Do you need to scan a document but do not have a scanner? Have you signed a sheet and you need to scan to send a copy via e-mail or WhatsApp? Maybe you’re not aware that iPhone and iPad, thanks to the latest version of iOS, are able to become excellent scanners: in this guide I’ll explain how to use the iPhone as a scanner and then how to scan with iPhone in an easy and fast way to be able to digitize all your paper documents in PDF.

The technology quickly and fortunately advances many devices that once occupied space in our office or on our desk, now have been replaced by other smaller devices and in many cases even paperbacks; this is the case of cameras almost replaced by photographic sensors installed in smartphones, books or entire libraries turned into digital and stored in mobile phones or tablets or audio discs transformed into digital music. The list also includes other devices that were once very expensive and are scanners, in fact, thanks to the development of some applications and the introduction of new features in iOS, you can now use iPhone as a scanner and scan documents with your smartphone in a matter of seconds, without a scanner and excellent quality.

It was iOS 11 that introduced for the first time the possibility to scan documents with iPhone and iPad, transforming them into PDF and allowing the user to send them via email or other telematic channels.


How to scan with iPhone

There are many solutions available that allow you to use iPhone as a scanner and then scan paper documents digitally as if you had a traditional scanner. In this regard, in addition to the many applications available in the AppStore for iPhone and iPad as Genius Scan or Scanner Pro, I want to show you how to use a function available natively in iOS Notes that allows you to scan documents and photographs (in color or black and white ) obtaining very satisfactory results and finally allowing you to create real PDF files to be signed or sent by e-mail.

To scan documents with iPhone and iPad using the method described in this article, you must have a device compatible with iOS 11  as this feature is only available from this version onwards; Regarding the quality of the scans, having an iPhone 6, iPad Air or more recent you should be able to scan photos and documents with the phone in high quality. Those who have an older device may notice more noise or the presence of imperfections in the scanned documents.

How to scan with notes on iPhone

The operation to be performed to scan with iPhone is very simple; obviously the procedure is valid for all iOS devices that support version 11 and later, then iPad and iPod Touch compatible. But let’s get to the point and bring you the complete step by step procedure on how to scan with iPhone correctly and in high quality:

  • make sure that the document to be scanned is in optimal condition (any folds or crumpling marks may be visible because, scans with iPhone is different from the traditional scanner/copier as there will not be a panel that will press on the sheet)
  • make sure that there is a light source in front of you or in any case from the opposite side to yours, in order to avoid that there are shadows on the sheet
  • if you do not have a good amount of light, you can use the flash when scanning, but the results may be unsatisfactory
  • open the Notes app
  • create a new note by tapping the icon at the bottom right with the sheet and pencil symbol
  • touch the + symbol that appears in the lower bar
  • choose Scan documents 
  • tap on the Flash icon to turn it on/off or use the automatic mode
  • touch the icon with three dots to select the scanning mode between Color, Grayscale, Black and white (recommended for documents) or Photo
  • to scan a document with iPhone frames the sheet from above placing the phone in a position perfectly parallel to the document to be scanned
  • make the edges of the sheet almost touch the outer edges of the iPhone display
  • take the picture
  • if the Auto item appears at the top right, iPhone will automatically take the picture when a document is correctly framed
  • if necessary, improve the frame by moving the four white circles in the four corners of the scanned document
  • tap on Save the scan

This is the complete procedure to scan with iPhone and get scans of your paper documents as if you were using a normal scanner. You can add new pages to the same document by continuing to take / scan as I have already explained; at the end, to complete a file permanently, tap Save on the lower right hand corner.

How to improve the scans made with iPhone

If you have done a scan with iPhone note that the framing of the sheet is not the best or you want to change the color mode to black and white or vice versa, you do not need to scan the document from the beginning but just work with some small features of iOS .

Follow the procedure below to edit a scan :

  • open the Notes application and touch the note containing the scanned document
  • touch the scanned document that will appear in the note below the Scanned Documents pane
  • take advantage of the features available below to add new pages, crop the image by setting the reference angles, change the color / black and white mode, rotate the scanned sheet or delete a page
  • at the end of the changes, tap on End in the upper left

This procedure can be applied several times to modify the scanned documents without having to redeem the photograph.

How to convert a scan to PDF on iPhone

Did you use the iPhone as a scanner and now you have to convert the scan to PDF? Just a few taps to complete this operation thanks to the countless features included in iOS. Follow the steps below carefully:

  • Open Notes and touch the note that contains the scanned document
  • touch the scanned document that will appear in the note below the Scanned Documents pane
  • tap the sharing icon that appears at the top right
  • tap on Create PDF
  • select End at the top left and then choose Save file to …
  • set a folder in which you want to save the file in PDF of the scanned document: you can choose between Google Drive (if installed), iCloud Drive or directly on the iPhone.

Obviously, taking advantage of the other features of iOS you can then digitally sign the created PDF, add handwritten writings, arrows and other elements by customizing the scan in the best way according to your needs and obtaining a PDF ready to be shared and read by anyone have a smartphone, tablet or computer.

How to send a PDF scan via email or social network

After scanning a document with iPhone, you may need to send the PDF via e-mail or social network, even in this case the solution is simple and fast:

  • open Notes and select the note that contains the scanned document
  • touch the scanned document that will appear in the note below the Scanned Documents pane
  • touch the sharing icon that appears at the top right
  • choose the sending method you want to use (Mail, WhatsApp, Telegram, etc …)
  • indicates the recipient who will receive the PDF of the document scanned with iPhone
  • confirm sending

This is all you need to know if you want to use the iPhone as a scanner to digitize your documents from paper to PDF and possibly send them via e-mail; as already said at the beginning of the article, there are many other applications developed by third parties able to scan documents with the smartphone but of course, for occasional use and with few pretensions, the functions of Note in iOS 11 and later versions are more enough to scan pages and books. I hope this complete guide on how to scan documents with iPhone has been useful!


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