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How to use the document scanner on iPhone and iPadSource: Joseph Keller/iMore

If you've been using an iPhone for a few years, you probably have tried a number of document scanner apps in your lifetime. I know I have. I have my favorites. I keep a couple of them in my Productivity folder on my iPhone and iPad.

If you're tired of storing extra apps, just for the purposes of scanning a business card, flier, or document every once in a while, you're about to be free of the multi-app grind.

Apple's document scanner is hidden inside the Notes app, and because it supports in-app sharing, you can store the newly scanned document anywhere you want. Here's how.

How to scan a document on iPhone and iPad

The document scanner is tucked away in the Notes app on iPhone and iPad. With just a couple of taps, you'll have a solidly scanned document ready to mark up, covert to PDF, and share with another app.

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  1. Open Notes on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Create a new note or tap on an existing one to add a document to it.
  3. Tap the camera button at the bottom of the screen or above the keyboard.

    Open Notes, create new note, tap camera buttonSource: iMore

  4. Tap Scan Documents.
  5. Line up the document you want to scan.
  6. Tap the shutter button if the scanner doesn't automatically scan the document. Repeat this step for every document you want to scan.
  7. Tap Save after you've scanned all of the necessary pages. The button will have a count of how many pages you scanned.

    Tap Scan Documents, tap shutter button, tap SaveSource: iMore

The scanned pages will populate in a new note in the Notes app.

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How to mark up a scanned document on iPhone and iPad

Once you've scanned a document you can mark it up with any of the built-in markup tools in the Notes app. With the markup tools, you can highlight, hand write, cut out and move sections (magic rope style), and add a text box, shape, or arrows. You can also add your signature right from within the Notes app.

  1. Tap the scanned document in your note.
  2. Tap the share button in the upper-right corner.
  3. Tap Markup.

    Tap scanned document, tap share button, tap MarkupSource: iMore

  4. Tap on the tool you'd like to use.
  5. Tap the color picker if you'd like to change the color that your chosen tool will use.
  6. Tap + if you want to add a text box, signature, magnifier, or shape to your document.

    Tap tool, tap color picker, tap +Source: iMore

  7. Mark up your document.
  8. Tap Done when you're finished.
  9. Tap Done to return to your note.

    Mark up document, tap Done, tap DoneSource: iMore

The scanned document will save all of the markup changes you made.

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How to save a scanned document as a PDF

While you were previously required to manually turn your scanned documents into PDFs, now, the Notes app does that automatically. But you will need to save your scanned document to someplace like the Files app. Here's how to do that.

  1. Tap your scanned document.
  2. Tap the share button in the upper-right corner.
  3. Tap that app that you want to use to save your PDF and follow that app's procedure for saving a file.

    Tap scanned document, tap share, tap appSource: iMore

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How to share a scanned document to another app on iPhone and iPad

  1. Tap your scanned document.
  2. Tap the share button in the upper-right corner.

    Tap scanned document, tap shareSource: iMore

  3. Tap on the app to which you want to share the note.
  4. Share your PDF.

    Tap app, share PDFSource: iMore

How to delete a scanned document on iPhone and iPad

If you've accidentally scanned the same document twice, or decide you want to try again after you've saved a scanned document, you can delete a single scan without having to delete an entire document.

  1. Tap your scanned document.
  2. Tap the trash can in the bottom-right corner.
  3. Tap Delete Scan.

    Tap scanned document, tap trash can, tap Delete ScanSource: iMore

You will only delete the specific scanned page you've selected. If you want to delete the entire document, simply delete the note.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about how to use the document scanner in the Notes app? Put them in the comments and we'll help you out.

April 2020: Updated for the latest version of iOS.



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