How to scan documents with your iPhone

Scanning a document on your iPhone into the Notes app.

Sophie Pitt

You don’t need a bulky machine to scan and sign a document. Instead, you can use your iPhone or iPad to scan a document and, in less than a minute, turn it into a PDF and send it where it needs to go.

It can help you fill out forms for a doctor’s visit, sign a lease, or send out a contract. All of this can be done in the Apple Notes app, which comes pre-loaded on the iPhone and iPad.

And using the scan feature makes the document look like a real scan and not just an image of a piece of paper. Additionally, you can filter it to black and white, electronically sign the document, and combine multiple pages into a single PDF file.

Here’s what you do.

How to scan a document on your iPhone or iPad

Scanning a document on your iPhone into the Notes app.

Sophie Pitt

Before you begin: It’s best to place your document on a contrasting background so that your iPhone or iPad can more easily differentiate the document from the background. For example, if it’s a white piece of paper, scan it on a dark wooden table.

  • Open the Notes app and click the paper and pen icon in the lower right corner to create a new note.
  • Tap the Camera icon and click Scan Documents.
  • Place the document under the camera lens of your iPhone or iPad. An orange highlighted box will appear around the perimeter of your document and the scan will be performed automatically. You can also press the shutter button or one of the volume buttons to capture the image if it doesn’t scan right away.
  • If the document size seems incorrect, you can click or drag each corner of the scanning area to align it so that only the document is captured and not the background.
  • If you are scanning a multi-page PDF, you can continue scanning page after page so that a single file is created.
  • Tap Save once you are done capturing your scan.

How to edit your iPhone or iPad scan

Send a document after scanning it to the iPhone Notes app.

Sophie Pitt

Now is the time to edit your scan. You can rename it, export it to PDF, print it and much more. Here’s how.

  • To rename the document: Tap the file name at the top of the scan.
  • To add a page: Once the document is saved, an option will appear at the bottom of the image that will allow you to add a page by tapping a plus icon in the lower left corner.
  • You can crop the document by selecting the crop icon, which looks like a square. This will open a four-point crop box with round magnifiers that will help you crop your document precisely.
  • To adjust the orientation of your document: Select the rotate icon in the lower right corner of the screen.
  • To send your document: Click the Export button in the upper right corner of the scan. Once you’ve selected Export, you’ll also see the option to print, annotate, copy, share, or save the PDF to your files.
  • To sign the PDF: Hit the Mark Up option after clicking Export. Press the + button at the bottom right and click on Signature. Here you can add a saved signature or create a new one. The size of your signature is adjustable and you can place it wherever you want on the document.

That’s it!

Lance B. Holton