How to read PDF books and files on your IPhone: GoodReader App Review

Cost: USD 4.99 but special offer now at 0.99

Many people with iPhone or IPod Touch have asked me whether there are PDF readers that provides a good reading experience.

This is very important, when it comes to mobile productivity, as various groups of people need PDF readers for various use. Consider:

  • Student Reading his PDF text book for reference. You don’t have to bring around a bulky hard cover text book just in case you might need to refer to it.
  • A business executive needs to: Read the minutes of last conference meeting. Read business magazine, time magazine to keep up to date with current affairs when he has the time to burn commuting. Alot of reports are presented in Factsheets, most notably product presentation brochures. It would be better to carry it in your phone rather than alot of papers that you will not know whether to throw away or keep and you will just keep it lying around every where.
  • An IT executive needs: Reference to guide books and how-to books to help him in his work. These books can be HTML, Javascript and Windows Administration Books. How do you bring along 3 300 pages thick books with all your other tools?
  • A high school student that have alot of e-story books and magazines that wanna read whenever they are commuting between school and home.

For me, i belong to the second, third and forth categories. That is why I ache for a relatively reliable PDF reader. The problem with the iPhone or iPod touch is that the apps are:

  • cost alot to transfer fom desktop to iPhone
  • don’t present large PDF files well
  • bad scrolling experience

This is why GoodReader is an awesome productivity application off the app store. Not only does it read large PDF docs ( read 28 mb magazines with pictures) well, but enables you to view

  • Text documents
  • Microsoft word
  • Microsoft excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint

What you want in a good reader, is that it should

  1. easy transfer to phone
  2. relatively easy management
  3. -good scrolling
  4. -displays pdf documents well

I would say GoodReader meets all these criterias.
Those iPhone PDF readers require you to install apps that cost large amt of money just so that you can upload PDF docs to your iPhone just dun seem value.

What goodreader has is a couple of transfer options

1) desktop transfer client through USB.

Edit: Seems to me they have taken out this option. Oh Well this one seems pretty redundant in the first place.

2) web transfer through WebDAV. This is an awesome method to transfer! WebDAV allows you to access to file folder structure through web. And you can leverage upon your phones wifi capability to do this easily. THIS IS MY PREFERED METHOD.

First,  Connect your Phone or IPod Touch through wifi.

Second, go to the GoodReader App, click on the WIFI transfer icon.

You will see the following screen. Goodreader will provide you with your iPhone’s ip and port to connect with.

All you need to do is key in the URL e.g

and you will hav instant access to folder space where you will store all your documents.

You can then upload your document through this very simple web interface as well as create folders to start uploading.

Viewing your PDF Documents/Books

Scrolling is a breeze as you can use the up and down portion of the screen to bring you to the section next or previous from where you are reading.

The good thing about goodreader is that it does not automatically switch from landscape to portriat and vice versa.  You will have to use a button to toggle it. This is extremly helpful if you are lying sideways on a bed and reading( actually it’s not very good way of reading haha!)

Here we are searching for a phrase moving average in a trading book

Here we are searching for a phrase "moving average" in a trading book

If you want a good reference guide reader, you want to search for items, like “moving average” “html 5” “windows 7”, GoodReader is able to do that

Bookmarking a certain section of the book

You can also book mark certain sections of your PDF book.

It’s presentation and zooming in and out of content is very good. Here are a few examples of how it looks like:

Reading Magazines

Here is a landscape view of reading a PC Magazine

Here is a landscape view of reading a PC Magazine (28MB file)

Here we zoom into the Section of text

Here we zoom into the Section of text

Reading Books for Reference

Reading a Trading book with technical charts

Reading a Trading book with technical charts (300 page)

Reading an excrept of Getting Things Done

Reading an excrept of Getting Things Done (278 Pages)

Referencing VI Linux Cheat Sheet

Referencing VI Linux Cheat Sheet

One page linux info brochure

One page linux info brochure

We zoom in to see the details

We zoom in to see the details

Excel and Word Document Viewing

Viewing an Microsoft Excel 2003 documents with a few sheets

Viewing an Microsoft Excel 2003 documents with a few sheets

Zooming into the Excel sheet

Zooming into the Excel sheet

Viewing a Text document

Viewing a Text document

Viewing a 2003 Word Document

Viewing a 2003 Word Document


This must be the most worth it 99 cents i ever spent on the App Store. Totally dependable on the go reference application. With a 8GB storage, i can load a ton of reference guides in there. A definite recommendation from the productivity point of view.

[Download GoodReader at App Store >>]

The following two tabs change content below.


  1. nitin says

    Terrific article , I must say. Just one query , do I have to upload every 30 mb pdf file to the good reader site over wifi and then download the same to my ITOUCH ?
    Cos that would take very long , is it possible to direct transfer from my windows pc to my itouch via usb ?
    Please reply soon.

  2. bruce kirschenbaum says

    I get the wi fi page on goodreader. But where do I “key in the url” It shows a url and the that same WI FI page just sits there. The right hand button says STOP but I don’t see anything happening.

    How do I actually get to my documents on my computer?

    • says

      hi bruce. the url is suppose to be entered into your internet explorer or safari browser on your desktop computer or mac not your iphone. once you do that you should be able to get your documents onto your computer.

  3. leo says

    Hi! Which is the directory that Goodreader use? I have just broken my wifi and I have access with a file browser but I cant find the directory of this app. Thank you


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *