Genius Scan iPhone App Review

A stack of receipts and other paperwork
Camilo Rueda López / Flickr / Creative Commons

The Good

  • Scan business or personal documents
  • Simple interface
  • Free

The Bad

  • Limited upload options

Business professionals are always juggling lots of paperwork -- business cards, receipts, and memos, just to name a few. The Genius Scan app (Free) is one solution to streamlining your business papers. It uses the iPhone’s camera to quickly and accurately scan small documents. 

A must-have for receipts or business cards

Genius Scan’s no-nonsense interface is a snap to figure out. The homepage has a link to the scanner and document library, and scanned documents are listed underneath. To scan a new document, tap the scanner tab and position the iPhone’s camera so the document fits fully within the frame. Snap your picture and make any cropping adjustments as necessary.

To enhance readability, the Genius Scan app uses page frame detection and perspective correction to ensure the scans are better images than you could take with your iPhone camera alone. Scans can also be converted to grayscale, which makes small text more readable. Compared to pictures taken with an iPhone 3G, the Genius Scan pictures were brighter and easier to read.

Once you have scanned a document with Genius Scan, you can export it to iBooks, your camera roll, or email. You can also name documents for easier organization and add new photos to an existing file, which makes for faster exporting later. Scans can be sent as JPEGs or PDFs. 

Picture quality is dependent on your camera quality. For example, the 5-megapixel camera on the iPhone 4 will take better scans than the 2-megapixel iPhone 3G. All my scans looked fine -- smaller numbers or letters were a little blurry, but everything was readable. However, I used the app for small documents like receipts and business cards; longer documents may not be readable, depending on their size.

And just in case you were wondering, Genius Scan says that all documents are processed on the iPhone itself and are not sent to a third-party server (so you can rest easy about those receipts). 

Although Genius Scan is a terrific business app, you can also use it for personal reasons like scanning notes, memos, or recipes. Grizzly Labs also offers Genius Scan+ (US$2.99), which is compatible with Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Docs. It also doesn’t contain ads. I do wish the free version of Genius Scan included more upload options, so it’s good that the paid version offers these features. 

The Bottom Line

Genius Scan is a useful business app that definitely serves a purpose. 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. Overall rating: 5 stars out of 5. 

What You’ll Need

Genius Scan is compatible with the iPhone and requires iOS 4.0 or later.