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Best Adobe Reader Alternatives for Mac

Adobe Acrobat has been a pioneering software when it came to PDFs. It has been the go-to software for reading PDFs, both for Windows and Mac. However, nowadays there are several Adobe Reader alternatives for Mac. With such software, you can do much more with PDFs than simply converting documents into PDFs and reading them.

In the sections below we explore all that Adobe PDF software has to offer. After that we compare other PDF makers and reader alternatives, focusing on their features, pros, and cons, including Wondershare PDFelement, Skim, PDF Expert, Preview, and HaiHaiSoft.

5 Adobe Reader Alternatives for Mac

1. Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor: All-in-One PDF Solution

This is one of the most comprehensive software on the market when it comes to PDF management. It helps users to create, convert, sign and edit PDF documents easily. It works for Mac and Windows computers. This leading alternative software to Adobe Acrobat even has enterprise-level functionalities. Unlike other subscription-based services, users can purchase a perpetual license for the same, at a nominal price. The software comes in nine different languages and is a comprehensive solution for businesses as well as individual users.

adobe reader for mac

Key Features

  • This software can handle large volumes of PDF editing, collaboration, and conversion tasks.
  • As a comprehensive PDF management software it is cost-effective. It's $79.99 for one-year subscription and $129.99 for a perpetual license.
  • It is easy to download and install on Windows and Mac computers.
  • This allows a one-time purchase without any recurring fees.
  • Enterprise-level users can assign, add, remove or revoke licenses to different device users.


Offers several PDF editing features.

Advanced editing options.

Easy-to-use interface.


The free version has a limited trial period.

Occasionally slow.

Overall Score:4.7 out of 5

Looking for Adobe reader alternatives for Mac? Click the link given below and learn about the top 3 PDF editors for Mac.

2. Skim: Must-Have PDF Reader for eBooks

This is another handy alternative to Adobe Reader for Mac. It is a free PDF reader for Mac. It can be a useful alternative when users feel that Preview in Mac is not adequate. Skim offers more features that make it ideal for viewing PDFs, especially scientific papers.

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Key Features

  • It is designed to read as well as annotate scientific papers.
  • It allows changes in fonts.
  • Allows users to add as well as edit notes; one can also highlight text; it allows users to make snapshots.
  • It supports external apps like SyncTeX, LaTeX, BibDesk, and PDFSync.

It is useful to edit and read PDFs.

Offers more features than Preview.

Allows navigation with TOCs, highlighting text.

Integrates easily with PDFSync, LaTeX.


Does not have advanced features as found in Adobe Acrobat X.

Basic features are not evident.

Overall Score:3.5 out of 5

3. PDF Expert: Great PDF Editor for iPhone, iPad, and Mac

PDF Expert is a software of Readdle Inc. it is a robust, fast tool for Mac users. Besides allowing users to read PDFs it allows them to do other functions as well. Also, it is well adapted to the ecosystem of Apple. Hence, the same software can be on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. As a result, it allows users to transfer documents smoothly between these devices.

adobe reader mac alternative

Key Features

  • It is a robust, fast tool for PDF management on iOS devices.
  • Users can read, edit, convert, sign and annotate PDFs.
  • Users find the editing and viewing features particularly useful.
  • As an app on iOS mobile devices, it is responsive and fast.

Loads and processes documents fast.

Allows securing PDFs with passwords.

Annotation and editing options.

Fast search feature.

Form filling option is present.


Available only for Mac and iOS device users.

Does not support the OCR feature.

Overall Score:4.2 out of 5

4. Apple Preview: Apple's PDF Reader and Editor for Mac

This software comes pre-loaded for Mac users. It is a full-featured, capable PDF editor. It can handle most of the personal and common business requirements with PDFs. It offers basic editing tools. This is a fixed software that comes with every version of Mac OS.

adobe acrobat reader for mac

Key Features

  • Text highlighting tool available.
  • Markup tools include adding shapes and text, making drawings, redacting content.
  • It is easy to capture a signature using a camera, trackpad, or iPhone.
  • It is easy to toggle between contact sheet and thumbnail views.
  • Users can password protected PDFs.

Offers PDF markup feature.

Form filling option available.

Protects PDFs with encryption, password.


Only for Mac systems.

Limited sharing options.

Overall Score:3.8 out of 5

5. HaiHaiSoft Reader for Mac: Free PDF Document Reader and Printer

This is a PDF reader for Mac that allows users to read PDFs easily. The main advantage that it provides is lightness. It is a lightweight reader which occupies only 3 MB of your local drive space. It is a compact reader software that can be a handy alternative to Adobe Acrobat reader. It offers language support for several different countries. It is also designed for ease of use.

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Key Features

  • Compact and lightweight application.
  • Supports several languages.
  • Ease of use.
  • Allows users to view in full screen, and make presentations; other features include skipping pages, search function, zoom in or out; creating a favorites list.

Launches instantly.

Opens all forms of PDFs.

Added security feature.

DRM-X protection.


Does not include any editing feature.

Does not allow markup, annotation, or signing of PDFs.

Overall Score:3.0 out of 5

Know About Adobe Reader

This software has been a pioneer in helping to distribute and read PDFs on different platforms. It comes as free software and is a trusted tool for signing, printing, viewing, sharing as well as annotating PDFs. It can also handle all kinds of PDF content, including multimedia files. It comes as free software for desktops as well as for mobile apps.

free adobe reader for mac

Main Features

These include the following:

  • It allows users to print, sign, annotate, view, and share PDFs.
  • The modern software version allows connection through the Adobe Document Cloud service, this allows users to upload their document to a secure account and access the same on different platforms.
  • The software has desktop as well as the mobile version, for iOS and Windows devices.
  • Users can subscribe to Adobe Export PDF which allows conversion to other formats such as Microsoft Word or Excel.

Editing functions are easy.

The app allows easy scan and conversion to PDF.


Without administrator access, the software does not offer all functions.

Often product files get corrupt.


Difference Between Acrobat Reader and Acrobat Pro

Adobe offers several versions of software for managing PDFs. While Acrobat Reader is the essential software for basic PDF tasks, the Pro version offers more features.

adobe acrobat reader mac

The main differences between the Reader and Pro software are the following:

  • The Reader is a free software for PDF display whereas Acrobat Pro is subscription based.
  • The main difference lies in editing tools. For instance, with Reader, you can do basic tasks such as creating and signing PDFs. However, with the Pro version, you can change or add text, and images. You can also add on watermarks, headers, footers, move, rewrite, and add or delete text boxes. There are also tools to add internal or external links.
  • Prepare forms is another handy feature that you find with Pro. This feature is not included in Reader.
  • Organize Pages is a feature that allows you to rearrange pages. For instance, it allows one to insert files, split PDF into many as well as extract pages.
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro also has a create PDF feature. This tool allows different document formats to be converted to PDF. It is also possible to add or create blank PDFs which are not possible with Acrobat Reader.


There are several alternative software to Adobe Acrobat Reader for Mac. Besides this software, there are several other software that allow Mac users to do more. PDFelement and PDF Expert can be handy solutions for editing, signing, annotating, and sharing PDFs. Of course, PDF expert works only for IOS devices whereas PDFelement is compatible with different platforms. As a basic reader and editor Preview for Mac works fine. HaiHaiSoft provides basic software that is lightweight and can be used by anyone.