- Scan and save documents as PDF with the notes app
- Scan text from physical documents or lists with Apple’s new “Scan Text” feature
- Use Apple’s Continuity Camera to seamlessly transfer scanned documents to your Macbook
iPhones are multifunctional devices. The cell phone whose primary purpose was to make calls and text is no more. Apple smartphone enthusiasts use their devices to scroll through social media, shop online, set reminders and snooze alarms. With the evolving digital landscape, owners can even track their workouts with Apple Watches and find missing items with AirTags.
But did you know that you can also take everyday objects from the real world and import them to your iPhone? Here’s how to scan documents and lists on your phone and transfer paper traces seamlessly to the online world.
Scan documents on your iPhone
The release of iOS 11 in 2017 ushered in a new era for the iPhone notes app: document scanning. The feature has since been updated and includes new features, but was a first step towards merging the physical and digital worlds when it comes to documents and letters.
Here’s how to scan a document on your iPhone:
- Open the notes app
- Create a new note by clicking in the bottom right corner
- Tap the camera icon above the keyboard. Older iPhones may have this as a plus sign.
- Choose “Scan Documents” which will open your iPhone’s camera
- Take a photo of the document you want to save. A yellow mark over the document should indicate what is being scanned.
- Scan another document to save multiple files or press “Save” to exit the camera
Your scanned document should now appear in your notes app and can be sent, cropped and edited. If you want a color edited scan, try changing the scan to grayscale, black and white, or go back to the photo version by clicking the three interlocking circles at the top of your screen while your camera is capturing the scan. If you want to do this afterwards, click on the scan and you will find the same option with three circles at the bottom center of your screen.
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Scan documents to your MacBook
Apple also has a feature known as Continuity Camera, which acts as an intermediary between your devices. Continuity Camera can be used with the scan tool to upload documents from your iPhone or iPad to your MacBook.
To use Continuity Camera, make sure your devices are close to each other and WiFi and Bluetooth are turned on. They must be signed in to the same Apple ID to connect.
Open an Apple-supported program on your Mac – Apple says you can use Finder, Keynote, Mail, Messages, Notes, Numbers, Pages, or TextEdit.
When you click on your mouse pad in one of these apps (similar to right-clicking, pressing the pad with two fingers) you should see a menu with a “Scan Document” option at the bottom of your device’s name. You can also choose “Insert from iPhone or iPad” from the app’s File or Insert menu.
Once you click “Take Photo”, the camera on your iPhone should open if it is unlocked and take a photo that will be automatically inserted into the Mac application.
Scan text on your iPhone
iOS 15.4 brought a new level of scanning to iPhones and iPads when it introduced the text scanning feature.
This tool allows you to scan your written shopping list or tasks into your phone’s notes app. The process is similar to scanning documents. Open your notes app, tap the camera icon, then click “Scan Text.” This will open the camera in the lower half of your screen, where you can capture the written or typed text you want to convert.
Convert scanned documents to PDFs on your iPhone
You can save your scanned document as a PDF in your iCloud Drive or Files app with just a few taps. Click on the scanned document, click the “send” option in the top right corner – it looks like an arrow coming out of a box – and click “Save to Files” at the bottom of the menu. It should save your document as a PDF to the destination of your choice.
How to scan a QR code on your iPhone
iPhones and iPads can scan more than just scraps of paper. QR codes are an increasingly important part of our daily lives as they appear on flyers, advertisements and even menus.
To scan a QR code, simply open your Camera app and point the rear camera lens at the code. The device should automatically recognize the code and give you the link.
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