Mobile Phones Android 324 324 people found this article helpful How to Scan Documents With Your Phone or Tablet Scan, create, and send PDF documents with your iOS or Android device by Renée Lynn Midrack Writer Renée Midrack is a former writer for Lifewire, where she wrote on emerging technology and smart devices. Midrack has been writing about technology for 15+ years. our editorial process Renée Lynn Midrack Updated on October 22, 2020 reviewed by Michelle Adeola Adelufosi Lifewire Tech Review Board Member Michelle Adeola Adelufosi is a marketing consultant with 9 years' experience working for a variety of clients. Her expertise includes social media, web development, and graphic design. our review board Article reviewed on Oct 11, 2020 Michelle Adeola Adelufosi Android Switching from iOS Tweet Share Email Updated features in iOS and Google Drive allow you to scan documents for free with your phone or tablet. A program or app performs the scan using your camera and, in many cases, converts it into a PDF automatically. This guide shows you how to do it, whether you own an Apple or Android device. This guide applies to iOS 13 and higher and Android 11 and higher. A Quick Note About Optical Character Recognition Optical Character Recognition (OCR), sometimes called Text Recognition, is a process that makes text within a PDF recognizable, searchable, and readable by other types of programs or apps. Many scanner apps, such as Adobe Scan, apply it to PDFs automatically, or you can select this option in preferences. As of the iOS 11 release, the scanning feature in Notes for iPhone doesn't apply OCR to scanned documents. The scanning option in Google Drive also doesn't automatically apply OCR to scanned PDFs. Some programs can do it, but it's time-consuming when you need to send something quickly. If you need OCR features, though, you can download a third-party app like Adobe Scan. How to Scan Documents With iOS The release of iOS 11 added a new scanning feature to Notes. Here's how to use it: Open the Notes app and create a new note. Tap the Camera icon and select Scan Documents. Position the phone camera over the document. Notes automatically focuses and captures an image, or you can do it manually by tapping the shutter button. After you scan a page, drag the handles to crop the scan. Tap Keep Scan to continue. You can also select Retake to scan the document again. Repeat this process for all the pages you want to scan. When you're finished, select Save. How to Scan Documents With Android You need Google Drive installed to scan documents with Android. The app generally comes pre-installed on Android devices. If you don't have it, download it for free from the Google Play Store. Open Google Drive and tap the + symbol. Under the Create New tab, select Scan. Position the phone camera over the document and tap the Shutter button when you're ready to capture the image. Tap the check mark to keep the scan or tap the back arrow icon to retake it. Tap the + symbol to scan more images or tap Save to finish and upload your document to Google Drive. There are also options to crop the scan, rotate it, or change the color. When you finish scanning your documents, enter a file name for your new PDF and choose which folder to save it in. Then select Save. How to Scan Documents With Adobe Scan If you prefer to use a third-party app to scan and create PDFs of documents, Adobe Scan is available for free for iOS and Android. Adobe Scan offers an in-app subscription purchase to access additional features and options. However, the free version includes enough features to cover the needs of most users. While there are several scanner apps, such as Tiny Scanner, Genius Scan, TurboScan, Microsoft Office Lens, and CamScanner, Adobe Scan has all the basics covered in its free version. It's easy to navigate and use without much of a learning curve. If you haven't registered for an Adobe ID (it's free), you need to set one up to use this app. Here's how to scan documents with Adobe Scan: Open the app and log in with either a Google, Facebook, or Adobe ID. Tap the screen or the shutter button when you're ready to scan the document. The app finds the borders and takes a picture for you. Drag the handles to adjust the borders if necessary, then tap Continue. The app automatically takes more scans if necessary. If you don't want to do that, tap the scan's thumbnail to display the editing and saving options. Here, you can rotate it, crop it, change the color, and more. When you're ready, tap Save PDF in the upper-right corner of the screen to save it. After you select Save to PDF, tapping the More icon displays options for the new file. You can choose to save it to Google Drive, copy it to your device, print it, delete it, and more.