How to Download Files from Safari on iPhone & iPad

Sep 2, 2020 - 6 Comments

How to Download Files from Safari on iPhone & iPad

If you’ve ever wanted to download files from Safari to your iPhone or iPad, you’ll be pleased to know that Safari has a download manager in more recent versions of iOS and iPadOS.

Safari is widely used by iPhone and iPad users since it comes pre-installed on devices, and it works seamlessly. One major feature that the popular mobile browser had previously lacked is a download manager, but Apple has now implemented the download functionality as they pushing iOS and iPadOS towards a more desktop-class computing experience. The download feature of Safari may not seem obvious at first since it’s a bit hidden in the browser, however.

In this article, we’ll be discussing exactly how you can download files from Safari on to your iPhone and iPad, and how to find and access those downloaded files on the device.

How to Download Files from Safari on iPhone & iPad

Although Safari’s download manager is discrete, downloading files from the mobile browser is a fairly simple and straightforward procedure. Simply follow the steps below to get started.

  1. Open “Safari” on your iPhone or iPad and head over to the website where you want to download files from.

    Safari Icon

  2. In this instance, we’ll be using the Free Music Archive website to download a free song. Just long-press on the “download” hyperlink, as shown below to access more options.

    How to Download Files from Safari on iPhone & iPad
  3. You’ll now get a pop-up menu in your browser. Here, tap on “Download Linked File” to start downloading the file.

    How to Download Files from Safari on iPhone & iPad
  4. Now, you’ll see the icon for Safari’s download manager right next to the address bar. Just tap on it to view the download progress. Once the download is complete, you should be able to tap on the file to open it. You can also clear your downloads, but doing so will remove the download manager icon.

    How to Download Files from Safari on iPhone & iPad

So that’s how you download files to iPhone and iPad from Safari, but the next question may be somewhat obvious; where do the downloaded files go, and how do you access them?

Where to Find Downloaded Files on iPhone & iPad

If you just downloaded files from Safari to iPad or iPhone, you can find those downloaded files by doing the following:

  1. To access the downloaded file(s), open the stock “Files” app on your device.

    Files app icon on iPhone and iPad

  2. In the Browse menu of the Files app, tap on the “Downloads” folder to access all the files Safari has downloaded before.

    How to Download Files from Safari on iPhone & iPad

There you go.

Now you’ve learned how to take advantage of Safari’s download manager to download any files from the web on to your iPhone and iPad, and also how to access those downloaded files directly on your device with the Files app.

It’s important to note that every time you open Safari after a download, you’ll see the download manager icon unless you cleared your downloads or permanently deleted the downloaded files from your iOS device. Therefore, as long as you don’t clear your downloads, you will be able to access and open the files right within Safari.

It wasn’t too long ago that iPhone and iPad did not have this functionality directly, except for saving certain file types like images and PDF files to Photos and iBooks type apps. This made some Android users criticize iOS for lacking the simple functionality to download files from the Safari web browser. But now that there’s a Files app, the Safari download manager is able to easily download files that can then be accessed through the iOS and iPadOS file system.

Until more recent iOS and ipadOS releases came out, iPhone and iPad users had to resort to third-party file manager and download manager apps that featured integrated web browsers to download files from the internet. If you ever used any of those to achieve the desired result, feel free to remove them because it’s probably not necessary to keep them around anymore.

If you use a popular third-party browser like Chrome or Firefox, you will not be able to download any files other than images or videos from the web, as they still lack a download manager. However, Mozilla is working on a download manager for Firefox, so we can expect other developers to add support for file downloads eventually too, and it’s quite likely that Chrome will gain the capability too.

We hope you were able to download files using Safari on your iPhone and iPad without any issues. Do you download files from the web to your device? Do you think this feature is an incentive to download more files directly on to your device rather than relying on a computer? Drop your opinions, thoughts, and experiences in the comments section down below.


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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. andy says:

    From my iPhone SE 2020 on IOS 13.7, I see the down arrow next to the music choices, not on top where you show the red arrow. On top is still the reload icon, so I am a bit confused.
    So, If I go to a site where I want to download something that does not have a site specific arrow. What’s
    my next step ?

    Thank you regardless, you guys are always the best for advice and appreciated daily !

    • Louie says:

      The down arrows next to each music title are the download links for each of those tracks. Once you tap on one of those and start downloading the respective file, the blue download manager icon (down arrow in a circle) will then appear on the top right next to the address bar. Just tap on it to see the download progress and to access the file when the download completes.

  2. Louie says:

    Great to now have a download manager, but why does apple always have to leave some absurd restriction in place? at least on iPadOS the download manager should have come with the option somewhere in settings to change where downloaded files will go if we want them to go somewhere other than the default downloads folder in iCloud drive. We need that if the iPad is expected to become our new computer, as Apple touts in its marketing, because every mac and pc has that option.

    • Atreides says:

      You can change the download destination from Safari on iPad and iPhone by going to the Safari Settings.

      The whole file management system in iOS and iPadOS needs work though, it’s nowhere near the capability or ease of Mac or Windows.

  3. Chris Laarman says:

    I can access downloaded files in the Downloads folder on iCloud Drive using a third-party iOS file manager.

    However, that may be a result of me keeping most in my data in clouds, rather than locally.

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