How to turn your Notes App into a useful scanner for important documents

Apple’s Notes App is a great way to organise your important tasks and lists into a space where they are easily accessible. Yet one thing many users do not know is that the app itself can also be used as a scanner for documents – particularly useful if you don’t have access to a printer with an inbuilt scanner. And while you may be able to download other scanning apps from the App store, these sometimes cost money to use and take up precious data space on your iPhone or iPad. 

The scanning feature on the Notes App was added in iOS 11 back in 2017 and not much fuss was made about this addition at the time, which may explain why many users don’t know it exists. Follow the steps below to start using your iPhone or iPad as a scanner today!

How to scan documents using the Notes App

The first thing to do is to start by placing the document you wish to scan on a flat surface – this makes it easier for your phone to read and reduces the chance that the final scanned image will be distorted. 

Next, open the Notes App on your device and select a note or create a new one.

With this note open, tap the camera button located just above the keyboard and then hit “Scan Documents”.

Once you place your document in view of the camera, a yellow box will appear and start ‘looking for’ the document. You might see tips like ‘get closer’ as your device finds the outlines of the paper document.

If the device is in Auto mode then your document will automatically be scanned once the camera is happy it has found the edges of the image. If not, you’ll need to manually tap the Shutter button or one of the volume buttons to capture the image yourself. In this manual mode, you will also be able to drag the corners of the image to adjust the scan to fit the page correctly. When you’ve finished manually scanning all the pages, tap on “Keep Scan”, if not hit “Retake Scan” and try again.  Once you’re happy you’ve captured what you need, tap “Save”. 

Making adjustments to your scan

If, for whatever reason, you look back at your scanned images and want to make some adjustments to improve them this is also possible. You have the option to define the corners if the scan isn’t quite right, change the colour scheme (options include colour, grayscale and black and white), rotate the document, or add more pages. You can also use the crop tool to cut a section of the document if you don’t want this included. All the editing tools can be found along the bottom of the screen. 

Sharing your scan

Once you’re happy with your scan, the next step you’ll likely want to do is to share it via another application on your phone. This can be anything from email, to WhatsApp, to Twitter, Teams and more. All you have to do is tap on the three dots in the top right hand corner of the screen. This brings up a secondary page asking you whether you would like to “Share note” or “Send a Copy”. 

If you choose to share the note with others, they will receive an invite to access the whole note (with the scan included in it) and be able to see the latest changes you make as you continue to edit it. If, on the other hand, you choose to “Send a Copy”, it is only the scanned picture that will be sent to the desired recipient. 

Will you be trying out this feature next time you need to scan a document? Let us know in the comments section. And, if you have any questions or other technology queries, please tweet us at @techtroublesho1.

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