I bought an iPad Air to use in my airplane for flight guidance (secondary screen from panel mounted GPS). I'd like to download the manuals for my various avionics, and stop carrying a flight bag that is full of paper manuals.

I can browse the web and open the documents, generally PDFs. How do I save them and open later when I'm airborne and not online? There doesn't seem to be a right-click, Save as kind of function. I have an Apple keypad for it also, but I don't see how one does mouse-type functions like I'd do in Win7 or Win10.

3 Answers 3


You can technically install one of the many PDF viewers for iOS from the App Store, save the PDFs within the app, and you are good to go. As long as the PDF is saved locally, you won't need an active Internet or Wi-Fi connection.

One of the most popular and and 1st party app is Apple Books. If you couldn't find it installed, you can open the referred link on your iPad and install it.

Once installed, you can export the desired PDFs into Apple Books app, either by syncing with iTunes, or wirelessly via AirDrop from another Mac. Once you have the app installed, you can also open a PDF file in a web browser on your iPad (such as Safari, or a 3rd party browser) while online, and export the PDF file into Apple Books. Once exported, the PDF remains available for offline viewing.

There are also a variety of other ways to get the PDF into Apple Books and a variety of other apps (such as Amazon Kindle) that lets you do the same. Totally depends on your preferences, availability and your use of other devices and services etc.

Step by step instructions to save a PDF file open in a Web browser to Apple Books app

  1. Make sure you have the Apple Books app installed on your iPad. If not, open this link on your iPad to go directly to the App Store page of the Apple Books app.

  2. Open the desired PDF file in the Web browser of your choice. Here I have opened a PDF file in Safari.

  3. Tap on the share icon in the browser toolbar (shown just next to the address bar) to reveal the share sheet. Once the sheet is shown, tap on Copy to Books item. If the option is not shown, you can enable it by tapping on More button shown at the end.

  4. Voila! the PDF file is downloaded behind the scenes and copied into the Apple Books app. It can be viewed under Collections → Downloaded in the Apple Books app.

  5. You now have access to PDF file in offline mode.

You are only limited by the amount of available storage space on your iPad when it comes to number of PDF files that can be saved for offline viewing. Apple Books can also save and open ePUB books.

  • How does one save it locally? I have a document open on a Garmin website for example, I don't see any Save or Save As kind of thing anywhere, there's no File:Save feature. Are you suggesting to open websites from within the PDF viewer and save from there?
    – CrossRoads
    Sep 10, 2019 at 17:14
  • @CrossRoads I'lll update the answer in some time with clear and visual instructions.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Sep 10, 2019 at 17:18
  • Cool, thank you. This device is not as clear as I thought it was going to be. i have 2 apps for interfacing with, and for simulating/training with, that work well.
    – CrossRoads
    Sep 10, 2019 at 17:32
  • @CrossRoads I think it's going to be open document in Safari, tap share or create pdf and then save it to files in on my iPhone. then you can find it in Files app. Also, Native pdf reader won't be a great reading experience, I suggest acrobat. Cannot speak about iBooks. Also consider having a look at the related questions in the sidebar(or bottom)
    – anki
    Sep 10, 2019 at 18:47
  • 1
    @CrossRoads Updated the answer.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Sep 10, 2019 at 19:31

Another option is an app and browser extension called Pockets, Pocket was developed for just what you want to do. It's changed some since I first used it but you can read about it at the link above. You get an extension for your browser and every time you come across something you want to read later just click the Pocket extension and the page or location is saved. Doesn't have to be PDF but works fine with PDFs. Also works on iOS. Opening the Pocket app shows everything you have saved and you can read it from there.

The link I included has a link on the first page that will describe Pocket in more detail. it turns out the Pocket extension is being changed to be loaded on the Mac App Store and is currently unavailable. In the meantime, you can load the Pocket Bookmark which allows you to save any site to Pocket by clicking on the bookmark. This site allows you to load the bookmark app.


I found a variation of Nimesh Neema’s answer that worked. In his step 3, you can slide the 2nd row of icons to the left and there is a Save to File option. I created a folder in the Keynote icon (folder?) and saved the files there. Works for files opened from a website, and it works for files in an e-mail that are Viewed in a Browser. So, not quite what was described, but pretty close, and I didn’t need any additional app’s to do it.

I don’t see the check mark to accept an answer, else I would check that.

  • Hi and welcome! Please read our quick tour. 1 One cannot accept answers for someone else's questions. 2 Please edit your answer to make it stand on its own. Nobody should assume that all things last. Thanks for the answer though!
    – anki
    Sep 13, 2019 at 5:03
  • So apparently I selected a different log in than I normally use when I answered above.
    – CrossRoads
    Sep 13, 2019 at 12:41

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