Before smartphones, scanning documents or pictures required buying an all-in-one printer, purchasing a standalone scanner, or sneaking around borrowing equipment at the office.
These days, it's as simple as firing up iTunes or browsing the App Store from your iPhone or iPad.
Not all iOS scanner apps are created equal though. We’ve dug through reviews and features to bring you the five best options available!
They all offer easy to use interfaces, clear scanned images, and reasonable prices. So clear out some clutter at home and try out one of our favorite doc scanner apps.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for 2018.
Related Guide: Best Scanner Apps for Android in 2018
Scanner Pro Editor's Pick
Ranked #2 in Business on the iTunes App Store, Scanner Pro has a 4.6 rating with more than 3,000 ratings. It's feature-packed and reviewers love the easy-to-understand interface.
When taking a scan, a handy grid overlay pops up over the document to ensure that the image is not crooked. The app will automatically try to guess the area that you want scanned, but you can easily adjust this yourself if needed.
The app also comes with image processing technology that smooths out uneven lighting and offers basic image editing tools. These image processing tools can also be utilized on images that are in your camera roll.
Need to scan multiple pages? Scanner Pro allows you to save all of the images in one document, saving you a lot of time in the long run. Once the document is scanned, you can choose to save it in PDF format and then either email it or export directly to Dropox, iCloud, Evernote or Google Documents. In addition, if a printer is nearby, you can also choose to print the files directly from the app.
What Other's Are Saying...
A reviewer on the App Store praised the app's OCR and multi-page scanning features, saying, "Wow - I don’t know what secret sauce Readdle has been infusing into this app lately but it’s miles ahead of where it used to be, even though it’s always been one of the top quality scanning apps in the App Store. Bravo, Readdle! Keep it up!"
Macworld heaped on praise as well, saying, "Overall, Scanner Pro lives up to its name. It produces high quality results with minimum fuss. Some of the extra touches, like the page-guide magnifier and the two-second snap delay are user-friendly features that, as a software designer, I notice and appreciate."
Scanner Pro finds a sweet spot between features and ease-of-use while offering everything the basic user needs at an affordable price. When it comes to point-and-shoot mobile scanning, it's hard to beat.
If you're looking for a good, free scanner option, you might want to check out Genius Scan by The Grizzly Labs. The free version allows you to scan documents, choose the file format (PDF or JPG), and then email it to a recipient.
The app will automatically crop the image after detecting the page frame and then correct the perspective so you don't even need to worry about taking a crooked picture.
After you've scanned your document, you can add tags and titles for better organization should you need to refer back to it later. Cloud service connectivity is also available for a small fee by upgrading to Genius Scan+ or subscribing to the Genius Cloud service.
What Other's Are Saying...
Ranked #30 in business on the iTunes App Store, the app has a 4.9-star rating with more than 22,000 reviewers. One App Store reviewer says, "If you are on the go a lot like I am and not always at your desk this app is an absolute lifesaver. Even when I am in my office I don’t even use my copy scanner anymore because it takes too long and the quality on The genius scan app is just as good if not better, and it’s much quicker."
Lifewire gave the app 5 stars, saying, "If you are sick of stuffing your wallet with receipts or carrying around a stack of business cards, Genius Scan is a no-brainer. It is particularly useful for sending business documents back to the office while traveling. I would like more upload options, but you’ll have to upgrade to Genius Scan+ for that."
Genius scan offers excellent quality and quick scanning for free, but the real power features are locked behind a small upgrade fee. Still, for many, the basic features are more than enough to get started and the upgraded version is one of the cheapest on the market.
PDF Scanner App by FineScanner
As one of the newer apps on the store, this app would get our Editor's Choice but for one issue -- a data breach in August 2018 reported by BleepingComputer .
However, at the time of writing, the company appears to have fixed the security concern in question and is working to mitigate any damage and investigate the extend to which data was accessed.
With the nasty mark out of the way, this app offers a number of features you simply can't find in other apps. The dual-page scanning mode makes it easy to scan in bound documents, such as textbooks, while the OCR available is the best in the entire lineup.
Other features include the ability to annotate scans, password protection on PDFs, multi-page scanning, and scan enhancement filters.
The free version of the app is limited to 5 scanned pages at a time. However, you can subscribe to the app for $9.99 to unlock unlimited pages.
What Others are Saying...
The app enjoys a 4.7-star rating with 9,000 reviews on the iTunes App Store. The developers note that is rated #1 in business in 98 countries. One reviewer notes, "This saved me a ton of time I would have had to otherwise spend typing the document manually and also 'saved my bacon!' I will definitely buy the 'Pro' version. All apps should work this well, this seamlessly and this easily."
PC Magazine awarded the app an Editor's Choice award in their "Best Mobile Scanning Apps of 2018" list. Reviewers state, "[We awarded the app] primarily because of the superior quality of its text recognition and the persnickety amount of control it gives for the actual scanning process. It takes a while to get the hang of its user interface, but the results justify the investment."
While the app has suffered a data breach recently, the features on offer -- particularly the OCR quality -- create exceptional value. If things stay clear on the security front, we could easily see this making the top of our list again soon.
Evernote has built a name for itself in the digital organization space. But it also has a standalone scanning app as well. You don't have to use Evernote to use the app -- though it does tie in nicely with their service.
It offers everything the average user needs in a scanning app. There's image alignment, scan optimization, multi-page scanning, and connections with a range of cloud service providers, email, social media platforms, and Evernote itself.
It also has some specialized scanning modes -- such as the business card scanner that pulls the information from the card and links it to the person's LinkedIn account.
The only downside to the app is the lack of manual options. While automated scanning, alignment, and cropping are great in a pinch, they can create some headaches in less-than-ideal lighting or if your camera on your phone isn't so great.
What Others are Saying...
This app enjoys a 4.9-star rating with more than 66,000 reviews on the iTunes App Store. It's also rated #79 in productivity. One review on the App Store notes, "It's relatively new, and while it works best with Evernote, it also allows you to share your resulting scan with other apps on your iOS device, so you can upload it to Dropbox, email it, or save it to your camera roll. Best of all, it's completely and totally free—no unlocks, no premium version, although it definitely works best if you also use Evernote."
The app also received an Editors' Choice award from PC Magazine in their "Best Mobile Scanning Apps of 2018" list. "Evernote Scannable quickly scans stacks of business cards, notes from a meeting, and documents using nothing more than your smartphone and its camera. It's even faster than Evernote's own in-app business card and document scanner," noted the editors.
If you're looking for a mostly-automated way to scan in important information -- or a handy way to import things into your Evernote account -- Evernote Scannable offers fast, accurate scans for the low, low price of free.
If you're looking for an app that doubles as a scanner and fax machine, look no further than JotNot Scanner.
The free version lets you scan documents, receipts, whiteboards, business cards, etc. into electronic format.
If you want to convert the documents PDF, JPG and BMP and email directly or upload to cloud drives, you'll need to get the pro version. But it's only $2.99.
Like other apps, JotNot utilizes image processing technology to remove unnecessary shadows and correct contrast. It also comes with its own camera stabilization feature for even better image quality. The OCR isn't the greatest, but if you have a clean image and printed text, it should perform at an acceptable level.
In addition to the pro version, you can fax over these documents by purchasing credits. A single fax costs $0.99 -- a worthwhile price when you consider needing to drag out the old all-in-one printer or drive to your local library or business center to send the random fax.
What Others are Saying...
The app enjoys a 4.9 rating on the iTunes App Store with more than 450 ratings. One reviewer says, "Jot Not was recommended when I first got my iPhone. It took me a while to start using it but now I love it... Still using it exclusively for making PDF copies of paper receipts and documents. Great for organizing receipts for an event into one file. 2018 now probably 5 years of use."
MacWorld reviewed the app and said, "JotNot does a decent job of making scraps of information more legible and easier to store for future reference, and can be a useful addition for iPhone users who already rely on other applications for OCR, e-mail, and image-sharing options."
As one of the original scanning apps, JotNot has been around for a long time. While it doesn't offer some of the fancier features of other options in the line-up, its ability to send digital faxes directly from the app make it a handy tool to keep around.
While there are a lot of great scanner apps out there, Scanner Pro gets our vote for editor’s choice. Its user interface is fairly intuitive and its automatic edge detection is accurate. Even if the edge detection is off a little bit you can manually crop the image.
What really takes the cake though is the fact that you can import images from your camera roll and give them the same image processing treatment as you would for images you took with the app.
As with any app though, you should choose the scanner app that best suits your needs.
If you only require very basic scanning and don’t want to spend money, Evernote Scannable or Genius Scan might be a good fit.
But If you want a good all-rounder that will create excellent scans and allow you to share via various methods for a good price tag, then Scanner Pro is the best bet.
How We Picked Our Top 5
The picks in this roundup are what we think are the top iOS scanning apps for most people.
We selected these apps based on analysis of expert reviews from around the web, user feedback on sites like the iTunes App Store, forum comments on our site, social media discussions, and more.
When answering the question,
“What’s the best scanning app for iPhones or iPads?”
, we considered the following primary criteria:
Good Image Quality
A scan is only useful if you can read it. And if you just wanted a picture of what you're seeing, you could just use your phone's camera.
We picked apps that go beyond simple image capture and offered a range of features to make scans easier to read.
There's a good chance that if you want to scan something, you also want to either file in a safe place or send it to someone.
All of our picks offer local file saving, cloud storage support, or the ability to send scans to others to help make using your scan easy.
With the competitive nature of app markets, we don't see the need to pay an arm and a leg for a scanning app.
All apps on our roundup are available at a reasonable price. While upgrades and additional features might cost more, the recommendations we list seemed reasonable to us.
The best place to find out about how an app works is from the people using them every day. If there's a problem, reviewers will usually let you know in a hurry.
All of our picks feature a range of reviews across multiple sites to ensure that information is as accurate as possible.
compared the things most people consider
when choosing an iOS scanning app.
we did the research—so you don’t have to
P.S. A good scanning app requires a good image to work its magic. If you're finding that your phone doesn't scan like you'd prefer, it might be time for a phone upgrade. Our phone upgrade guide offer tips on timing, where to buy, and more while our phone summaries tell you everything you need to know about releases new and old.
Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our rankings and recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty.