Saving email as a PDF in iOS mail

I learned something today that blew my mind in two ways:

  1. I finally learned how to save / print an email in iOS mail as a PDF without using a third-party app.
  2. It is so remarkably unintuitive I can’t believe it came out of Apple.

Saving email as a PDF is something I do a lot — travel itineraries, receipts, confirmations, invoices, all kinds of things. Over the last six months, I’ve naturally transitioned from doing almost everything on my laptop, to doing almost everything on my iPad, which means being able to convert my emails to PDF from iOS is an important feature. I was surprised when it seemed you couldn’t do this from the default mail app. Most people said you needed to install a third party app that pretended to be a printer, or use one of the third party mail apps that has the feature built in.

Today I discovered Apple has added this feature to iOS Mail, but it’s hidden. So, here’s the trick:

  1. Print the email (at least, bring up the print dialogue).
  2. Magic trick.
  3. PDF.

Bringing up the print dialogue

This is easy, but still I’m surprised at the design choice. The print button is hidden under the curved arrow symbol everyone associates with reply, which isn’t terribly intuitive.


Magic trick

Put to fingers on the print preview (bottom half of the dialogue) and push them apart (the same motion you would use for zooming in). Doing this makes the print preview full-screen — and it turns out the preview is a PDF document.

Tap the share button in the top right-hand corner to send the PDF wherever you want (dropbox, etc).

Seriously, why would Apple think this was intuitive?