How to Split Password Protected PDF File

Alexandra Meyer
Co-authored with Alexandra Meyer

A common way to secure documents containing valuable data is to protect your PDF file with a password. However, there might come a time when you need to split these password-protected PDF files for easier distribution, file management, or other reasons.

This can seem daunting if you're unfamiliar with the process. This article will guide you through the steps of splitting PDF documents protected with a password. Even beginners will be able to perform this task effortlessly.

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How we selected the tools to split password-protected PDF

Here are the key criteria we used to select the best PDF splitters:

  • Security. The tools mentioned in this article do not expose your PDF or its data to third parties.
  • Ease of use. The steps to split the PDF should be straightforward and clear.
  • Efficiency. The program should be able to extract PDF pages swiftly without compromising on quality.

Option 1. For Windows and Mac

Icecream PDF Split & Merge is a user-friendly and feature-packed desktop PDF software. It allows you to swiftly and effortlessly extract pages from a PDF protected with a password.

Here is a step-by-step guide to splitting PDF pages:

  1. Download and install the free PDF splitter on your computer.
  2. Open the program and click the "Split" button.
  3. Press "Add file" and select the PDF you want to split. You can also drag and drop it to the program's window.
  4. Hit "Enter password" and type the password for the PDF file.
  5. Select the splitting option you want. We will describe each mode below.
  6. Click "Split" to start the process. The output files will be saved to your computer.

4 PDF splitting modes

  • Into single-page files. Split PDF pages into separate files, each containing one page. For example, if you have a PDF document with 3 pages, it will be split into 3 single-page files.
  • By groups of pages. Divide the PDF into parts, each part containing a certain number of pages. For example, you can split a 10-page document into two PDFs, each containing 5 pages.
  • Delete certain pages. Create a new PDF without specific unwanted pages from the original. It's helpful when there are several unnecessary pages.
  • By page ranges. Specify the pages you want to be included in each split document. For instance, you could make a new document for pages 1-3, another for page 4, and a third for pages 5-7.


  • Splitting modes. You can choose from 4 different splitting options depending on your needs.
  • Output quality. No important information or data will be lost from your original password-protected PDF.
  • Re-set password. If the new files still contain sensitive information, consider adding a password again to maintain their security.
  • Privacy. The PDF divider operates offline directly on your computer. It doesn't upload the files to any cloud services guaranteeing the privacy of your documents.
  • Preview. It allows you to preview files before splitting them. This can be very useful to confirm that you've chosen the correct files or pages.
  • Fast processing. The PDF splitter is designed to process large files quickly, so you won't have to wait for long.

Making use of Icecream PDF Split & Merge is a great way to quickly and efficiently split password protected PDF files into individual documents.

Option 2. For Mac

Preview is a straightforward way to split pages in a PDF document in no time. It is known for its user-friendly interface and is considered one of the staple applications included in the macOS.

Follow the instructions outlined below to split PDF pages:

  1. Open the protected PDF in Preview. If you have another default PDF-viewing app, right-click the PDF, select "Open with" and then "Preview".
  2. Enter the password when prompted to access the document.
  3. Once the document is open, choose "Contact Sheet" from the "View" tab. You can also hit Option + Command + 6.
  4. Mark the pages that you need to separate by clicking on them while holding down the Shift key.
  5. Right-click the selected pages, choose "Export As" and save the new PDF file in the desired folder.
Split PDF on Mac


  • Availability. The software is pre-installed on all Macs, so there's no need to download or purchase an additional PDF splitter.
  • Simple to use. It's an easy and quick way to split password-protected PDFs, which is beneficial for users who are not technically savvy.
  • Functionality. The application also offers other editing features and tools besides splitting, such as annotating, rotating, and merging PDF files.
  • Efficiency. The PDF divider does not take up a lot of memory or CPU resources so it won't slow down your Mac.
  • Integration. It allows for smooth operations like emailing your PDF right from the app or saving your files directly to iCloud Drive.


  • Limited options. Compared with dedicated PDF editors, this software might lack some advanced splitting options. For example, batch processing and precise page range settings.

Overall, utilizing Preview to split password-protected PDF files on Mac is an easy and convenient way of getting the job done quickly and without too much bother.

Option 3. Online

PDF Candy

PDF Candy is a versatile online tool for working with PDF files. It offers a range of features to manipulate documents, including conversion to and from various formats, splitting large PDF files into smaller ones, adding watermark or password protection.

Look how to separate PDF pages:

  1. Open the free PDF splitter in your web browser.
  2. Click "+Add File" to upload the PDF you need to split.
  3. Enter the password. Choose how you want to divide your PDF. Set the desired page numbers.
  4. Initiate the process by pressing the "Split PDF" button.
  5. Download each PDF separately or as a compressed archive containing all of them.


  • Splitting options. Users can opt to separate PDFs into single pages or specific page ranges, catering to different document organization preferences.
  • Browser compatibility. Whether you're accessing PDF Candy from a PC, laptop, or mobile device, you can rely on consistent performance across all browsers.
  • High-quality results. Regardless of the PDF splitting mode chosen, the service maintains the original quality and integrity of the PDF document.
  • Cloud integration. It supports Google Drive and Dropbox. This makes it simple to pull your files from these services and upload split PDF documents back to them.
  • Diverse toolset. Empowers users to perform a wide range of tasks related to PDF editing and conversion within a single platform.


  • Task limitation. The service imposes a restriction where free unregistered users can only perform one task per hour.

This platform makes splitting password-protected PDFs easy and fast. However, the limit of one operation per hour can be a challenge for users with tight deadlines. But, even with this limitation, PDF Candy remains a valuable tool for efficiently manipulating PDF documents.


iLovePDF is a web-based service that offers a suite of tools for working with PDF files. These include merging and splitting PDF pages, compressing, converting documents to various formats, and others.

Here are the steps to remove the PDF password and split the document:

  1. Go to the official iLovePDF website.
  2. Scroll down, locate the "Split PDF" tool and click on it.
  3. Click "Select PDF file", upload your document, and enter the password.
  4. Select whether you want to split by ranges or extract specific pages, according to your needs.
  5. Press the "Split PDF" button. Once the process is complete, you can download your new files.


  • User-friendly interface. The service has a very intuitive interface, making it easy for anyone to use, regardless of their technological capabilities.
  • No installation. It is an online PDF splitter, so you can perform tasks anytime, anywhere without having to install software on your device.
  • Multipart processing. You can extract the parts you need and merge them into a single file or split the pages in your PDF into many smaller documents.
  • Extra features. The platform provides additional features for editing PDF files such as merging, compressing, converting them, and so on.


  • Limited free version. While basic functions are free, accessing advanced features requires a premium plan. For example, you can split files up to 100 MB in size at no cost. The PRO subscription increases this limitation to 4 GB.
  • Security concerns. Despite the advertised security measures, uploading a sensitive document online always carries a risk.

iLovePDF is an easy-to-use and convenient tool for splitting PDF pages, including those protected by passwords. However, given potential privacy concerns and limitations on the free version, it might not be for everyone or every situation.


Will the split parts of the PDF be password-protected as well?
This depends on the tool you use. Some tools offer the option to keep password protection on the split parts. However, most of them remove the password during the splitting process. You would typically have to re-apply a password to split parts if needed.
Are there any risks associated with splitting a PDF file that is password-protected?
The main risk is tied to security. If you are using an online tool, the file will be uploaded to a server, which could potentially be accessed by others. Always ensure to use trusted tools and properly secure your files.
Can I remove the password from a protected PDF before splitting it?
Yes, you can unlock the PDF before making any edits on it if you have the correct password. There are free PDF unlockers that can perform this task.
Can I merge multiple files into one protected document after splitting them?
Yes, with Icecream Split & Merge you can quickly combine them back into one single document with just a few clicks. This makes it easy to organize your documents for managing and sharing.

Tips to split password-protected PDF files

Do not try to split a PDF with a password if you don't have permission to do so. Respect the intellectual property rights of others.

  1. For online tools, always be sure they provide secure connections (HTTPS, not HTTP) to ensure your documents are transmitted securely.
  2. If the document contains sensitive information, it might be better to use a local, offline tool.
  3. Ensure that you keep a backup copy of the original PDF document with a password just in case something goes wrong during the splitting process.
  4. Utilize cloud storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox to securely store and access your documents from anywhere.
  5. Before uploading documents to the web, make sure they have a strong password. This will protect them from unauthorized access and tampering.
  6. Utilize a specialized PDF editor to edit and separate encrypted PDFs effortlessly.


Overall, handling password-protected PDF documents can seem complex, but with the right tools and methods, it needn't be a hassle. You can extract pages from a PDF with a password in a few simple steps.

We hope this article has provided you with a clear understanding and guidance on how to split your password-protected PDF files effectively.

Rean Uehara

Expert Tech Writer

Rean is a tech enthusiast, digital marketer, operations specialist, and eCommerce coach who focuses on distributed teams. He began working remotely on web-related projects in 2010 and has never looked back. His articles published on Hongkiat, so his authoritative opinion on technology can be fully trusted.


Alexandra Meyer

Alexandra Meyer

Editor-in-Chief at Icecream Apps

6 min read
Alexandra Meyer
Co-authored with Alexandra Meyer
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