How to Make A PDF Smaller – Windows, Mac, Android, iOS Guide

Large PDFs with many pages can take up a lot of space on your device. Sometimes, you might need to make the file size smaller for work, school, or personal purposes.

There are numerous tools, both online and offline, that allow you to compress and minimize the size of PDFs in just a few minutes. These services are accessible from anywhere and can be used through any device. This guide will discuss the best ways, tools, and websites to make a PDF smaller for every device.

Reducing a PDF’s file size | Mateus via Canva

Universall Method For All Devices

Online PDF compressors offer a solution that works on any device, allowing you to reduce the size of PDF files no matter where or what device you’re using. Here are two of the best online websites to make a PDF smaller.

1. Adobe’s Acrobat Online

Adobe, a well-known name in the graphic designing an photo editing field, has an online compressor that’s easy to use and effective. Here’s how to reduce your PDF size using Adobe’s online service:

  1. Visit Adobe’s PDF-compression page.
    Open Adobe PDF editor
    Open Adobe PDF Compressor
  2. Press the “Select a file” button. This will open a window to browse your computer’s files. You can also drag your PDF file directly to the button to initiate the upload.
    Press the Select a file button
    Press the Select a file button
  3. Choose your PDF file and click “Open.” Your PDF will be uploaded to the server.
    Choose your PDF file and click Open.
    Choose your PDF file and click Open
  4. Decide on a compression level. Medium compression balances file size and quality; high compression significantly shrinks the size at the cost of quality, whereas low compression maintains quality but minimizes size reduction.
    Decide on a compression level
    Decide on a compression level
  5. Press the “Compress” button.
    Press the Compress button
    Press the Compress button
  6. Click “Download” to save the newly compressed file. This action downloads the reduced version of your PDF to your computer.
    Click Download to save the newly compressed file
    Click Download to save the newly compressed file

2. ILovePDF

ILovePDF is a versatile online service that provides various tools for handling PDF files, including PDF compression. Its intuitive and straightforward website design allows for effortless navigation and operation, devoid of complexities. Being a web-based tool, it’s available on any device:

  1. Launch your favorite web browser and go to the ILovePDF Compress PDF tool on their website. Click or tap on “Select PDF file” to upload the PDF that needs compressing.
    Click or tap on Select PDF file to upload the PDF
    Click or tap on Select PDF file to upload the PDF
  2. Select the PDF you want to inspect and press “Open.”
    Select the PDF you want to inspect and press Open.
    Select the PDF you want to inspect and press Open
  3. Pick the level of compression you need (Extreme, Recommended, or Less compression).
    Pick the level of compression
    Pick the level of compression
  4. Once you’ve chosen, tap “Compress PDF” and wait as the tool compresses your file.
    Once you've chosen, tap Compress PDF
    Click Compress PDF
  5. You can download the smaller PDF to your device when it’s finished. 
    You can download the smaller PDF to your device when it's finished
    Click Down compressed PDF to download the file
Note: ILovePDF is available for free, but there might be restrictions for users who are not registered. A premium version is also available, offering additional features, increased limits, and an ad-free experience.

Make A PDF Smaller in Windows

While there are tons of awesome third-party tools for compressing PDFs on Windows, an easy workaround can be utilized called thanks to the Microsoft Print to PDF feature before downloading anything else.

1. Microsoft Print to PDF

  1. Launch the PDF in a standard viewer (such as Microsoft Edge).
    Launch the PDF in a standard viewer such as Microsoft Edge
    Launch the PDF in Microsoft Edge
  2. Access the print function (using Ctrl + P).
    Access the print function using Ctrl + P
    Access the print function using Ctrl + P
  3. In the printer options, choose “Microsoft Print to PDF.”
    In the printer options, choose Microsoft Print to PDF
    In the printer options, choose Microsoft Print to PDF
  4. Click “Print” and save the resulting printout as a new PDF.
    Click Print and save the resulting printout as a new PDF
    Click Print and save the resulting printout as a new PDF

This approach usually decreases the file size, particularly if the original PDF included high-definition images or unneeded metadata. It’s worth noting that the reduction might not be as significant as it would be with specialized software, and image quality may be lost.

For a more efficient and customizable PDF compression on Windows, third-party software or online tools would be required, like:

2. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Homepage

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a standout leader in PDF software, known for its diverse features, including a robust compression tool. This tool allows users the flexibility to choose from different compression levels, enabling them to strike the perfect balance between file size reduction and quality retention.

What sets Adobe’s compression apart is its effectiveness; even files that have been greatly reduced in size often maintain clear and detailed visuals. Moreover, the software’s built-in optimizer offers specific control over aspects like images, fonts, and transparency, allowing users to manage where the size reductions take place precisely.

Make A PDF Smaller in MacOS

Reducing PDF size in MacOS

MacOS only provides one built-in option for reducing the size of PDFs. Explore the following steps to learn how to reduce the size of PDFs on your Mac easily.

1. Built-in PDF Filter

Mac users who regularly update their operating systems can reduce PDF file sizes without installing new applications. It’s an often-overlooked feature in macOS that can be quite handy.

  1. Open your PDF in Preview. Typically, you can double-click the file to do this, but if you have another PDF reader like Adobe Reader, you’ll need to right-click, then choose Open With > Preview.
    Open the file in Preview
    Open the file in Preview app
  2. Next, click File > Export.
    Click on File and then Export
    Click on File and then Export
  3. Open the Quartz Filter drop-down box.
    Open the Quartz Filter drop down menu
    Open the Quartz Filter drop down menu
  4. From the menu select Reduce File Size.
    Select Reduce File Size
    Select Reduce File Size

Keep in mind that this method is generally effective with large PDF files. If you try it with a very small PDF (a few MB or less), you might find that the file size increases.

This built-in method might not be sufficient for those who frequently need to compress PDFs. In such cases, a third-party app can be used, like:

2. PDF Expert

PDF Expert Homepage

PDF Expert is a versatile tool for macOS, offering a user-friendly interface for reading, annotating, and editing PDF files.

One area where PDF Expert shines is compressing PDF files without significantly losing quality. Its specialized compression algorithm ensures that documents maintain clear and sharp visuals, even after being reduced in size. Here’s how you can use the PDF Expert app to compress a PDF:

  1. Start PDF Expert and open the PDF you want to compress.
  2. Click on the three dot menu on the upper right corner and select “Reduce File Size” in the menu.
  3. Choose the compression level that suits your needs. You can also check the size of future file here.
  4. Click “Reduce” to complete the compression process.
  5. Check the newly saved file to ensure the quality meets your standards.
How to reduce PDF size on PDF Expert | Readdle Live

PDF Expert provides an array of advanced features in its paid version, but even the free version offers a top-notch reading and basic editing experience.

Make A PDF smaller on Mobile

Mobile devices have handy tools and applications that can resize PDF file sizes effortlessly. A common way to do this, which works on both iOS and Android platforms, usually involves leveraging an online web-based tool. But there are also dedicated apps that do the same thing, and they make more sense for those who need to compress PDFs on the regular.

Univeral Method for Android & iOS

Below is a well-known and trustworthy method for accomplishing this task.


Smallpdf iOS app

Smallpdf is a highly regarded online service for handling PDFs, known for its simple interface and dedicated PDF compression tool. Since it operates online, it’s compatible with any mobile device with a web browser, including iOS and Android.

How to Use:

  1. Launch the web browser on your mobile phone and open the Smallpdf “Compress PDF” tool online.
  2. Press “Choose file” and pick the PDF file you want to compress from your device’s storage. Once the file is uploaded, Smallpdf will begin the compression automatically.
  3. When finished, you can “Download” the smaller PDF back to your device.
Using Smallpdf mobile app

Smallpdf can be used free of charge, but there are restrictions on the number of tasks you can do within an hour. A Pro version is available that offers additional features and removes these limitations.

It’s crucial to exercise caution when uploading sensitive or private documents to online services. Though Smallpdf states that they prioritize privacy and delete files an hour after uploading, being mindful of potential security issues is always wise.

Making a PDF smaller on iOS

Unlike macOS, which has a built-in PDF compression preview application, iOS does not have a specific tool designed for this purpose. While iOS devices enable easy creation and viewing of PDFs through tools like the “Create PDF” feature or apps like Apple Books, directly compressing them isn’t an inherent function.

1. Quick Actions

However, a workaround is available by using Quick Actions feature. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the Files app and locate the PDF file. Then press and hold on PDF file, a menu will open.
  2. Chose the “Quick Actions” dropdown.
  3. Select “Optimize File Size” to reduce the size of PDF.
Reduce the PDF size on iOS

As this is only just a way around, for more regular and efficient PDF compression, iOS users can resort to third-party applications such as:

2. PDF Expert by Readdle

PDF Expert app

PDF Expert is a standout tool for iOS, renowned for its reliability and versatility in handling PDFs. Created by Readdle, an established app developer with a strong reputation, this tool is finely tuned to work with the iOS environment. The app’s user-friendly compression function lets users decrease file sizes without noticeably degrading quality.

Alongside its compression abilities, PDF Expert furnishes users with comprehensive editing, annotation, and file organization options. Its uncluttered user interface makes it approachable for newcomers and seasoned users.

Making a PDF smaller on Android

Android does not have a built-in app for PDF compression. Most Android devices include a standard PDF viewer, such as Google’s PDF Viewer, or an integrated version within the Google Drive app. However, these are mainly geared towards reading PDFs and don’t offer features for editing or compressing them.

If you often need to compress PDF files on an Android device, it’s wise to invest some time in finding a trustworthy third-party application that caters to your needs. Below, you will find details on some of the top-rated PDF compressor apps available for Android:

1. Foxit PDF Reader & Editor

Foxit Android app

Foxit’s solution for Android users is a versatile tool that combines practicality with a simple-to-use interface. Known for its graceful design and fast operation, this app is great at compressing PDFs without losing image quality.

The app smoothly links with cloud services, making accessing and sharing documents easy. For anyone who often handles PDFs on Android devices, Foxit presents an all-in-one answer, satisfying the needs of both everyday and professional users through its extensive set of features.

2. WPS Office

WPS mobile app

Although a full-fledged office suite, WPS Office stands out with its capability to manage PDFs. The app includes a useful PDF compression tool that guarantees documents are shrunk to a shareable and storable size. Additionally, it provides a range of editing and marking tools.

With a visually pleasing interface and efficient performance, WPS Office ranks high among the best multi-functional office applications.

Final Thoughts

In today’s digital world, efficiently handling PDFs is crucial, whether for professional or personal use. The ability to compress these files on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, ensures accessibility and ease of sharing.

From built-in features to online tools and specialized third-party applications, the options are abundant and cater to different needs. Finding the right method for your device can save space and simplify file management, allowing for a more streamlined digital experience.

PDF Compression - FAQs

Why would I need to make a PDF smaller?

Reducing a PDF’s size makes it easier to send via email, store on limited storage devices, and upload to online platforms with size restrictions.

Are online PDF compressors safe to use?

While many online PDF compressors, like Smallpdf and ILovePDF, prioritize user privacy and delete files shortly after processing, always be cautious with sensitive information. If security is a concern, consider using offline tools.

Does compressing a PDF reduce its quality?

Yes, compressing a PDF can reduce its quality, especially when using high compression levels. Always ensure the compressed version meets your quality standards before discarding the original.

Is there a built-in tool for PDF compression in Android or Windows?

Android and Windows do not have built-in tools specifically for PDF compression. Users typically rely on third-party applications or online services for this.

What’s the difference between online and offline PDF compressors?

Online compressors work within your browser and require an Internet connection, while offline tools are software or apps installed on your device and can be used without Internet access.

Can I customize the compression level of my PDF?

Many online and offline tools allow you to select different compression levels, balancing file size reduction and quality retention.


Khalid Ali

Khalid is a versatile analyst honing his expertise for the past 5 years. With certifications from Google and IBM to back him up, his knowledge extends far beyond the routine coverage of the latest trends and in the industry.