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View any OS X file on an iPhone iOS devices
There is actually an incredibly easy way to save, organize, and view most kinds of files on your iPhone. This includes PDFs, as well as files from Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Pages, Keynote, Safari, and pretty much any other kind of file you can think of. The application that you need to use on your iPhone is neither Mail nor Safari. It is, instead, the Photo application on your iPhone. You will be able to scroll, zoom, and organize the files however you like. They will be stored automatically in a folder in iPhoto with virtually no effort.

The OS X function that allows all of this is the Print function found in most applications. Print has a special item on the PDF button called Save PDF to iPhoto. This will convert whatever you are printing into a PDF file and send it directly to iPhoto. You will organize your documents in iPhoto for syncing using this method. Here are the instructions to do this:
  1. Open the file you want to view on your iPhone in its native app in OS X.
  2. Select Print. In the dialog that appears select the PDF button on the bottom left hand side.
  3. Now scroll down the pop-up list and select Save PDF to iPhoto.
  4. iPhoto will launch, and you will be prompted for an album name to store the new files. Type in the name of the document, or if you prefer just "iPhone Documents" if you'd like to make this album the repository of all your converted documents.
  5. Sync your iPhone. You'll have to go to the Photo page in iTunes to make sure the folder is selected and that the images sync.
  6. On your iPhone, click Photos and you'll see the PDF has been broken down by pages and is viewable, scrollable, and zoomable like any other photo.
If you are printing in either Word or Excel or other supported programs, you can increase the text size of the document and print the file to iPhoto in landscape mode to increase the quality of the image that is created. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that Preview has this feature. It helps if the document you want to view doesn't have small text. I suspect there must be a way to control the quality of the converted documents somewhere, so if anyone knows how, please post.
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View any OS X file on an iPhone | 4 comments | Create New Account
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View any OS X file on an iPhone
Authored by: rodnovca on Jul 13, '07 08:37:39AM

The document produced is 200 dpi (about the same as a fax) which is reasonable. But when it transfers to the iPhone, the resolution is reduced and it is almost unusable.

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So basically this is like Telekinesis, except lamer
Authored by: Lectrick on Jul 13, '07 12:37:52PM
Telekinesis does all this and more. Allows you to access any file on your Mac (behind a password and over ssl) from the iPhone web browser. I can view all my PDF's in landscape from the road... stream ipod-format videos... etc.

In /dev/null, no one can hear you scream

[ Reply to This | # ]

View any OS X file on an iPhone
Authored by: LoganFive on Jul 13, '07 02:09:56PM

This is actually a great hint and a suitable workaround for one of the iPhone's shortcomings. Hopefully Apple will address this with a future patch.

Unlike Telekinesis, or for that matter using Safari or Mail, this hint stores the actual files on your iPhone for viewing so that you don't need an internet connection. The problem with using just Mail to do this is that Mail on the iPhone doesn't always store the attachments locally so sometimes you need to reconnect to the internet to get the files.

The main issue with this solution is that the iPhone, like other iPods, converts image files into .ithmb files for viewing on the device. These files are a strange thing. I'm sure there are technical reasons why Apple has chosen to do this. Basically, most image files are converted into a .ithmb file which is 708kb in size for viewing. Even when you select to save the full image on the iPod, as some models but not the iPhone let you do, the iPod will actually look at the .ithmb file and not the .jpg. Even a small image file seems to get converted into a large file size which is frequently, and annoyingly, of lower quality.

The workaround to this is simply to adjust your printer settings to compensate by producing an image that is zoomed in.

What also has some potential about this is that there isn't anything exotic on the OS X side of it. It's just a simple Automator workflow that can be copied, modified, and renamed. You can find it in Library/PDF Services and if you do decide to modify it and resave it in that directory the new action will show up in the pop menu on the print dialog.

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View any OS X file on an iPhone
Authored by: beowulff on Jul 16, '07 04:31:35PM

I wanted to see how well this hint worked for my Nikon D70 manual. The default settings made the final file too blurry. Changing the Automator action to 400 DPI didn't help. However, adjusting the page setup to print at 175% resulted in files that were perfectly legible.

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