How to Save Email Attachments on iPhone or iPad to iCloud Drive

In a shockingly overdue move, iOS 9 finally brought the ability to attach and save files found in the iOS Mail app. Previously, you needed a third-party application to store any email attachments.  Most Apple users were confused at why such a feature could go missing for so long, but once it arrived, it was met with much elation. In order to save these attachments directly to your iOS device, you’ll need to enable iCloud Drive and have the iCloud Drive app installed as well. Not sure how to do that? We will show you that and more below the fold. 

How to Save Email Attachments in the Mail app

Setting up iCloud Drive

Step 1:

Open Settings and tap on the iCloud section and select iCloud Drive. iCloud Drive gives apps the ability to save documents and data to the Drive, which can be accessed anytime on other iOS (8+) or OS X (Yosemite or higher) devices.

iCloud Drive


Step 2:

Log into your iCloud account if you haven’t already.

Sign in - iCloud

Step 3:

Make sure iCloud Drive is enabled if you haven’t done so already.  Then, toggle the switch for Show on Home Screen ON.

Show on home screen

A new iCloud Drive icon will be added to your Home Screen.

Properly saving email attachments

Step 4:

Now, open the Mail app and find an email with an attachment. The type of attachment does not matter, just make sure it has one.

Step 5:

If the attachment hasn’t already downloaded, tap on the icon to download it.

iOS Attachment

Step 6:

Tap and hold on the attachment to open up the Share sheet. In the Share sheet, swipe until you see the Save Attachment icon. Tap on the icon and you will be taken to iCloud Drive.

Share Sheet - Attachment

Step 7:

In iCloud Drive, select the folder where you wish to save the file. Inside of that folder location, be sure hit Export to this location to save the document. If you simply hit Done, the file will not save.

iCloud Drive - Export

That is all there is to it. That file is now saved to my iCloud Drive and can be accessed and previewed whenever I want. This is great if you want to make sure important email attachments are available on your various Apple devices regardless of email access.

Let us know how that worked out for you in the comment section.