How To Scan Documents On An iPhone Or iPad

How To Scan Documents On An iPhone Or iPad

An iPhone or iPad can easily scan multi-page documents for future reference, to transfer or share as a PDF, or simply to clear paper clutter.

Apple offers more than one way to easily scan a document using an iPhone or iPad, making it a useful way to eliminate paper clutter while still keeping copies of receipts or other important notes. Once captured, digital documents can easily be shared with others or just stored for future use and reference.

iOS and iPadOS include several built-in apps that make these devices immediately useful, just like Android smartphones and tablets. Beyond the expected camera, photo gallery, phone, and contacts apps, Apple also includes several content-consumption and communication apps — such as the Safari browser for web content, its Apple News app, Apple Podcasts, and FaceTime (one of the most popular video chat apps). For organization, Apple includes its calendar, reminders, notes, and files apps. Of course, there are many others, including some for accessing Apple’s digital content for books, music, and videos.


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Both the Notes and Files apps can be used to scan documents, each with a different interface and options. The Notes app is great for multiple-page scans since it has an automatic feature. The only downside, however, is the scans are saved within Apple Notes and not as a more traditional file type. The Files app is handy for scanning single and multiple pages, and since the scan is saved as a ‘normal’ file, it can be annotated or marked up, transferred to a computer, sent in an email, or shared in other ways — making it a bit more versatile.

How To Scan With Notes & Files

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With the Notes app, scanning is as easy as tapping the camera icon that appears at the bottom of the screen and then tapping ‘Scan Documents.’ Once the camera viewfinder opens, point the rear camera at the document. The Notes app defaults to automatic capture, so as soon as the corners of the paper are identified, the capture is completed. It’s remarkably fast. Alignment, perspective, brightness, and contrast are corrected with no user interaction required. If the automatic capture doesn’t work for whatever reason, tap the ‘Auto’ button at the top of the screen to change it to ‘Manual’ capture. If there is more than one page or document to scan, simply placing it in view will initiate another capture. At any time, tapping the save button will save the scans to the current note. After saving, tapping a scanned document allows adjustment of the cropping, rotation, and various options for black and white or color. For quickly saving information for personal reference, this is the most convenient.

When the goal is to transfer the scanned document from an iPhone or iPad to another device (or share the scan with others), the Files app is the better choice since the end result is a PDF file. To start a scan with Files, make sure you’re on the ‘Browse’ page and then tap the More menu icon (it looks like three periods in a row) in the upper-right corner. Then tap ‘Scan Documents’ to begin the process. Automatic scanning is also enabled for the Files app by default, and once a scan is complete, users can keep using the app to scan additional documents if they need to. Once finished, tap the documents in the bottom-left corner to view them and make any crop/lighting edits as needed. And that’s all there is to it! With Notes and Files, Apple offers two easy document scanning methods for iPhone and iPad users.

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Source: Apple (1), (2)

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