How to add photos, videos, scans, and sketches to Notes on iPhone and iPad

Notes App Sketch Ipad Pro Apple Pencil
Notes App Sketch Ipad Pro Apple Pencil (Image credit: Lory Gil / iMore)

When you need to jot something down, it's hard to beat the Notes app that comes pre-installed on your current iPhone or iPad. With Notes, you can store plain or formatted text notes, but there's so much more that you can do too! Did you know that the Notes app lets you add photos, videos, scans, and even sketches to your notes? Yup, that's right! The Notes app is even more useful than you think.

Here's how to add photos, videos, scans, and sketches in the Notes app on your best iPhone and iPad.

How to add photos and videos in Notes

The Notes app allows you to add photos and videos to your notes, either from your photo library or by taking a new image or video with the device camera.

  1. Launch Notes on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Make sure you are in the folder you want your note to be in.
  3. Tap New Note in the bottom right corner.

Add photos and video in Notes on iPhone: Launch Notes app, make sure you're in the folder you want, tap New Note (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the Camera button on the toolbar above the keyboard.
  2. Select either the Choose photo or video or Take photo or video option.

Add photo and video in Notes on iPhone: Tap camera button, select Choose Photo or Take Photo (Image credit: iMore)

If you chose to capture a new photo or video:

  1. If you chose Take Photo or Video, select whether you want Photo or Video.
  2. Tap the Capture button.
  3. Tap Retake if you want to try taking a better photo or video.
  4. Tap Use Photo (or Video) if you want to use what you captured.

Add embedded photo in Notes by showing steps: Take photo or video by tapping capture button, select Retake if you want to try again or Use Photo, then tap Done (Image credit: iMore)

If you chose to import from Photo Library:

  1. Choose the photos or videos that you want to add to your note.
  2. Tap Add.
  3. Tap Done.

Import from Photo Library in a Note on iPhone: Select the photos or video you want, tap Add, tap Done (Image credit: iMore)

How to delete photos and videos in Notes

  1. Open Notes on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the note that has the photo you want to delete.

Delete photos and videos in Notes by showing steps: Launch Notes, tap the Note you want to delete media from (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap and hold on the photo or video in question.
  2. Tap Delete.

Delete photos and videos in Notes by showing steps: Tap and hold on the photo you want to delete, then tap Delete from the menu (Image credit: iMore)

Don't worry — this won't remove the photo from your Photo Library in the Photos app.

How to scan a document to a note in Notes

Notes is able to scan and store documents using your iPhone or iPad's camera.

  1. Launch Notes on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Create New Note in the bottom right corner.

Add photos and video in Notes on iPhone: Launch Notes app, make sure you're in the folder you want, tap New Note (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the camera button above the keyboard when it comes up, or tap the white space to bring it up.
  2. Select Scan Documents.

Add a scan in Notes on iPhone: Tap Camera, select Scan Document (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Auto in the upper right corner to toggle between automatic document capture or manual document capture.

Scan a document to a note in Notes by showing steps: tap Auto to toggle between Automatic and Manual document capture modes (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the filter button (looks like three overlapping circles) to select a color option: Color, Grayscale, Black & White, and Photo.

Scan a document to a note in Notes by showing steps: Tap the Filter button and select your color filter from Color, Grayscale, Black & White, and Photo (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the Flash button to toggle the LED flash on for better images in low-light situations.

Scan a document to a note in Notes by showing steps: tap Flash button to toggle flash to Auto, On, or Off (Image credit: iMore)

If you're in Automatic Document Capture

  1. Hover your device over the document that you want to scan so that becomes highlighted yellow. Your iPhone or iPad will automatically scan it once it is close enough.
  2. Repeat the process if you need to scan multiple pages.
  3. Tap Save when you're done.

Scan a document to a note in Notes by showing steps: in Automatic mode, just hover device until doc is in yellow box, then repeat as necessary, then tap Save (Image credit: iMore)

If you're in Manual Document Capture

  1. Hover your device over the document that you want to scan until it is highlighted yellow.
  2. Tap the Capture button.
  3. Drag the circles in each corner to adjust if necessary.
  4. Tap Retake if you need a new scan.
  5. Tap Keep Scan to add the scan to your document.
  6. Repeat the steps as necessary for multiple pages.
  7. Tap Save.

Scan a document to a note in Notes by showing steps: In Manual Document Capture, tap Cature button, adjust by dragging corner circles, tap Retake or Keep Scan, then tap Save (Image credit: iMore)

How to add a sketch to a note in Notes

Adding a sketch to notes is a great way to get an idea down, help illustrate your text, or just have some fun drawing on your iPhone or iPad. Sketches can be done with just your finger, or if you want to be more precise, an Apple Pencil with compatible iPad models works wonders. Here's how to get started with the sketch tools in Notes.

  1. Launch Notes from your Home screen.
  2. Tap the New Note button in the bottom right corner.

Find the sketch pad in Notes for iPhone and iPad by showing steps: Launch Notes, tap Create New Note (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap on the white space to bring up the keyboard.
  2. Tap the pen in the circle to bring up your sketch-pad drawing options.

Find the sketch pad in Notes for iPhone and iPad by showing steps: Tap the Sketch button to bring up the sketch tools (Image credit: iMore)

Now that you've accessed the sketching tools in Notes, the sky's the limit! We have a more in-depth guide on how to use each sketch tool in Notes, so make sure to give that a look.

Add what you need in your Notes on iPhone and iPad

While text notes are great for helping you remember things for later, sometimes you need to add some visuals. As you can see, it's easy to add some pictures and even video to your notes, as well as document scans and even sketches.

Updated March 2022: Updated for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.