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How to Download Files Using Safari on Your iPhone or iPad

In your work or personal life, you’ll sometimes need to download a file on your iPhone or iPad. Using the new feature introduced in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, you can now do this directly in Safari. No third-party app needed!

How to Download Files Using Safari

Safari’s download manager is a hidden new feature in the iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 updates. If you’re going about your day, browsing the web, you probably won’t be aware of the feature. Instead, it comes up when you tap on a download link.

Go to a web page and find the link for a file you want to download. When you select it, you’ll see a popup with the filename asking if you want to download it. Tap on the “Download” button.

Tap on Download button to start a download

The download will start, and you’ll see a new “Downloads” button appear next to the address bar at the top of the browser. Tap on the button to reveal all current downloads. From here, you can monitor the progress of multiple downloads.

If you want to stop a download at any time, simply tap on the “X” button.

Tap on X button to stop a download

Once the download is finished, tap on the file to preview it. If you’ve downloaded a media file, image, or a PDF, you’ll be able to see it in the preview window.

You can then share the file to any app. Tap on the “Share” button from the bottom-left corner.

Tap on Share button to share the downloaded file with any app

Press the “Search” icon next to the filename in the Downloads section to open the file.

Tap on search button to open the downloaded file in Files app

Once you open the file in the Files app, you can tap and hold on the file to reveal the menu.

Tap and hold on the file from Files app for options

From here, tap on “Delete” to delete the file.

Tap on Delete from the menu to delete the downloaded file

How to the Change Default Download Location

By default, the downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder in iCloud Drive in the Files app. This is a great option if you have a paid iCloud storage plan because it allows your downloaded files to instantly sync across all your devices.

But if you’re on the free, 5GB tier, you might not have space for storing large files.

Thankfully, you can change the default location to local storage. Open the “Settings” app and go to Safari > Downloads. If you can’t find the browser on your phone, try using Apple’s Spotlight search to locate it.

Tap on the Downloads option in Safari settings

Here, switch the selection to “On My iPhone” or “On My iPad” depending on your device.

Tap on On My iPhone to switch the downloads destination

By default, Safari will pick the “Downloads” folder. You can change this by tapping on the “Other” option to select any folder from the local storage (or from a cloud storage option).

Alternative for iOS 12 Users: Documents 5 by Readdle

The new download manager in Safari is exclusive to iOS 13, iPadOS 13, and above. If you haven’t updated to the latest OS (which you should), or if you’re in a situation where you can’t update, here’s a workaround for you.

Try using the free Documents 5 app by Readdle. It’s an all-in-one browser and file manager app.

Open the Documents 5 app and tap on the “Browser” button in the bottom-right corner to switch to the browser mode.

Tap on the browser button to switch to it

Now, navigate to the page with the download link and tap on it. From the next screen, select the folder where you want to download the file and tap on “Done.”

Tap on Done to start the download

The download will now start. You can tap on the “Downloads” tab to view all downloads.

Use the Downloads section to monitor downloads

Tap on the “Files” button from the bottom-left corner to switch to the file manager. From here, tap on the “Downloads” folder to see your downloaded file. You can tap on the download to preview it in the app. Tap on the “Menu” button to view options for opening the file in another app.

Tap on the menu button to see options for the downloaded file

Safari’s download manager is just one of the many new features in iOS 13. Take a look at our list of the best iOS 13 features to learn more.

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