How to Remove Password Protection from a PDF

How to Remove Password Protection from a PDF

Dealing with passwords and protected documents can be so annoying! You find the perfect PDF online, go to open it…and bam. Unexpected password prompt.

Now you can’t access the file contents unless you crack the random password set by a stranger. So much for easily reading that hot report, right?

Well don’t stress my friends – removing a PDF’s password is totally doable. In this quick guide, let’s discuss easy methods to strip password security from PDFs:

  • Using free online tools
  • With Adobe Acrobat paid software
  • On Mac using preview tools
  • On Windows through Microsoft Paint

I’ll also cover extra password removal tips to save you hours of frustration. Soon you’ll be breezing through formerly locked PDFs!

Online PDF Password Removers

The quickest way to unlock password protected PDFs is using free online tools. Just upload your file, run the decryption tools, and download the freshly-liberated document.

Here are some of my favorite sites for instant PDF password removal:

  • PDFUnlock – Drag and drop protected file to remove security. Also unfurls other restrictions like printing/editing locks.
  • UnlockPDF – Another handy website that disables PDF passwords for free without the wait.
  • iLovePDF – My go-to for lifting password gates and exporting restriction-free copies. Very reliable!

The process is the same across any online PDF decryption tool:

  1. Visit site and upload your locked PDF file
  2. Click “Unlock” button to remove password
  3. Download newly unlocked version of the doc

It usually only takes 60 seconds tops to complete. Then you’ve got password-free access to that precious content!

Unlock Passwords with Adobe Acrobat

If you’ve purchased Adobe Acrobat Pro or have it through work/school, you already have professional-grade PDF editing tools at your fingertips.

The full Acrobat Pro software lets you not only remove passwords, but create/manage them as well.

Here’s how to decrypt a password protected PDF in Acrobat DC:

  1. Open your locked PDF file in Acrobat
  2. Click the colored lock icon in the top corner
  3. Select “Remove Security”
  4. Tick the box to remove password security
  5. Click Apply to strip PDF password!

Now when you try opening the document, it will load directly without any password hassle. The encryption is fully removed for good.

And if needed, you can also add back new custom password protection in Acrobat whenever convenient. But for fast decryption, Adobe can’t be beat.

Strip PDF Passwords on Mac

Don’t want to mess with websites or paid software subscriptions? No prob!

Your Mac already includes built-in tools for unlocking password protected PDF files.

Here’s how to remove pesky passwords using Mac’s Preview app:

  1. Right click your locked PDF file
  2. Select Open With > Preview
  3. Click Show Markup Toolbar
  4. Choose View > Show Inspector
  5. Open the Security tab
  6. Uncheck Require Password to Open option
  7. Click green Remove Password button
  8. Save decrypted copy of the file

After following those steps, your previously restricted PDF will now open without any password prompt when viewed in Preview or other Mac apps!

All the forbidden content is free at last. Thank you Apple for baking such a handy PDF utility into macOS for us.

Removing Passwords via Microsoft Paint

Last but not least, Windows users can also strip PDF security without any extra downloads. The classic Paint app built into Windows lets you save an unlocked copy of protected docs!

Here’s the unexpected Paint trick to decrypt:

  1. Install Microsoft Print to PDF printer driver
  2. Open your password locked PDF in Paint
  3. Select File > Print to open the print dialog
  4. Under printers, change to Microsoft Print to PDF
  5. Click Print. Choose where to save the unlocked output PDF
  6. Open new PDF copy now without password!

Who knew Paint could come to the password stripping rescue huh? While a tad clunky, this clever workaround lets you PDF passwords vanish in minutes.

Thanks Bill Gates! I guess Paint still has some relevance after all.

Extra Tips for Hassle-Free PDFs

Finally, keep these additional tips in mind when managing document security:

  • If uploading sensitive files online, first redact private details rather than relying on decryption tools
  • To fully prevent PDF access, use both password + permission restrictions
  • Whenever possible, opt for password-free docs to avoid future hassles accessing content
  • Use passwords cautiously if sharing documents widely

And if you get stuck with a password you just can’t crack? Don’t panic! Just use one of the above methods to banish restrictions for good.

Now you’ve got all the tools needed to slay those PDF password dragons once and for all. Feel free to bookmark this page, share with friends, and leave a comment below!