Can I Load Word Documents on My iPhone?

by Sophie Southern

Apple's iPhone is more than just a cell phone -- it features a system of small mobile applications called "apps." The iPhone comes with many native apps right out of the box, including Mail, Safari, YouTube, Weather, Stocks and an iPod app for listening to music. The iPhone's Internet capabilities allow you to check your email and browse the Web anywhere. The iPhone is compatible with audio, video, images and PDF files, but you must download a third-party app to view, store or edit other document formats, such as Microsoft Word.


As of early 2011, the iPhone 4 is available with a choice between 16GB and 32GB of storage space; the iPhone 3GS is also still available with 8GB of storage space. The storage space on an iPhone refers to a flash drive, not a hard drive, which means you cannot technically save files to your iPhone, including Microsoft Word documents.

Default Documents

Microsoft Word DOC format is not one of the default documents compatible with the iPhone. The iPhone allows you to view and store images, but PDFs are the only type of actual document format that you can view on the iPhone with default apps and settings. You cannot take your iPhone out of the box and sync your Microsoft Word documents. iPhones running a version of iOS 3 or earlier can view PDFs but cannot save them. iOS 4 received an upgrade allowing you to save PDFs to your phone using the iBooks app. iBooks is developed by Apple, available for free download from the iTunes Store and allows you to store and view PDF files and eBooks directly on your iPhone.

Third-Party Apps

Both free and paid apps are available that allow you to save, view and edit Microsoft Word documents to your iPhone. Files Light - Documents is a free app that allows you to store and view various types of files on your iPhone, including Microsoft Word DOC format. Paid apps such as Documents To Go and Quickoffice Mobile Suite allow you to store, view and edit a wide variety of document formats on your iPhone, including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Syncing Documents

Unfortunately, as of February 2011, you cannot use the "drag and drop" system to add Microsoft Word documents to your iTunes library and sync them with your iPhone. Third-party apps use a Wi-Fi transfer system. When you open a third-party document editing app, you will have an "Upload," "Add," "Configure" or "Wi-Fi" option, which gives you an IP address. Enter the IP address into the URL field of your Web browser to access the upload page. Upload your documents and they should appear in the app on your iPhone.


About the Author

Sophie Southern has been a freelance writer since 2004. Her writing has been featured in "JPG" magazine and on Southern holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from the School of Visual Arts.

Photo Credits

  • Chris Hondros/Getty Images News/Getty Images