In our earlier article, we have explained multiple options to view webpages offline for later reading. Sometimes, you do not all various webpages but reliable content from reputed sources. Wikipedia is one of the best online sources for reference. Can you imagine you can download entire Wikipedia content in iPhone? The best part is that you can access the content offline without internet connection. Without further ado, here is how you can do that.
Before we explain the process, you should understand the Kiwix project. This is a free and open source service for offering highly compressed ZIM files. These ZIM files are from reliable sources like Wikipedia, Gutenberg, TED, etc. Kiwix offers apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, Linux and Raspberry Pi. In addition, you can use the browser extensions available for Chrome, Firefox and Edge to view content from Wikipedia offline.
In this article, we will focus on using their iPhone app and show how to download entire Wikipedia articles. You can use the same process in Mac, Windows and Android apps also.
Installing Kiwix App in iPhone
Go to App Store and search for “kiwix” to find the Kiwix app. Tap on “Get” button and confirm to install the app on your iPhone.
The app has very simple user interface with few icons on the bottom and you will see a “Open Library” button when launching the app.
Downloading Wikipedia Content
Tap on the “Open Library” button which will show as you have not imported any content yet. The next screen will show you a huge list of reliable resources including Wikipedia. Tap on “Wikipedia” option will show the complete list of articles available under different categories in Wikipedia. Scroll down and find the largest Wikipedia file which should be around 95GB in size. If you do not want to download the entire Wikipedia content, then choose the category which you want to use offline.
On the next screen, you will see the details of the selected file. Make sure to disable “Cellular Data” option on the next screen and tap on “Download” link. Since the download may take longer time depending on the file size, disabling cellular data will help to make sure the download works only when you are connected to WLAN. You can find other details like whether the file includes images, videos and the number of articles in the file. Most importantly, select the language to change the language of the file’s content.
When you tap on “Download” link, the request will be first queued for importing the content. After some time (generally in few seconds), you will see the download start and you can see the status of the progress. It is also possible to pause or cancel the download to terminate the process anytime.
After finishing the download, tap on “Open Main Page” link to go the list of articles downloaded from the file.
If the download is taking too long time or never completes on iPhone, there is an alternate option for you. First, go to Kiwix library on your Mac or Windows PC and download the ZIM file. This will be much faster compared to downloading on your iPhone. After that transfer the file to your iPhone using AirDrop from Mac or send through iCloud from Windows. When you are viewing the library in Kiwix iPhone app, tap on the + icon showing on the top and select the transferred file to import the content. This will work faster as the file is already available on the phone and no need to download it again.
Since the content in Wikipedia is updated continuously, you can sync the latest version in Kiwix app also. Tap on the gear icon and select the “Update Now” button to download the latest file.
Viewing Wikipedia Content Offline in iPhone
Once the download is completed, the app will show the list of articles in the home page from the downloaded file. You can use the search box to find relevant articles and read them offline without internet connection. The app will remove all hyperlinks and unnecessary clutters that you will find when reading Wikipedia articles online. If you tap on the external links (showing generally the bottom for attribution), you will see a notification asking your confirmation whether to open that external link or not. You can tap on “Load the link” to open it within the app. However, you should have internet connection for opening external links from the pages.
You can download all the Wikipedia files and also from other sources if required to have a complete library for your offline reading. Tap on the three dots inside a circle (options) icon showing at the bottom right corner of the app. Select “Library” option to view the app’s content library files and download additional file’s content to your iPhone.
You can later read these articles while traveling in flight or use them as references for your projects.
Kiwix App Options
Here are some of the useful options to get the maximum out of Kiwix iPhone pp:
- You can anytime change the current source library to show in the app’s home page by selecting it from the options menu.
- Select “Settings” from the option menu to change the font size, external links behavior and adjust the search behavior.
- When you are viewing the library, tap on the gear icon showing on top right corner of the app. Here you can find important settings to change the language, update the file to latest version, enable or disable auto update and enable including the files in your backup.
- The three lines icons showing on the bottom center will allow you to quickly view the table of content of the article. You can use this to quickly jump to required section without reading the entire article.
- You can add articles to favorite or view random article by using the corresponding icons from the bottom menu. It is also possible to navigate to previous/next viewed articles in the app.
Caution on Storage
Though the so called ZIM files are highly compressed, they are still huge in size when you download the entire Wikipedia articles in iPhone. This will lead to your iPhone run out of storage space quickly. Therefore, make sure to check you have sufficient storage space before initiating the download. Alternatively, you can download the smaller size files for specific categories or top 100 articles if that helps in your case.
Note: You can also use Wikipedia app for iPhone to view content online with internet connection. The app allows you to add articles to reading list and read them later offline. However, it works only for the articles you add manually to reading list and not for the entire Wikipedia content like Kiwix app.