PadGadget How-To: How to Save Web Pages for Offline Reading on your iPad

One of the best things the iPad has to offer is convenient web browsing. The Apple tablet is so much more than just an e-reader. Being able to check out various websites while riding public transit to work makes the uncomfortable ride so much better. Unfortunately, not everyone has 3G or 4G capabilities. If you want to have some of the same opportunities for web browsing that owners of the fancier iPad models have, try offline reading. It will open up a world of opportunity for you.

Safari now has an offline reading feature, but it didn’t always. It used to be that iPad owners had to find ways to save web pages for offline reading, like taking screen shots, converting pages to PDFs, or simply finding apps that accommodated offline reading.

Not everyone uses Safari for web browsing on their iPad, and some old-schoolers still like to stick with their favorite apps. There are some fantastic offline reading apps in the App Store that should be mentioned.

For example, Offline Pages ($4.99) lets users save entire web pages for offline reading, including formatting and images. All you have to do is add the feature to your iPad’s web browser and then tap the button to save what every page your want.

Also, Instapaper ($3.99) lets you save articles and blog posts for offline reading as text only. The benefit of this is two-fold. You don’t have to worry about busy images distracting you while you are trying to read, and it saves loading time and storage space.

Pocket (Formerly Read It Later) is probably the most popular offline reading app, partly because it is free. One of the best features of Pocket is that it syncs articles across devices. If you are on your iPhone and save articles for offline reading with Pocket, you can read them from your iPad later once they’ve synced. You can also save videos and articles from other apps, like Flipboard or Zite for offline reading.

Of course, there is no easier, or cheaper, way to save web pages for offline reading than with the Reading List feature in Safari’s mobile web browser. Basically, all you have to do is a little bit of Internet surfing before you leave in the morning and you can save it all for later.

On your iPad, open your Safari browser and type in a web address. Once you find a page that you want to read, tap the “share” button in the upper right corner, next to the address bar. It looks like a rectangle with an arrow shooting sideways out of it.

Then, tap the “Add to Reading List” icon in the lower right corner. It looks like a pair of glasses. Repeat the process with every website you visit, but don’t have time to read.

Once you hit the road, or the coffee shop, or your non Wi-Fi enabled job, open the Safari mobile app again and tap the book icon that is right next to the “share” icon. This will call up your browser’s bookmarks, browsing history, and Reading List. Tap on the glasses icon at the bottom of the list on the right side to view your offline reading list. Even without Internet access, Safari will load the webpage so you can read at your leisure, anytime anywhere.

Once you’ve read the webpage, it will disappear from your “Unread” list, but still be available to you if you want to read it again later. You can remove the webpage from you reading list by swiping from right to left on the list. Just like deleting practically everything iOS-related, the familiar “Delete” tab will appear and you can tap it to get it off your reading list forever.

There you have it. You no longer have to envy your 3G or 4G-enabled friends for their ability to browse the Internet while sitting at the train station.

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik

  • Starman_Andromeda

    Brilliant! Thanks for explaining this!

  • Starman_Andromeda

    Oops! Spoke too soon. It doesn’t work, e.g., on Amazon Kindle book notes pages.

    • Lory Gil

      Hi there, I’m not sure what you mean. Are you trying to read your Kindle books on the iPad offline? You can do so from Safari by visiting your Kindle library and selecting the “read offline” option (or using the Kindle Reader app). Are you trying to save an Amazon page for offline reading? I’m not sure what the “book notes” page is. If you have a moment, please let me know and I’ll look for a solution. Thanks!

  • Frank Conijn

    I just tested your method with my iOS 8.2 iPad in the following way: surf to a web page, add it to the Reading List, close the web page tab, disconnect from the internet, reopen a tab, tap the Book icon and then the Reading List, and tap the saved page-title. But then Safari says that it cannot open it because it is not connected to the internet. Is that normal, do you have the same thing?