How to Scan Documents With Your iPhone in Three Quick Steps

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The document scanning feature found in Apple's stock Notes app is a great way to digitize all sorts of print-based content, from letters and receipts to recipes and photos.

    If you often make a digital record of paper in this way, you'll be familiar with the typical steps involved: unlock your device, launch the Notes app from the Home screen, create a new note, tap the "+" button, choose Scan Documents, then line up the document you want to shoot and save.

    It's not immediately obvious, but there is a way to cut out several of these steps and make scanning a document a much quicker process, which is great news if you tend to scan things several times a day. First, you'll want to add Notes to the Control Center, like so:

    1. Launch the Settings app.
    2. Tap Control Center.
    3. In the More Controls list, tap the green "+" button next to the Notes entry.

    Now that's set up, you can get to the document scanning screen in fewer steps, as described below.

    How to Scan Documents in Three Quick Steps
    1. Launch Control Center from the Lock screen: On iPhone 8 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen; on iPhone X/XS/XR, swipe down from the upper right "ear".
    2. Hard press (or long press) the Notes icon.
    3. Tap Scan Document and allow Face ID to automatically authenticate you (If you're using an iPhone with Touch ID, place your finger on the Home screen to unlock.)

    You're now ready to scan your document and save it as a note.

    Don't forget, if you want to generate a PDF of the scan as soon as it's been saved as a note, simply tap the Share Sheet icon (the box with an arrow pointing out) at the upper-right of the screen and select Create PDF from the third row of options.

    Once it's generated you'll be offered the option to save it to the Files app, or you can share it elsewhere with another tap of the Share Sheet icon.

    Article Link: How to Scan Documents With Your iPhone in Three Quick Steps
  2. Braderunner macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2015
    Great tip! Thank you! I never use this feature, because it took so many steps to get to "Scan Document" in the Notes app.
  3. AlliFlowers Contributor


    Jan 1, 2011
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    Love it! I forget about Control Center. I should be using it more.
  4. miflgr92 macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2018
    I didn’t even know that scanning was an option in the notes app. I’ve been using ScannerPro by Readdle for years. It’s an excellent app. Highly recommend it.
  5. RomanEmpire macrumors member

    May 29, 2018
  6. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Jun 6, 2005
    Wow. Thanks! I appreciate this tip so much I’m logging in and posting something for the first time in years!

    By the way, anyone know any good scanning apps for the Mac? High sierra broke the software I was using.
  7. roncron macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2011
    Great tip. I’ve been using a scanner app but I will give this a try. Thanks!
  8. rmoliv, Oct 19, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018

    rmoliv macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2017
    That’s too many steps. I rather use my printers app. 3 taps and it’s done.
  9. TheScribe macrumors member


    Mar 21, 2012
    Wherever I am.
    Just FYI, you don’t NEED to add it to control can just force touch or long press the regular notes app icon.
  10. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    I’ve been using JotNot Pro for this, for years. Has some nice adjustment features for things like documents which won’t lay completely flat.
  11. n-cholas macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2009
  12. fredrik9 macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2018
    Apple has got to remake this process. Two taps of the share sheet to save a PDF? And the worst part is you can't even name the .pdf file. For that, you have to open the Files app, then navigate to the folder where the PDF is saved, long press the file, tap change name, change name. Why can't we do this directly from the Files share sheet? Makes no sense.
  13. HacKage macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2010
    You don't even need to make a Control Centre shortcut. A Force Touch press on the Notes icon either on your homepage or when searched using Spotlight does the same thing.
  14. AngerDanger, Oct 19, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018

    AngerDanger macrumors 68040


    Dec 9, 2008
    Three steps is too many? You'd rather do three other steps? o_O

  15. DynaFXD macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2010
    East Coast
    I don't think anyone expects any camera based scanner to replace a flat bed. There are tons of reasons that a flat bed may be better. However, if you are, you know, out and away from your printer, you have a workable if somewhat rudimentary solution in your phone.

    I agree with the other poster, let's get some OCR going :)
  16. Ebok macrumors 6502

    Aug 22, 2018
    didn't know this existed. i have no use for dropbox now (only used it for scanning)
  17. rmoliv macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2017
    No. My printers app allows me to use my phone as a scanner as well and the process is quicker than the one described here using the Notes app.
  18. boston04and07 macrumors 65816


    May 13, 2008
    This is a great feature and one that I use all the time. However, it’s frustrating that Notes still doesn’t have OCR for scanned docs. It’s especially puzzling since they’ve had OCR for handwritten notes for a while now...just not for scanned documents. Hopefully this will be fixed soon.
  19. thenightfly42 macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2005
    Great tip thanks! I only wish I could save the scans to my Camera Roll.
  20. AngerDanger macrumors 68040


    Dec 9, 2008
    Righto. Updated my OP to reflect that.
  21. Braderunner macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2015
    Just gave it a try. Not a very good document scanner. Scannable is the best document scanner that I've found.
  22. omihek macrumors 6502


    May 3, 2014
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Built in Obstacle Course Race? Can't see how that would work but I like the idea. ;)
  23. MauiPa macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2018
    You can certainly name the file when you add to Notes after you finish scanning documents. This is the same name used in the save to pdf. Pretty simple really.

    However, you can always get an app for that.

    Or you can go to an application on Mac, like Preview, go to File, import from ipone, scan documents.

    Things are so easy now, we haggle over how many taps it takes to do something. While everyone agrees more direct is usually better, Two vs three taps?

    You do know there is a way to send your suggestions to Apple? I hope you do it, I have gotten several changes incorporated (or me with 1000s of other people making the same suggestion)
  24. ignatius345 macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2015
    Long-pressing the regular home screen notes app icon on a phone that doesn't have force touch, like the SE, just toggles all the apps' icons into "delete or move" mode (jiggling, X over each one to delete).
    --- Post Merged, Oct 19, 2018 ---
    Have you tried just using the built-in Image Capture? It's surprisingly good -- also great for plugged-in cameras and other devices.
  25. MauiPa macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2018
    There is an even better way to quickly scan into Notes. Go to Notes Widget. (if you don't leave it on show more, show more. tap scan icon. For those who want name the scans, after you finish scanning, tap keep scan, tap save, rename the scan by tapping the scan "block", tap the name at the top of the screen, rename away. The name is also used if you Create PDF on share, because you can save the entire note and/or the individual blocks separately. You can have multiple scan "blocks" saved in a Note, each with a different name, and saved separately to pdf

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