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Created: 01/30/2015
Updated: 09/11/2021

How to View DRM-PDF and DRM-EPUB on iPad, iPhone and Android Devices

Finally there is an Adobe Digital Editons app available for iPad. Other apps that did work well in the past are the BlueFire Reader app and Txtr.

Very important for all apps! If you want to transfer DRMed ebooks you MUST first sign up for an Adobe ID with Adobe and then download your ebooks. Only with an Adobe ID can you transfer protected ebooks. Once you downloaded an ebook you cannot change the associated Adobe ID. This means if you have not registered for an Adobe ID and you download a DRM ebook to your computer you will not be able to transfer it to your mobile device. So register for your Adobe ID first.

Adobe Digital Editions

It took Adobe a while to make an iPad app of ADE available. It is finally here and you can read more about it at the iTunes store Android users have to use one of the options described below.

BlueFire Reader

On top of reading your protected and unprotected PDF and EPUB ebooks you can also checkout ebooks from your local library with this app.


Transferring ebooks to your mobile device (iPad, iPhone, Android)

I will describe the process for an iPad. It should be fairly similar for other mobile devices. The BlueFire app is the best we have found so far. It comes with a clear and detailed manual. Read it. Txtr is another app that we recommended earlier. The process is more cumbersome but it does work, too. If you rather use the Txtr app please read below.


There are a couple of steps to achieve this but each one is simple and straight forward. I hope you registered for an AdobeID because if you didn't and bought DRMed ebooks without AdobeID then you are out of luck. You can't share these ebooks among devices. You can only read them on the computer you first downloaded them to. So before you get started make sure you have an AdobeID and the password to login to your Adobe account using your AdobeID. Make further sure that the Adobe Digital Editions you have been downloading your ebooks to is also set to this same AdobeID. (For details of how to do this see FAQ 9). If all of this is the case then let's get started.

I have gone through the following steps with an iPad. They should be the same for other devices but just so that you know where I am coming from.

  1. Create a txtr account at Txtr is an innovate German company. This account gives you a personal vault or archive where you can store ebooks and documents. The key feature of this account is that it allows you to copy or sync your ebooks, including protected ones, to various devices. (BTW, Txtr also manufactures a great e-ink based reading device. However, it is only available in Germany and a few other branded versions are offered by other companies throughout Europe. No Txtr device is currently being offered in the US.)

  2. Upload the EPUB and PDF files to your txtr account using the txtr “upload tool”. When you are logged in your txtr account click on the 'Upload' menu item and you can add files which will be uploaded from your computer. (Default location for EPUBs and PDFs on a PC is a folder called “My Digital Editions” in the “My Documents” folder.) Depending on size and quantity of your ebooks the upload can take a while. But you will see progress status bars and simply wait until everything is done. Your ebooks are in your Txtr vault. Now we have to get them onto our mobile reading devices.

  3. Install the txtr app to the device on which you want to read your ebooks. With iPhone or iPad simply go to the Apple App store and search for 'txtr' and install the free app. (Up to 6 devices are possible assuming the publisher is using standard Adobe DRM settings. Unless you are the gadget Uebermensch six should be plenty: desktop, laptop, tablet, phone - that makes just four.)

  4. Register your Adobe credentials in the settings page of the txtr app. That is AdobeID and password. IMPORTANT: As mentioned earlier, it must be the same Adobe username and password with which the ebook was purchased.

  5. In the Library of your txtr app you will see no ebook except an Archive link. Click it. Now you will see an Inbox. Click it. And here you will see all the books you uploaded to your txtr vault. Select one of them and then click the green 'Download' button on the bottom. The ebook is now being downloaded to your device. Afterwards it will be displayed and you can start reading. Do this step for all your ebooks. Should you see a "cannot display" warning then your AdobeID of the txtr app does not match the AdobeID with which you bought the ebook. And since DRM protection exactly tries to prevent the sharing of ebooks among different people you are out of luck. (I should add that there are ways to strip the DRM from these ebooks. I have tried this myself. It does work but requires the installation of a number of tools on your computer and isn't legal in all locations. But if you have bought the ebook and are the rightful owner and are not sharing it with others I personally have no issue if you strip the DRM. But it is up to you to mount the technical hurdles and defend your actions should a publisher come knocking on your door.)
The txtr app is still in development. There are a few deficiencies like the lack of cover thumbnail images. Also the paging through an ebook could be better supported. But overall I am impressed how smooth this worked the first time I tried it. And I am a happy camper that I can now read my protected ebooks on my iPad.

A thank you to Andrew Rhomberg from Txtr who provided the necessary hand holding to guide me through this. Give it a try yourself and add your comments here if you have questions or want to report success or failure.


David Williams (01/31/2014)

Textr sounds perfect for my needs.