How to attach files, photos to email on iPhone or iPad

Take a great photo on your iPhone and it’s natural to want to share it with friends and family. We’ve covered sharing photos from the Photos app, but you can also share photos directly from within your Mail application. As more and more are using their iOS devices for productivity and work, attaching files like Word documents or PDF’s becomes a necessity. Here’s how you can attach files and photos on iPhone or iPad, using the Mail app.

In iOS 6, Apple has included a new feature for sharing photos and videos from within Mail.

  1. Open Mail and select the ‘new message’ icon at the bottom right.
  2. Type the email address of the recipient or hit the ‘+’ icon to select them from your Contacts
  3. Tap in the Subject and type your subject, “Really great photo!”
  4. Finally, tap and hold in the message area. A pop-up menu will come up with options to select, select all or paste. To the right of these is an arrow. Tap on the arrow and select ‘Insert Photo or Video
  5. Photos will come up, with options to select from Camera Roll, Photo Library, Photo Stream or an existing album
  6. Navigate to a photo and select the blue button titled “Choose”
  7. You should be back in the Mail app. If you haven’t yet, type a short a message and tap on ‘Send’.

Attach photos to email on iPhone

Attaching Files on iPhone or iPad

With photos or videos, you can insert files directly from email, something added in iOS 6. Prior to this, sharing via the Photos app was the only game in town. Similarly, that’s how sharing files via email still works in iOS 6. If you are working on a word document, PDF or other file that’s not a photo or video, there is no way to send it directly through the Mail app. The procedure is to share it via the third party app, which will in turn make use of the Mail app to do the dirty work of sending off the email.

There are different nuances to how an application might handle sending attachments, but I’ll use Byword as example. In the application, there is the familiar sharing icon (arrow coming out a rectangle). Selecting that offers the option to Email. When I select email, I can send the document as rich text, plain text, PDF and so on. If I select PDF, Byword will bring up an outbound email message, with the file attached. If you are looking to send Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, the best method is to use your preferred Office suite on the iPhone to share via email. It would be helpful if iOS 7 initiated some type of filesystem or perhaps access to documents in iCloud, that would allow for attaching files directly from within the Mail app.

PDF file attached on iPhone

Whether you are sharing photos or documents, the method we’ve outlined on an iPhone or iPad will differ slightly from what you might be accustomed to on a Mac or PC. While iOS 6 offers the capability to share a photo or video directly from within the Mail app, it will not allow you to send multiple photos, something accomplished only through the sharing option within Photos. Similarly, to attach files to an email on iPhone or iPad, you have to use a third party application. The iPhone is capable of sending an assortment of files including Word, Powerpoint, Excel and more. It doesn’t appear as if Apple has any intention of adding a filesystem to iOS, but perhaps iOS 7 will bring easier adding of attachments using iCloud. For now, these are the best methods for attaching files and photos on iOS.

Written By

Christopher Meinck is the Founder and Editorial Director at everythingiCafe. You can also find him co-hosting on everythingiCafe :the show. His smartphone obsession started with the Handspring Treo 180. While the phones have changed, the obsession continues. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter.

Comments

  1. bazcook says

    And yet, you still can’t attach, you know, useful things to Mail (like a document, spreadsheet, et al) unless you go to a 3rd Party product – and then, and counter-intuitively, by starting the email that program.

    Apple’s neurosis noted, this could be resolved if the installation of a product of iWorks or the use of iCloud gave users direct access to these files within Mail. Until then, the iOS’s email app remains for the basic of chores – and already handled by other, much simpler apps like iMessage – and certainly not ‘business friendly’.

  2. Robin says

    When I follow these steps, the photos aren’t actually attached — they’re inserted directly into the body of the e-mail. Am I doing something wrong? Is there a way to truly attach, so the photos are separate items?

  3. Robin says

    Sorry — my previous comment was in reference to a different posting, addressing photos. I’ll go post it in the proper place…please disregard.

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