Print to PDF adds a virtual printer to your iDevice. Screenshot Charlie Sorrel
Printing to PDF is one of the coolest unsung features of the Mac. Anytime you find yourself in a print dialog box, you can select a dropdown menu and turn whatever you were printing into a PDF file. It’s great for “printing” boarding passes ready to be mailed to your local print shop for actual transfer to paper, for example.
It’s a feature so fundamentally obvious that when the Lady was forced to use a Windows PC for work last week, she called to ask where to find it.
And now this feature comes to iOS. Print to PDF is an app that runs a virtual print server on your iPad or iPhone. Any time you choose to print, in any app that can send documents to AirPrint, you can instead pick Print to PDF as a destination.
Thanks to the limitations of iOS, the app can only run for a few minutes before being terminated, so you’ll have to launch it and then head back to the app you want to print from. Once there, you just pick the printer that has the same name as your iOS device and print. A dialog pops up to tell you it worked, and you can tap this to view the resulting PDF. All the PDFs can be organized into folders, and anything from the browser or e-mail client is automatically filed into a special folder.
That would be good enough, but there’s more. First, you can hit a button to turn the page of the PDF you are currently viewing into a plain text version, ready for copying and pasting.
You can also opt to have your iPad (or iPhone) to show up on your local network as a printer. Thus, you can print to it from any other iOS device, or even your Mac. It might work with a PC, too, but I haven’t tested that as my only PC is under a pile of dust beneath my bed.
There are other apps which let you create PDFs from webpages, but this one is so easy and versatile it might just become the default. It will also let you send the results to any other PDF compatible app, so you’ll never get locked in.
Print to PDF is available now as a universal app for just $4.