How to use your iPhone’s hidden document scanner. If you don’t own one of those fancy all-in-one printers that includes a scanner, being asked to sign, scan and send a document can seem like an impossible task. Not to mention a task from a decade ago. But you may have a scanner right in your hand: your iPhone or iPad.
Today, iPhones and iPads running iOS 15 and above feature a little-known tool that would have had us clawing our way to the front of the line in an Apple Store: the Scan Text feature.
What does it do? Well, it basically turns your iPhone or iPad into a highly efficient document scanner, instantly importing text from any document you point your camera at. It works with any of the best iPhones or best iPads, or any other Apple device running iOS 15.
By scanning a document, I don’t mean taking a picture and then cropping it — that’s more work than it’s worth. Better to use the document scanner that’s buried in the iPhone’s Notes app. The feature was added in iOS 11 in 2017, but if you don’t use Apple’s Notes app, you don’t know it’s there.
Below I’ll show you where to find the scanner, how to use it and cover some general tips to get the most of the hidden feature.
How to scan a document with your iPhone, iPad
Place the document(s) on a flat surface, in a well-lit area. Open the Notes app and either create a new note or open an existing note. I created a folder called Scanned Documents where I can store and easily find anything I’ve scanned.
With a note open, tap on the camera icon then Scan Documents.
Your iPhone or iPad will open the camera, complete with a shutter button near the bottom of the screen. Don’t push it yet; instead, follow the prompts on your screen. To get the best results, hold your device directly above the document.
A yellow box will appear as the camera begins scanning and looking for the document. You’ll see tips like “get closer” as your device looks for the edges and corners of the paper. Once it identifies the entire document, it will automatically capture a scan. If your iPhone is struggling to find the document, you can press the shutter button.
A small thumbnail of each page will show in the bottom-left corner, and the scanner will remain open to continue scanning multiple pages. When you’re done, tap Save.
Make adjustments to get the perfect scan
After you scan the document, you can make adjustments like defining the corners if the scan isn’t quite right, change the color scheme, rotate the document or add more pages.
Tap on the document to open it, and you’ll find all of the editing tools along the bottom of the screen. Use the crop tool to adjust the corners or cut out a section of the document if you don’t want that information included.
I’ve found the easiest way to use the crop tool is to place your finger near the small circle located on each corner of the document, each one doubling as a magnifying glass. That will give you a better view of your adjustments instead of covering them up.
Sign, share or save your scanned document
Now that you have a document scanned and adjusted, you have a few options. You can keep it in the Notes app for future reference, or you can sign and share it.
To bring up the share sheet when viewing a document, tap the share button in the top-right corner of the screen. To add your signature, scroll below the app shortcuts and tap Markup. The markup tool has tools to draw, write or add text or add your signature. Tap on the “+” sign to see all of the tools options.
When you’re done signing or annotating the document, you c
How to scan text on iPhone
1. Open an app you want to scan text into — this could be Notes, Messages, or any other app that lets you enter text. In the text-entry area, tap and hold for a couple of seconds then release your finger. You should now see a scanner icon and “Scan Text” appear — or just the icon, depending on the app you’re using.
2. Tap “Scan Text” — or the scanner icon — and your camera will now be in scanning mode. Now, simply point your camera at the text you want to scan, and it will appear in the text entry field. Tap “Insert” when you’re ready to import it.
And that’s it. I hope this feature changes your life as much as it would have changed mine if it had existed 10 years ago. Now you know how to scan text on iPhone, you may be interested to know that you can launch apps by tapping the back of your iPhone. Also check out some of our other guides, including how to get full-screen Caller ID on iOS 15, how to zoom with one hand in Apple Maps and how to transfer data from iPhone to iPhone.
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