How to scan with iPhone

Would you like to digitize a document on the go with your iPhone, but you don’t know how to do it? Have you found a vintage photo, would you like to “photograph” it with your Apple-branded smartphone, in order to make it digital, but all your attempts have led you to poor quality results? If you answered in the affirmative to at least one of these questions, know that you have come to the right place, at the right time.

In this guide, in fact, I will explain  how to scan with iPhone in an extremely easy and fast way. As a final result, you will be able to digitize documents and photos in minutes, with the possibility of retouching them with various filters and, in the case of documents, extracting the text. Don’t worry: you won’t need expensive software or external devices to reach your goal, you can do everything in comfort with your “iPhone by”.

How do you say? Do you consider yourself a “tech wimp” and are you afraid of not being able to complete these operations? Do not worry, the procedures to follow are rather trivial and, following my instructions slavishly, you will be able to do everything without the slightest problem. Having said that, there is nothing left for me to do, except wish you good reading and have fun!


  • How to scan with iPhone for free
    • Camera
    • Note
    • File
  • How to scan a PDF document with iPhone
    • Genius Scan
    • Other apps to scan a PDF document with iPhone
  • How to scan photos with iPhone
    • FotoScan on Google Photos
    • Other apps to scan photos with iPhone

How to scan with iPhone for free

Perhaps not everyone knows, but it is possible to scan with the iPhone for free, using the predefined functions of the “iPhone by” made available directly by Apple. If this interests you, keep reading: you will find everything explained in detail below.


If your iPhone is equipped with  iOS 15  or later and is equipped with the A12 Bionic chip or later , you can take advantage of the Live Text function in  the Camera application  to scan text in documents using OCR technology.

So, to scan with iPhone in this case, the first step you need to take is to access the home screen and / or iOS app library and select the Camera app icon . Next, frame the document you want to scan and press the white circular button  at the bottom or on the right (depending on how you oriented your device).

After taking the photo, press the icon of the  three horizontal lines inside the square  located in the lower right corner of the screen you are on to open it. Alternatively, if you have already taken a photo of the document to be scanned, open the Photos app  and tap on the preview of the shot of your interest.

At this point, as you can see, the Live Text function will recognize the text present in the document by highlighting it. Select, therefore, the text that has been recognized by keeping your finger pressed on the word from which to start the selection and drag the  cursor at the end of it to highlight the rest of the text.

Through the opened menu, then, you can copy the selected text, make a search starting from the selection made, translate the document, share it with other users, etc. You can also select all the text together, by tapping on the Copy all item at the bottom left.


The  Apple Notes application , free and pre-installed on all smartphones of the Cupertino company (if removed later it can be downloaded again from the relevant section of the App Store ), starting from iOS 11 it is also able to scan documents.

To take advantage of this feature, all you have to do is access the home screen and / or the iOS app Library and start the Notes app by selecting the relevant icon , making a decisive tap on it and choosing the Scan document item from the menu that you opens. A new note will automatically start and the camera will be triggered, to capture a document.

In addition to how I just explained to you, you can scan with iPhone via Notes by starting the app, tapping on its icon, pressing the button with paper and pencil  at the bottom right and selecting first the camera icon and then the Scan  option  documents  from the proposed menu.

Well: now all you have to do is frame the document  you want to scan and wait for it to be recognized and “captured” automatically. If this does not happen, you can “force” the capture of the document by pressing the white button  located at the bottom and outlining the edges of the sheet framed in the photo.

Once all the sheets of your document have been scanned, tap on the Save (n) message at the bottom right, in order to move on to customizing and sharing the file. To set the color filters, tap on the image you just created, then on the icon with three circles  located at the bottom center and choose whether to save the document in color, grayscale, black and white or with Photo mode . Then, click on the word Finish  at the top left to save all the changes.

If, on the other hand, you want to rotate the document you have to press the icon with the square and the arrow , while to cut it you have to tap on the cutter symbol and to add other pages on the (+) key .

To save the scan, tap on the sharing icon at the top right, then decide the location and / or app in which to store the document from the proposed menu and you’re done.


Even with File , that is the default iOS file manager, which is free and is pre-installed on the iPhone (if removed later it can be downloaded from the relevant section of the App Store ), it can be considered an excellent tool to perform scans, as integrates a specific functionality.

To use File to scan with iPhone, all you have to do is access the home screen and / or the iOS app Library and start the app by selecting the relevant icon , then press the button (…) from any folder and select the item Scan documents from the menu that appears.

Once the document has been acquired, proceed with saving and editing as I have already indicated in the previous chapter for what concerns the Notes app, there are no differences.

How to scan a PDF document with iPhone

Do you need to scan a PDF document with iPhone , but the predefined solutions do not satisfy you, and therefore you would like me to point you to third-party resources? No sooner said than done! Find them below.

Genius Scan

The first application in the category that I suggest you evaluate is  Genius Scan . It is a resource capable of automatically recognizing the background of the elements to be digitized, cutting them out and cleaning up the result, which is clear and legible. It also offers various tools for organizing, sharing and archiving documents. It is free, but offers in-app purchases (at the base price of 2.99 euros / month) to unlock all the features.

To download and install Genius Scan on your device, go to the relevant section of the App Store , press the Get button , then the Install button and authorize the download and installation via Face ID , Touch ID or Apple ID password . Next, launch the app by selecting its icon that has been added to the home screen and / or to the App Library.

Now that you see the main screen of the application, press the  (+) button at the bottom of the same and grant the required permissions .

At this point, frame the document you intend to acquire with the camera of the device, wait for the procedure to be completed and press the Finish item . If the acquisition does not take place automatically, you can take the photo of the document by pressing the circular button at the bottom .

If you need to perform a multiple scan, make sure that the  Group entry is present in the upper right corner . Also, I point out that you can adjust the use of the flash by touching the lightning bolt icon .

Once the acquisition process is complete, if you want to refine the resulting document, you can do it using the tools for cropping, to apply filters, to rotate the file and to remove the pages that can be recalled by touching the key with the  magic wand .

Finally, type the title you want to assign to the file in the field at the top, add any tags by tapping the appropriate button and press the share icon to define the output format, the file size and to indicate the location and / or the app to save the scan to.

Other apps to scan a PDF document with iPhone

If you are looking for other apps to scan your documents with iPhone and save them as PDFs, you can consider using the resources attached to the following list. I hope they are able to satisfy you.

  • SwiftScan– is one of the most famous apps for digitizing documents using only the smartphone or tablet camera. It’s free, but by subscribing through in-app purchases (at the base cost of 7.49 euros) you can unlock extra functions.
  • Microsoft Lens– Microsoft’s application for scanning printed text documents, but also for notes written on whiteboards and photos. The resulting files can then be converted into PDF, but also into text documents or presentations and can be opened directly in other apps distributed by the same company. It’s free.
  • Evernote Scannable– this is an app made available by the team of Evernote, the famous service for taking notes, which has been specifically designed to scan documents on the go. Note that it also supports OCR technology to search for words and phrases within scanned documents. It’s free.

How to scan photos with iPhone

How do you say? Would you like to scan photos with iPhone , but don’t know how to do it? No problem: I’ll tell you immediately which are the best apps in the category, at least in my humble opinion, and how to take advantage of them. Here they are!

FotoScan on Google Photos

One of the most used and appreciated applications for scanning photos with iPhone is  FotoScan by Google Photos , which allows you to scan traditional photos (avoiding glare, blur and other defects typical of photos “capture” with the classic smartphone Camera app ) and to save them directly on the smartphone and / or on Google Photos. As easily understood by the name, it is a solution developed by Google and it is free.

To use it, download and install the app from the relevant section of the App Store , then start FotoScan and, once the main screen is displayed, press the Start scan button  and grant the app any permissions required to work.

Next, press on the white circular button located at the bottom center and move the empty circle you see appearing on the screen to the four white circles at the corners of the photo to be scanned.

If you deem it necessary, before proceeding with the image acquisition you can enable the removal of reflections by tapping the button with the magic wand . You can also choose to deactivate or reactivate the flash by pressing on the lightning bolt symbol .

After completing the above steps, press on the thumbnail of the shot that appears at the bottom right and decide whether to modify the image you have obtained by adjusting the angles or rotating the image or whether to save everything as it is Google Photos. If you then need to export the scan of the photo to other locations and / or apps, click on the share icon at the top and choose the option you prefer from the proposed menu

Other apps to scan photos with iPhone

Are you looking for other apps to scan your photos with iPhone because what I have already proposed did not convince you in a particular way? Then try to take a look at the ones I have decided to include in the list below.

  • Photo Scanner– is an app created by the same developers of SwiftScan, which I told you about in the previous lines , but specific for photos. It offers a high-precision automatic detection system that makes the photo scanning procedure quick and easy and provides users with numerous quality filters. It is free, but allows for a limited number of scans. To get around this limitation, it is necessary to switch to the paid variant (at the basic cost of 17.99 euros).
  • Memories – Instant Photo Scanner– is the application designed to restore luster to old stock photos. It has many filters to try to make scanned files better. It’s free, but to unlock all the functions you need to upgrade to the paid version (at a basic cost of € 3.49).
  • Photomyne Photo Scanner– is one of the most used apps to scan photos on iPhone. It is highly effective and it is free, but it offers in-app purchases to unlock all the functions (at the base cost of 11.99 euros).


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