Can’t Open PDF on Android? Try These Fixes

Can't Open PDF on Android

This guide will help you resolve issues with PDF files on your Android phone. You can use the information provided for you here to help you open PDF files on your Android phone.

Why Can’t I Open a PDF on My Phone?

Adobe PDF files – short for portable document format files – are commonly used in today’s society.

The primary function of PDF files is to be viewed as they preserve document formatting, much differently than .docx files, which allow for a chance for the content of the document to be displaced.

1. PDF Damaged

The document cannot be opened on mobile devices or computers if the PDF file is damaged. PDF files can get corrupted anytime you upload, download, or otherwise use them.

There are minor levels of corruption and more severe levels, but the error codes distinguish between the two.

Among others, possible causes for damage to PDF files include:

Unstable internet connections can result in download issues, damaging the file’s structure and resulting in corruption.

Data storage devices, like hard drives, can develop bad regions occasionally. If the file is saved in a bad region, the PDF file will also be corrupted. If the hard drive itself is corrupted and the file is on that hard drive, the file will also be corrupted.

The system is abruptly shut down while the PDF is open.

The system storing the original PDF file is affected by a virus which is causing issues with the files as well.

If two programs do not work together and you use them to open a PDF, your file may also be damaged.

Fix – Ask Sender to Send Email with PDF Again.

If the file is corrupted in exchange, the easiest fix is to ask the sender to send the email with the attached PDF file again. It is possible that the email server corrupted the file by encoding it incorrectly.

When asking the original sender to resend the PDF, it may also be helpful to ask them to zip the PDF before sending the email or ask the sender to share it using cloud storage like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Adobe Send rather than email.

A ZIP file is a common file format that compresses one or more files together in a single location.

Not only does this reduce file size, but it also makes it easier to transport or store such files. After the ZIP has been sent, the receiver can extract the ZIP file and use the file in the original format.

ZIP files are compatible with all devices with modern operating systems like Android. This can be done by using the Files by Google app, but there are alternative ZIP file extractor apps if this is not suitable.

For corrupted files, it is possible in some instances to use a PDF recovery tool. Such software assists you in opening PDF files that cannot be opened with Adobe Acrobat and saved into a new document.

2. The Email App is Defective

Sometimes the email app itself can corrupt files in transit from one destination to another.

Fix – Use a Browser or PC

If the email app is defective, it is likely that your PDF file could be corrupted in transit.

The easiest way to fix this issue is to use a third-party email client for your phone. You could go directly to the browser.

There are also some solutions to fix your email application not functioning properly.

1. Update the mail app.

If your email application is outdated, it may not sync properly. Ensure you update this profile and see if the emails start syncing as they should.

2. Reset the mail application.

You can reset the application if the first solution fails to give you positive results. This deletes related data and, in many cases, resolves instances of the mail application malfunctioning.

3. Reinstall the mail application.

Once the application is uninstalled, however, you will have to reinstall it in order to restore functional usage of the mail app.

You can do this by locating your email application on the Google Play store and downloading it to your phone and see if it works as expected.

3. The App Is Out Of Date

It is important to regularly check for application updates because an out of date application may make your PDF file inaccessible.

Fix – Update Native PDF App

The simplest app capable of opening a PDF is Google PDF Viewer. This application does not allow you to open it directly, but it will appear as an option when you attempt to open a PDF with your Android device.

Another option is Files by Google. This application is more functional than the previously mentioned Google PDF Viewer.

It is a full file manager that allows you to open PDF files. Much like Google PDF Viewer, Files by Google also appears as an option upon attempting to open a PDF.

The most popular choice, however, is the Adobe PDF reader for Android. This app is from Adobe, which created the PDF file format. This application is popular on Windows PCs and it is one of the most popular apps for PDF file usage.

Adobe PDF reader for Android is filled with interactive features like one that allows you to sign PDF files with your fingertips. The application also has readability controls that allow you to change things like the default font size to make the PDF more comprehensible.’’

Additional features include components that increase shareability and encourage collecting feedback in a single location. This increases collaboration.

With an Adobe PDF reader for Android, you have the ability to store and access your files from a single location. You can also share and track your PDF files, and get notified the moment someone opens, downloads, or shares them.

Utilize the following steps to update your PDF viewer or a related application.

1. Tap the Google Play Store icon on your Android device.

2. Tap the three horizontal lines in the lower-left corner of your screen.

3. Tap My apps & games.

4. Tap on the application you intend to update.

4. Poor Internet Connection

If your internet connection is not strong enough, you will be unable to open PDF files.

Fix – Check Your Internet Connection

If you cannot access the Internet on your Android device, there are various troubleshooting steps you can take.

You can try some of these general troubleshooting tips for internet connection with Android devices.

Option 1 – Restart your Android Device.

Option 2 – If the first option does not work, try switching between Wi-Fi and mobile data:

    • To do this, Open your Settings application and tap Connections or Network & internet. This section’s name may differ depending on the device you own.
    • Tap the bar beside Wi-Fi to turn Wi-Fi off and scroll down to the section that allows you to enable mobile data.

If your issues lie within the realm of mobile data, some of the following tips may help you:

Check that your mobile data is turned on and that you have an active connection.

1. Open your Settings app and tap Connections. Then click mobile data or cellular data.

2. Turn mobile data or cellular data on. If it is already on, flick it off and then on again.

3. Check that there is a data indicator at the top of the screen. For example, you may see something that says 3G or 4G.

4. If you have an active Wi-Fi connection, this may not show.

5. Turn airplane mode on and off.

6. Open your Settings app and tap Connections before tapping Airplane Mode.

7. Turn it on.

8. Wait for 15 seconds.

9. Turn Airplane Mode off.

If you still have problems after you connect both of these steps, it is wise to contact your service provider for additional assistance.

Perhaps your issues are related to your Wi-Fi Connection. If this is the case, try some of the following options.

Check that Wi-Fi is both turned on and that you are connected to the network. Open your Settings app and tap Connections. Turn Wi-Fi on. Find the indicator at the top of your screen.

If there is no indicator, or none of the bars for the indicator are filled, you may be out of range of a Wi-Fi network.

To resolve this issue, move closer to the router. After doing this, check if that strengthens your wireless connection. Try again.

If you are connecting to Wi-Fi at your home or business, you can check the router’s manual for instructions on resetting it. However, a universal plan of action that typically works involves the following:

1. Unplug the router from electricity and hold until the lights on the router turn off.

2. Wait 30 seconds.

3. Plug the router back in and wait until all of the lights come back on.

If you still have issues after following the aforementioned steps, check with your internet service provider.

5. Bug

It is likely that there is a bug related to your Android device. If this is the case, it is important to capture and read bug reports that you can send to the developer to help improve the functionality of your device.

Bug reports have diagnostic information that helps developers locate and fix bugs in certain applications or the operating system itself.

Each Android device has a function installed that allows it to capture bug reports.

To get a bug report directly from your device, follow the following steps.

1. Make sure you have developer options enabled on your device.

2. In the options menu for developers, tap take bug report.

3. There will be a dropdown menu with different types of bug reports. Tap the one you want and tap Report.

4. Wait for a few moments, and then you should see a notification that you can tap that allows you to share the bug report you just recorded.

If this is the case, one of the following solutions may help you.

Fix – Close the App and Restart

1. Open Settings

Tap the gear-shaped icon. This can usually be found in your Android device’s applications section. Additionally, you can swipe down from the top of the screen, which will open notifications and, from there, you can tap the gear-shaped icon in the top-right.

2. Tap Apps

This is to the right of an icon that looks like four circles. Tap it and it will allow you to see an alphabetized list of every application installed on your Android device.

3. Tap the application you’re using to open the PDF.

This will show you the information the phone is storing related to the application. There will also be additional options listed in this section.

4. Tap Force Stop.

This will likely be the second option below the application’s title. After tapping this, you will see a confirmation pop-up window.

5. After this, tap Force Stop again to stop the application. This is where the app will actually stop, and the Force Stop button will no longer be available because the application is no longer active.

6. Tap the Home Button.

This should return you to the home screen.

7. Reopen the application.

8. Reopen your application section and select the application you have just forced to close.

If the aforementioned steps don’t work, try one of the next options.

Fix 2 – Restart Your Phone

Nearly all Android devices have a power button. Hold the power button for approximately 10 seconds to uncover the power menu.

Fix 3 – Force Restart Phone

If your phone is frozen or otherwise unresponsive, the power menu may not display after holding it. If this occurs, you should Force Restart the Android device, turning it off and back on.

To do this, follow the following steps.

1. Hold the power button for approximately thirty (30) seconds, or alternatively, hold both the power key and the volume down key for nearly ten (10) seconds.

2. The phone screen will be black for a brief period and eventually power back on automatically.

If your phone is not frozen and you attempt to reboot it by simultaneously holding the volume down and power keys, your phone may capture a screenshot.

Do not allow this to stop you from holding the buttons because the phone reboot will still initiate despite the screenshot being taken.

Fix 4 – Update the App

You can update any application by itself or with every application that you have scheduled to update. It is important to update applications regularly so that you can have access to the latest features implemented by developers and avoid security risks.

You can update an application by following these steps.

1. Open the Google Play Store application.

2. In the top right, tap the profile icon.

3. Tap Manage apps & devices. From here, you will see a list of applications. Applications eligible for the update are labeled with “Update available.”

4. Find the application you are looking to update and tap Update.

It is also possible for you to schedule for individual applications on your Android device to update automatically. Use the following steps to do this.

1. Open the Google Play Store application.

2. In the top right, tap the profile icon.

3. Tap Manage apps & devices. Once again, a list of applications will display.

4. Tap Manage. Then locate the application you want to set to auto-update.

5. Open the application’s Details page by tapping the application.

6. On the details page, tap More. This icon will likely just be three dots stacked on top of one another.

7. Turn on Enable auto-update.

Fix 5 – Update Phone

It is important to keep your device updated regularly so you have access to the latest features released by developers and heightened security on your device. Updating your device regularly can also increase the overall performance of your device.

Before you update your device, take the following steps to protect your device and avoid common issues. Charge your device. If you fail to charge your device, the device may power down in the midst of an update.

The worst result could be the phone being rendered inoperable. Many modern smartphone operating systems disable the power button during installations to avoid this happening, but if your phone is not charged, this will not be beneficial because it will power off regardless.

Your phone powering off during an update could damage the software and create a host of issues. However, this is not often an issue with most modern devices because the Android OS requires the battery to have enough charge to finish the entire update.

Back up your files. It is unlikely that an operating system upgrade will affect the data stored on your Android device, but this is a precautionary move just in case of device failure throughout the installation of the update.

Make sure your device is compatible with the OS upgrade. In some instances, older devices will be incapable of installing newer operating systems. It is important to check and ensure your Android device is compatible with the more modern operating system.

Delete applications you no longer use. Depending on the update, a new operating system may use memory on your device. Most of the time, these operating system updates do not utilize a significant amount of storage on your device.

However, this is an important practice to learn because it allows you to clear out applications that are simply taking up space on your device and possibly limiting its functionality.

Use the following steps to update your Android device.

1. Ensure your device is connected to Wi-Fi.

2. Tap the gear-shaped icon to open your settings.

3. Select About phone.

4. Tap Check now for the update.

5. If an update is available, you will have an option to update. Tap this.

6. Install any updates your device is eligible for.

7. You will then get a second notification that will say something like Install Now. Tap it.

You can also take a few steps after you update your operating system to ensure that the device is functioning as intended.

In some cases, the new operating system will have pre-installed settings that differ from those you had selected prior to the update.

Check the following list of settings to ensure that yours did not default back to those that the system prefers.

Check your Wi-Fi settings. Most Android devices contain a function that automatically switches to data usage when Wi-Fi signals are weak. If you intend on limiting data usage in any capacity, it is important to switch this function off.

Check for automatic app updates. How to automatically update applications is mentioned above. To check which applications are set to update, follow those instructions automatically.

Check the privacy settings. You will find settings for device and network connections within the privacy settings section.

These include things like ad tracking, social media settings, location services, and Bluetooth sharing. Ensure that these settings are set to function as you intend.

Check for operating system compatibility for your most important applications. As mentioned previously, a new operating system may not be compatible with your device itself. However, the same thing occurs with the operating system and applications.

Each application may not function with a new operating system until the developers for the application issue a patch to ensure compatibility. If you notice issues with any of your applications, check for updates on those individual applications.

If you are struggling to open a PDF on your Android device, you are not alone. This is a common challenge for many people who use PDF files daily.

PDF files are useful file formats that allow for the premium functionality of the documents they capture. These allow for compression, resizing, conversion, etc., as opposed to other file types.

Many of the most common issues that people share with PDF file usage related to opening files are listed above.

If you are having any of these problems, the solution should also be listed below the issue you are having with the said PDF file.

It may take some troubleshooting to pinpoint the direct issue, but this troubleshooting process is not lengthy, and locating the root of the issue should not be difficult even for the least of tech-savvy people.

In summary, despite their heightened functionality, PDF files can still fail at times. It is important to be aware of your options to get what you intend out of PDF file usage.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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