Friday, October 12, 2007

The iPhone PDF Viewer



Not much has been said about the PDF viewer on the iPhone. Most of the time, it is treated as just a bullet point in a feature list: "oh yes, and you can also view PDF attached to emails".

This is too bad because the PDF viewer is one of the best features of the phone. I have been using multiple PDF viewers running on S60 (the Nokia platform based on Symbian), including one from Adobe. None of those comes close to the iPhone PDF viewer. My only beef with it is that you can't save PDF files on the phone for off-line viewing. Why Apple doesn't make it easy for us to read those PDF we received earlier while on a plane?

9 comments:

scheeko™ said...

There is a third-party application at http://iphone.natetrue.com/
although still in alpha version

Alessandro Vernet said...

scheeko,

Thanks for the tip. I haven't unlocked my iPhone though, so I hope Apple will include something similar in a coming firmware update.

Alex

Pierluigi Martini said...

If you somehow store the pdf on the iphone, you can read it using Safari, just point to the file
ex: /var/root/hp12c_manual.pdf

My phone is jail-breaked, so I just scp files to it. works fantastically!

Berville said...

Impossible to read pdf with Safari: error message: you can't open a local file...
Thanks for your help.

Pierluigi Martini said...

Wow, that must be frustrating, berville.

Does that mean your phone is not jailbroken? Or maybe it's just a problem with the read/write permissions of the file?

Anonymous said...

I have an IMAP email account setup on my iPhone 3G, v2.2, not jailbroken. Sent myself an email with PDF attachment from my PC and moved it into a separate subfolder on the mail server. Synched the IMAP email account on the iPhone, read the email and opened the attachment. Then I exited the, went offline and locked the phone. Later I went back into the email and re-read the PDF attachment while still offline (I was in a location where there was no Edge service and 3G/Wifi was turned off). I just duplicated this at home while having Airplane mode turned on. So a copy of the email (and attachment) must be retained on the iPhone.

Alessandro Vernet said...

Right: the procedure you describe using Mail.app is indeed working now, with recent versions of the iPhone OS. And now that you can install applications on the phone, there are a number of software that let you store documents on your iPhone.

Buffer G. Overflow said...

There are certainly apps out there that let you get PDF content onto your iPhone, but what if you want to save PDF content that you are browsing on the iPhone? For example: I go to the library and download a journal article that I can only obtain on premises. Can I not save it to my iPhone for subsequent retrieval, as I certainly could do with a laptop? I've been googling about for information on this, but I don't see a lot of clear options. This may be possible with some bookmarkley action, but I haven't spotted anyone who's done this as of yet.

Alessandro Vernet said...

Buffer, now that you can install applications on the phone, you can install an app such as Air Sharing which allows you to copy files (PDF and others) to your iPhone. You can then view the files from the phone, and retrieve them on another computer.