Why would anyone want to learn how to save a picture as a PDF on iPhone? After all, Apple has already decided that the High-Efficiency Image (HEIF) file format is the new photographic standard on iPhone and iPad devices; this has been the case since the release of iOS 11, and the company has stuck to this formula. 

This format is probably the best for taking, storing and sharing digital images on Apple mobile devices because it offers optimal resolution without taking up too much internal or SD card storage. Nonetheless, you should know that iPhone photo conversion to PDF can be done in various ways.

How to Save a Picture as a PDF on iPhone

Later in this article, we will discuss why it makes perfect sense to keep iPhone photographs as PDF files. For now, we will focus on how to save a picture as a PDF on iPhone. There are various ways you can get this done, but there are three specific methods that are built right into iOS:

  • Using the Print Options dialog menu.
  • Using the iOS Books app.
  • Using the iOS Files app.

If you are migrating from an Android smartphone to an iPhone or iPad, you may feel that converting a file to PDF on iOS is tricky, but it really isn’t. Let’s not forget that the iOS mobile operating system is modern and advanced, which means that the conversion mechanism is built-in. Apple may not want you to use PDF more than its proprietary file formats, which is why it is not so obvious. It will not take you long to learn how to save a picture as a PDF on iPhone with the three aforementioned methods. We will get into how to save a photo as a PDF through apps and utilities a little later.

Printing Your iPhone Photos to PDF

The first step in how to convert a picture to PDF on your phone is to think of photographs as digital media files that are static, which in turn means that you can print them. When you use desktop productivity software such as Microsoft Office, you have an option to save the files you create as PDF, but you can also print them to a PDF file. 

What actually happens when you print to PDF is a rendering sequence that sends commands to devices that do not necessarily need to be hardware inkjet or laser printers; instead, you are printing to a virtual file server.

The iOS and iPad OS Photos app is where you can easily practice how to save a picture as a PDF on iPhone. Even though what you will be doing is printing, it will not feel like it at all thanks to a single touchscreen gesture that makes the process feel like magic. Here are the steps:

  • From within the Photos app, open the album where the file you want to convert is stored. You will want to execute a long-press gesture on the thumbnail to bring up a context menu dialog.
  • The context menu will offer you to Copy, Share, Favorite, or Delete the file. Tap on Share in order to see new context options.
  • In most iPhone models, the option to Print will be between Assign to Contact and Translate. You should see a hardware printer icon on the right. Tap this option to bring up the Printer Options menu.
  • Now for the magic touch, you can either zoom in or pinch out on this screen and complete the conversion process. This is an example of how to save a photo as a PDF easily.
  • To set the final disposition of your newly created PDF, tap the Share icon on the top right corner; it looks like a box with an upright arrow sticking out from the middle. Here you will be able to save, email, or instantly share the file through AirDrop. Be sure to give this new file a descriptive name.

How to Save a Picture as a PDF on iPhone Using the Books App

The iOS Books app can also be used to convert iPhone photographs into PDF files. Many iPhone and iPad users find this method to be easier than the one we described above; this is arguable because you actually have to start off in the Photos app before moving to Books. As can be imagined, the Books app is designed to render and manage PDF files, which is why we can use it to convert photos. Let’s go through the steps:

  • Open the Photos app and navigate to the album where the selfie or picture you wish to convert is stored. Perform a long-press gesture on the thumbnail of the image so that a context menu appears.
  • You will want to tap on the Share option to bring up another menu. By default, iOS assigns Books to the top row of apps that you can share files. On this row, you will also see other icons such as Messages, Mail, and AirDrop; it is usually the fourth option from left to right.
  • Your selected photo will be automatically converted to PDF and stored in the Library section of the Books app. You can go there to see it; within this app, you will be able to rename the file and make notes.
  • There is an advantage to using this method: If your iPhone is configured to connect the Books app with another Apple device through iCloud synchronization, your converted photos will be available through the Library on all devices.

Should you not see the Books app icon as part of the options in the Share context menu, perform a swipe gesture to the right to reveal the “More” button, which will allow you to add the app to the top row.

How to Save a Picture as a PDF on iPhone Using the Files App

Remember how we mentioned that PDF conversion is a native feature of iOS? Using this method clearly explains this, but many iPhone users do not realize it unless they have the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which happens to provide the largest touchscreen display on the market. The longer display area means that you will see the full range of options in context menus. If you have an iPhone 12 Mini, for example, you will have to scroll down to see all the options, and if you don’t do so, you will not see the Create PDF option within the Files app at the very bottom.

Here are the steps to follow to convert iPhone photos to PDF using the Files app:

  • Open the Files app and find your way to the location where the photos you seek to convert are stored. This is usually the Photos folder, but it may also be a specific folder you created on an external SD card through a third-party file manager.
  •  When you long-press on either the thumbnail or the photo itself, a context menu will appear. The first option on the list is Copy; the last one is Create PDF, and it is accompanied by an icon of a page with a dog-eared corner. Tapping on this option is all you need to complete the conversion process.
  • Since you are already in the Files app, you should take time to rename the new PDF and move it to a location that makes sense.

The three methods listed herein take advantage of integrated iOS features. We have thus far reviewed how to convert a single iOS photo to PDF, but you can also do this to multiple files. Let’s say you are in the Photos app and want to complete the conversion through the Print function; to select multiple files, simply tap on Select at the top right corner so that you can touch all the thumbnails to be converted. You can do the same if you are sharing the photos to the Books app.

When you select more than one picture to Print as PDF or to share to the Books app, each file will become a separate page in the PDF document. The order in which the photos will appear is dictated by the default chronological sorting of iOS; in other words, the oldest images will appear on the first pages of the new PDF document. With the Files app, you have a chance to arrange your photos in an order you specify; to do this, you will have to rename the files in alphabetical or numerical order. You can do this by selecting multiple thumbnails and then tapping on the icon with the three dots located at the lower right of the screen; this will invoke a menu where the option to Create PDF can be selected at the bottom.

Third-Party iPhone Apps

Quite a few apps on the Apple App Store allow you to view, manage, edit, and create PDF files. Depending on the app you select, the process of converting iPhone photos to PDF files could be even easier than the methods we described above. Be sure to make an educated choice with regard to PDF apps for your iPhone or iPad prior to installing them; this means going through user reviews and evaluating both positive and negative.

Let’s assume you installed PDF Expert on your iPhone; once you launch the app, the conversion process would be as follows:

  • Tap the ellipsis icon located in the upper right-hand corner of the touchscreen.
  • Choose the Select option.
  • Navigate to the photo albums where your files are located; select them and tap the More option at the bottom. Here you will see the Merge to PDF option that will complete the conversion.

Apps such as PDF Expert are optimized for iPad OS, which means that the conversion process is even easier. PDFelement is another iOS app you can use to convert photos; similar to PDFExpert, it gets plenty of positive reviews on the App Store.

The PDF Advantage for iPhone Photos

The HEIF standard chosen by Apple for its mobile devices has made things a bit complicated for iPhone users who wish to share their photos. On personal computing devices that run on the Windows operating system, for example, you will have to download and install an extension that will let you open and edit HEIF images sent from iPhone and iPad devices. This is not a problem with the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), which has been a digital media standard for more than two decades.

When wondering how to save a picture as a PDF on iPhone, you should not have problems sharing images with non-iPhone users. If you want to email family selfies to your parents, for example, it would be better to send them as a PDF file instead of explaining the steps of installing HEIF extensions on their Windows desktop computers.

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