Document scanner apps make it possible to scan items that are paper-based like receipts, letters, or contracts from mobile devices. This eliminates the need for bulky scanners.
There are dozens of document scanner apps available for iOS, but most of them are junk. Our top five picks are based on great image quality, diverse formatting options, accurate text recognition, ease of use, and ample sharing options. They also offer clear privacy and security policies, plus editing and annotation features.
1. Notes (Integrated)
A lot of people prefer to use whatever apps are already available to them on the phone from the start. One of the better features of the Apple Notes app is that you can in fact use it to scan documents.
When you open a new note, tap the “+” icon then “Scan Documents”. You then scan multi-page documents using the Notes app, make adjustments to make it look more “scanned”, and even add your signature to a given document.
The one downside here is that the Notes app has a scan limit of 24 pages at this point, so it won’t quite serve you for bulkier documents.
2. Scanbot Pro
Scanbot Pro offers excellent scan quality, solid text recognition, an elegant but simple interface, and ample sharing options.
It crops your scans accurately, while correcting for any geometric distortions, and includes useful PDF markup features.
Your documents won’t be shared across Scanbot Pro’s servers, as it ensures your information is safe from prying authorities and hackers. It won’t perform optical character recognition in the cloud either.
An array of filters is available that you can use to edit your captured document, plus editing tools like auto-crop, rotate, and file naming.
What makes it unique:
- Dedicated multipage scanning mode
- Automatic capture of your documents
- Custom naming template saves you the hassle of naming each scan
- Automatic text recognition in 60 languages
- Automatic upload of scans to 17 cloud storage options
- Ample sharing (PDF, JPEG, TXT)
- Features exclusive to iOS like Touch ID app lock, passcode, Wunderlist integration, page reordering in multipage scans, and folders that sync with iCloud
While Scanbot Pro comes with a dandy collection of tools, it doesn’t distinguish between different document types. Its image editing is also destructive, as you cannot change filters once your scans are saved.
3. Microsoft Office Lens
If you use Microsoft Office, then this Microsoft Office Lens app is good for you. It offers excellent usability features such as text recognition and competent scanning, which is scarce especially for a free app.
The quality of its scans aren’t as clean as those of Scanbot Pro, plus it has limited sharing options. However, it makes up for these flaws through its accurate, world-class text recognition.
If you don’t want to pay for top document scanner apps, Microsoft Office Lens is a good performer, with excellent OCR, a simple user interface, image filters, and dedicated scanning modes for distinct results.
The downside about OCR with this app is you have to install Word on your iPhone or Apple device and then sign in with a free Microsoft account to access, edit, and save your results.
What makes it unique
- 100 percent free (rare for iOS apps)
- Discreet modes for whiteboard and business card scanning
- Can convert scans into PowerPoint slides
- Recognition of names, photos, and contact info from business cards and adds these to your contacts on OneNote
- Exports scans in PDF, JPEG, DOCX
This free, business-grade CamScanner app for iOS scans a wide range of documents with support for cloud services. Scanned documents are converted into PDF files and uploaded automatically to cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, OneDrive, and Box.
It is targeted toward business users who can use it to invite their colleagues to view and/or comment on the scanned documents, as long as they have a user account. You can also add watermarks and annotations to documents using the advanced editing feature, and passcodes can for better security.
The premium plan offers features such as 10GB storage, batch downloading of documents, and sending document links with password protection.
What makes it unique:
- Supports Siri shortcuts to open folders and documents
- Smart auto enhancing and cropping for clear and sharp image quality
- E-signature to sign contracts and share
- OCR tool to extract text for further editing or sharing (premium feature)
- Ample sharing options via email, social media, or doc link
- AirPrint and Fax documents to more than 30 countries
- Collaboration on scans in a group
- Passcodes or password protection for important documents
- Optimized synchronization across devices
5. Evernote Scannable
Evernote Scannable for iOS captures documents beautifully and quickly, transforming them to high-quality scans that you can save and share instantly.
It offers fast and immediate scanning, plus options to save or share/export documents as PDF and JPG files.
Additionally, it can turn your business cards into contacts as it pulls information from them, or from LinkedIn, which you can save to your contacts list.
What makes it unique:
- Works with ScanSnap Evernote Edition Scanner to deliver multipage documents to your desired destination
- Your team can control a ScanSnap Evernote Edition Scanner from their own devices and share scans
- Intelligent file sharing
- Text-parsing technology
- Connects to LinkedIn for extra context
FineScanner quickly captures books and documents, creating PDF and JPG copies, and applying online OCR for text recognition. This helps when you need to do further editing and sharing.
What makes it unique:
- Captures and scans a variety of documents with perfect digital copies
- OCR in 193 languages and 12 output formats, including DOCX, TXT and PDF
- Scans can be opened with Siri shortcuts
- BookScan through Book mode in your camera captures shots of facing book pages, splits them into separate images, and correct distortions or lighting defects
- Spotlight search support and 3D touch
- Built-in file storage with search and tag capabilities
- Share, Export, and AirPrint scans
A premium version is available that lets you use all the app’s functions, but you can use it for free, if you don’t mind the ads.
Do you have a favorite document scanner app for your iOS device? Tell us about it in the comments section.
Image credit: Abbyy via Facebook