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How to view and edit PDFs on a Mac.

There are many ways to work with PDF files on a Mac or Apple device. Learn how to effectively edit text, images and other elements in just a few steps.

Can you use PDFs on Macs and Apple devices?

  • Yes. PDFs are one of the world’s most popular document formats and it’s easy to use them on some of the world’s most popular computers.
  • Macs and Apple devices come with PDF viewing software already install. Also, iPhone, iPads, Macs and other Apple products are fully compatible with Adobe Acrobat Pro, the leading software, to work with PDF documents.
  • Acrobat offers Mac users a complete PDF experience. Users can edit text and graphics, combine multiple files into a PDF, add security features and more.

Explore the world of PDFs

A person editing a PDF on their Mac while sitting on a Persian rug with coffee and candles next to them

Add text and more with Acrobat online.

Acrobat online is a free PDF editor that allows users to add comments, text, images and doodles to a PDF. To open a PDF document in Acrobat online, just drag and drop it into the Acrobat online browser window.


Acrobat online includes a text tool, drawing tool and other mark-up tools that let Mac users make notes and additions to a PDF file. However, it doesn’t let users edit or update existing text or images.

Open PDFs and make notes with Preview.

MacOS, the Mac operating system, includes Preview, a free PDF Mac app that lets users open, view and comment on PDF files. Preview is the default option when opening PDFs on a Mac. So to open a PDF with Preview on a Mac, just double-click the document you want to view.


The Preview app does not allow users to edit text, images or graphics in a PDF. To update text, insert new art assets or change other aspects of a PDF document, Mac users have to use third-party software like Acrobat. 

Mock-up of a tablet being used with Acrobat online to edit a PDF with Comment icon overlaid

How to edit a PDF on a Mac using Adobe Acrobat.

Acrobat lets you do more than just view PDFs and make notes. Create PDFs from scratch, annotate files, work with images and even make fillable PDF forms. Acrobat lets you do far more than just change the content of a PDF. It includes numerous security features so users can password-protect and redact PDFs. You can also convert PDF files into other file formats and rely on a full set of editing tools to change everything about a document.


For best results, make Acrobat your default PDF viewer on your Apple device. To do so, right-click on a PDF, go to Get Info › Open With, and set Acrobat as the default application. Once you do so, you’re up and running with a comprehensive, flexible app that will let you use PDFs to their full potential.


Try Acrobat today

Mock-up of a PDF being edited with Acrobat on a Mac with edit icon and dialogue box overlaid

Common questions about working with PDFs on a Mac.

If you open a PDF with Preview or Acrobat online tools, you can add notes, doodles and comments to a PDF. By opening it with Acrobat, you can edit the main text, images and other elements.

Acrobat online and Preview allow Mac users to open and view PDFs for free. Users can also add comments and mark-ups, but they cannot edit the main body of a PDF with these free options or a free trial of Acrobat.  

The macOS includes Preview, an app for opening and viewing PDFs.

Explore PDFs on Macs with these resources.

Explore the best way to edit PDFs on a Mac device.

Get the most out of your PDF experience with Acrobat.

Edit a PDF with Acrobat.

Discover how to edit graphics and text in a PDF or scanned PDF and learn how to handle a password-protected PDF file.

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