PDF Expert, What Happens if I Update?

The App Store is showing an update for PDF Expert on my iPad. If I update, do I end up being forced into a subscription to keep using the app and its current features? I absolutely will not pay a subscription for a PDF app.

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I fully agree with you. It sucks - big time. However, since I went through this decision process yesterday for my mac (PDF Expert is my app of choice on the mac) I figured I’d let you kow:

They have education pricing (50% off) on their pricing page (Choose your Premium plan) and I believe you work at a school of some sort?

I can’t actually answer your specific question re iOS sorry.

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Thank you. Yes, I am the head of a large private Christian school. Although I appreciate the discount, I’ll find a workaround as I am not going to pay a subscription for a PDF app. I don’t begrudge the developers, they are free to use a business plan that makes the most sense for them but it is not a sufficient value for me.

Update: Introductory prices never interest me. I’m only interested in the “real” ongoing price. $80/year is not a good value for me.

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I upgraded on my Mac. You keep all the features from v2 but will need to pay the subscription to have access to new features, such as digital OCR, PDF conversion.

Here how it shows for me:

I don’t care about the new features (or anything that they could add, really). So I guess it’s good for v2 owners. We’ll keep getting updates to new MacOS and iOS versions (which would not be the case if they released a different app).

Thanks, I’ll update and use PDF Expert for as long as I can without the subscription. In the meantime, I’ll use Preview more extensively and look for alternatives. Thanks again.

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33 USD/month for a PDF reader?! Madness… :exploding_head:

I upgraded on the Mac. And got a nagging screen to sign in to something. Don’t know to what exactly and will never find out, as I won’t sign in. Period.

Luckily I saved a copy of the 2.5 version. So going back was as easy as moving the app back into the Applications folder.

For reading pdf’s I used Skim (free), which is great. One thing missing from Skim is putting a signature or initials on a pdf though. Something I need to do every now and then. I know Preview can do that too, but only with signatures entered either via the trackpad or scanned via the webcam. But give bad results.

It’s a pity that PDF Expert went the subscription way (or a too expensive lifetime license).

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I’m still experimenting but I may import all of my research—including all PDFs—to DEVONthink. DT has a good annotation tool on the iPad and once imported to DT on the Mac, the PDF is automatically OCRed and I can copy/paste the annotations as needed. If I go this route, I’ll export all of the files in DT as markdown to my Obsidian vault once a month. That way, I’ll have everything in both DT and Obsidian. Best of both worlds and no subscriptions to mess with. Perhaps at the end of the day PDF Expert did me a favor by forcing me to make a decision on something I’ve experimented with off and on for several months.

I agree, $80/year is just too high.

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The hero who wanted to combat the evil Adobe Acrobat eventually becomes the evil itself.


I wonder if the fact that they are based in Ukraine had something to do with their decision to switch to a subscription model? It must be more expensive to operate in Ukraine now.

just wondering what version is the upgraded version on Mac, I am using 2.5.1 and so far no nagging dialog to upgrade. I guess I shall just use this version and no further upgrade then? [NB. I am using the version directly purchased from Readdle not from Mac App Store]

That does not seem entirely correct. I tried to use pre existing function “reduce file size” and I get nag sheet saying open an account. PDF Expert is good but very late to the game with OCR, … I suspect most of us that deal with PDFs regularly have developed other means of getting OCR onto PDF documents. There’s always a balance of convenience but Preview at zero cost looks fairly compelling, … it probably always was!

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That could be and I’m sympathetic but it is hard to justify $80/year unless one considers it partly a “donation“.

I used to wonder if PDF apps had to pay a licensing fee to Adobe, but that can’t be true anymore, can it?

Butbutbut… Adobe is $180 a year… now, as I don’t have Adobe to know how many times they issue upgrades to DC Pro a year, but war or no war Readdle keeps cranking out quality (albeit subscription) Mac products… along with excellent customer service (in my experience)

… and until Preview gets up to snuff, and also makes it to iOS/iPadOS devices, some donations have to be made


Thanks for the heads up. The one amazing feature I use (not often; but when I do it’s amazing) is editing a large PDF by adding chapter / section headings that become a clickable toc in any PDF reader. It’s invaluable when reviewing PDFs that are 100s of pages long.

Is anyone aware of a PDF app that’s capable of this? Preview can’t do it. FineReader can’t do it; DEVONthink PDF reader can’t I think. Do folks know of another app? Of course I’ll try and stay the course with PDF expert for as long as it’ll work as an old feature.


The nagging is in version 3.x (obviously). Even though it’s a “free” upgrade they want you to sign in to something. And PDF Expert keeps on asking for that. When you open the version 3 app, or when you try to do something after opening the app.

That they’re a Ukrainian company is debatable. The company’s HQ is in Folsom, CA. USA. According to Crunchbase. The fact that (part of) their workforce is in Ukraine doesn’t mean much in that respect.

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Wow, $80 is a bitter pill to swallow. I was lucky and got the $54.99 plan as I started to subscribe to v3 back in September.