six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

iOS 9 beta sports “Save as PDF” features

We got pretty deluged with the impressive abilities of iOS 9 during Apple’s WWDC keynote earlier this month, but obviously, the company didn’t have time to show off everything. And one of the things it didn’t talk about was a much longed-for feature that lets you take most anything you’re looking at on your iOS device and turn it into a PDF.

That’s a capability that OS X has had for a long time in the form of Print to PDF (more recently dubbed “Save as PDF”). In iOS 9, however, it’s not squirreled away under the printer options—rather, it’s included in the¬†Share sheet as “Save PDF to iBooks.” (So it would seem third-party apps would need to implement Apple’s standard Share sheet to get access to it.)

And it does pretty much exactly what you’d expect. Say you’re looking at a picture in Photos, a note in Notes, or a webpage in Safari. You can turn any of those into a PDF that’s automatically dropped into iBooks, alongside any other PDFs you’ve saved there.

PDF
A PDF of a webpage made with iOS 9.

As someone who makes pretty extensive use of Print/Save to PDF on OS X, I’m psyched to see this feature make its way to iOS 9. Previously you could sort of duplicate it using Printopia, but it still required you have a Mac handy.

It’s particularly useful for webpages, since it keeps all the text, and makes it searchable and copyable unlike, say, taking a screenshot.

Now, it would be great if we could get some built-in PDF markup tools to go along with that…but perhaps that’s a topic for another time. (Update: I’m reminded that Mail in iOS 9 has markup tools, if you choose to email the PDF from iBooks.)

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[Dan Moren is a freelance writer, podcaster, and former Macworld editor. You can email him at dan@sixcolors.com or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]


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