How to Open Email Attachments on an iPhone

The Mail app on the iPhone makes it easy to open and view almost any type of attachment. With just a few taps, you can see photos, presentations, Word documents, and more.

Step

When you're viewing your inbox, you can easily identify which emails have attachments by the paperclip icon on the left. Tap on the email and scroll to the bottom. The attachment appears at the end.

Locate emails with attachments by the paperclip icon to the left of the sender's name.
credit: Whitney Kisling
Tap the box that appears at the end of the email to view or download the attachment.
credit: Whitney Kisling

Step

Although some attachments automatically begin downloading or appear without any action on your part, most appear as a white box at the end of the email. These boxes display with the file extension or a prompt that asks you to "Tap to Download."

Step

If the attachment starts downloading automatically, you can tap it once it's finished to view it in a new screen within the Mail app. Otherwise, tap the attachment once and wait for the gray wheel to indicate downloading is complete.

Step

Within the new screen on the Mail app, zoom in and out as you would a photo in your photo library.

Select from the pop-up menu which relevant app to use to open the attachment.
credit: Whitney Kisling

Step

There are two main methods to open an attachment with a relevant app.

Step

  • From the preview in the Mail app, tap the icon at the top right. A pop-up box displays listing recommended apps. For example, open a PDF in iBooks or a presentation in Keynote. You also have the option to copy or print the attachment.

  • From the email, touch and hold the downloaded attachment to bypass the new screen within the Mail app. A pop-up menu displays relevant apps with which you can open the attachment.

Step

Most file formats are compatible with the iPhone. Some of the most common extensions are JPG, DOCX, PDF, PPT, and TXT.

Step

Any file types that aren't supported alert you with an error message.