How to permanently unlock a PDF

Hello. A friend of mine recently shared a PDF with me. It was locked. She gave me the code so I’m able to open and read it. However I would like to be able to permanently unlock it so that I don’t have to enter the code every time. How is that done?

The PDFs on my iMac are automatically opened up by an app called Preview

Unlock it and then export to a new pdf file.

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Yes that certainly works since you already have the password. But I’m just saying here that the password protection of PDFs is ridiculously weak. There have been free password removal tools available for literally decades. Basically anyone that wants to protect a PDF from reading needs to encrypt the file and to protect/verify against modification the file needs to be signed. PGP (or Gnu Privacy Guard, GPG) is good for that.

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While the PDF is unlocked and open on the Preview app:

  1. Go to File > Edit Permissions
  2. Make sure that Require Password to Open Document is unchecked
  3. Change the owner password to something more memorable to you.
  4. Click Apply

This will remove the password requirement to open.
You still need the owner password next time you want to edit the permissions again so it makes sense to change it something that you would remember.

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I haven´t figured it out why, but the export is sometimes carrying the Password to the new file.
If you instead “print” the file as a PDF, you get rid of the Password.

This is what I always do.

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In PDF Expert once the pdf is unlocked you can go to set password and just leave password blank. It asks if you do not want a password or something to that effect. Maybe preview has something similar.