in the bookmark tab for quick review.
With PDF Viewer on your iPad, you can split view PDFs and read while doing other stuff. The app also works as an editor for adding, deleting, and rearranging PDF pages. You can create new PDFs from existing PDFs.
PDF viewer is optimized for iPad top features including support for Apple Pencil, Taptic Engine, adaptive layout, iCloud, 3D Touch, and iMessage stickers.
You can download and use PDF Viewer for free. However, the premium version, PDF Viewer Pro, offers more features like redaction and PDF merging. You can subscribe to the pro version annually or every three months.
Developed by Superace, UPDF is a lot more than a PDF reader. The app is mainly for managing and securing your documents – PDFs and other types. With the UPDF app, you can read, sign, markup, and scan PDFs.
The built-in smart scanner works for creating PDFs by scanning anything – photos, boards, documents, notes, cards, receipts, and others. You have options to add filters, crop, and reorder the page while creating the PDFs.
For markups and signing, the app features a freehand drawing tool. With this tool, you can add text, magnify text, draw lines, markups, and add notes to your documents. You can sign using your fingers, Apple Pencil, or other stylus.
UPDF is an ideal iPad PDF reader if you prioritize security. Files you save are stored securely and can only be accessed using your Face ID or passcode. You can apply this security measure to the entire app or specific PDF files.
As the app supports different document types, the Ultimate File Manager ensures you can access your target files with ease. The interface is user-friendly and with a few clicks, you can convert other documents types into PDF.
Here we have a PDF reader that focuses on annotations. It’s a fast app with powerful annotation tools for highlighting, drawing, underlining, and stamping amongst others.
iAnnotate loads your documents from different sources, mainly local and cloud storage sources. It automatically converts the documents into PDFs for you to work on.
While reading, you can swiftly switch between pages and documents. The toolbar and tab are hideable for a real full-view reading experience. In addition, you can use the document or library-wide search.
You’ll find iAnnotate easy to use and navigate as most of the layout is customizable. In addition, the app is secure as it supports keychains functions and iOS Data Protection.
After annotating, you can share the finished work as an annotated PDF, flattened PDF, or PDF without annotations. Annotated PDFs are editable with other PDF readers while flattened PDFs are not.
The PDF without annotations option shares the original PDF documents, excluding any annotation you made. You can as well share just the annotation summary, without the main PDF file.
iAnnotator isn’t a free PDF reader. You pay a one-time fee to download the app from the Apple Store. There are no recurring subscriptions.
12. Lumin PDF
Lumin PDF is a freemium PDF app for viewing, editing, and sharing PDF. It features easy-to-use tools with real-time sync, annotation tools, cloud integration, collaborating, and more.
Currently, more than 48 million people use Lumin PDF. The app also boasts of corporate users including Netflix, Uber, Insider, and Berkeley University of California.
With Lumin PDFs, your files autosave to cloud storage including Google Drive and Dropbox as you edit. There’s also a native cloud solution.
You can share PDF documents with others, see their changes in real-time and chat with them using in-app messaging. In addition, the app integrates with Google Classroom which is a plus if you’re a student or academic instructor.
Other things you can do with Lumin PDF include splitting and merging PDFs, compressing PDFs, OCR, annotating, commenting, and unlocking PDFs. Notably, Lumin PDF supports e-Signature for signing PDFs.
Lumin PDF premium costs $10 per month. With the premium plan, you get access to advanced features including data encryption, large PDF file sharing, dedicated account manager, and premium security controls.
13. Drawboard PDF
Although the Drawboard PDF app is one of the best PDF readers for iPads, the app is more popular with Windows users. It’s one of the best PDF readers for collaboration.
You can access both local and cloud PDFs and work on cloud PDFs at the same time as other users. Features like Night Mode and the intuitive interface make reading easy.
As you read, you can save pages and sections you’re interested in as bookmarks for later review. In addition, you can reorder pages by dragging them around and merging PDFs with the document builder.
Drawboard PDF is also one of the best options for PDF mark-up. There are tools for drawing and inserting lines, shapes, text images, signatures, and more. With the Measure feature, you can scale and set page calibrations.
PDF markup with Drawboard PDF is easy as all tools are within quick-reach in the toolbar. Also, your most-used tools are placed in a Favourites Bar which you can position anywhere on your screen.
The app has different options for saving and sharing. You can export just the annotated pages or flatten PDFs such that the annotations are not further editable.
This PDF reader app lets you do more than reading with options to annotate, share, and manage PDFs. One of the main advantages of using this app is it’s very lightweight.
The app lets you sync documents from cloud storage including Dropbox and Evernote and with the SharePoint feature, you can check in and check out files.
Gaaiho PDF Reader features rulers and grids for better-organized reading. You can view more than one PDF at a time with multi-window and multi-page options.
Also, the app supports single page and continuous page views. You can navigate pages by simply entering the page number or using the search button.
The app has rich annotation tools for adding notes, text, shapes, images, highlights, and stamps. Notably, there’s a comment panel from which you can import and export comments or create a comment summary.
Gaaiho PDF Reader integrates with AddPDF that lets you create and convert other file formats to PDFs. You don’t need to install the AddPDF app and all of Gaaiho’s PDF reader features are available for free.
15. Ink PDF
Ink PDF offers a simple and easy-to-use solution for reading and editing PDFs. You can read in single or double-page scroll mode with options like zoom in, zoom out, and full-text scroll.
With Ink PDF, you can import documents from your local storage, iCloud, emails, or other iPad apps. Similarly, you can share PDFs with other iPad apps or save them in your local storage. It doesn’t support direct import and export to other cloud storage.
The app features professional annotation tools and styles for markup. It supports PDF audio reading and will recognize any PDF document with embedded audio. You can play audio in list or single-loop mode.
Ink PDF supports daytime and night mode for reading in different light conditions. In addition, there’s the Paper option that changes the background of your PDF to that of a traditional paper. With the Eye Protection option, you can read safely.
Some PDF readers are good for just reading, others are best for editing, while some are perfect for adding annotations. Hence, the best PDF reader to go for depends on the features you want.
Nevertheless, no matter the features you’re interested in, you’ll find a PDF reader from the list above.
Scott L. Macarthur is a marketing consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in providing his expertise to startups and SMBs. He is also an author on TheNextWeb.