How to Scan Documents on an iPhone Using Your Mac

Control the iPhone's Scanner Using the Camera Continuity feature

What to Know

  • Right-click in Finder, Mail, Messages, or Pages 7.2 and later and select Import from iPhone or iPad > Scan Documents.
  • You can use and control the built-in scanner app on an iPhone using a Mac computer using Camera Continuity.
  • The Camera Continuity feature work with iPhones running iOS 12.0 and newer with Mac computers running macOS Mojave or later.

This article provides instructions on scanning documents from your Mac computer using an iPhone running iOS 12.0 or later.

Can I Use My iPhone as a Scanner?

You may already know that the iPhone has a built-in document scanner in the Notes app. To access it, open Notes, tap the camera icon, and select Scan Documents. But you can also use Camera Continuity to access it from your Mac computer and use your iPhone as the scanner.

  1. Open a compatible app on your Mac computer. Those apps include Finder, Mail, Messages, or Pages 7.2 and later, but other apps may work with the feature as well.

  2. Right-click on a new email or document and choose Import from iPhone or iPad > Scan Documents, or you may not see Import from iPhone or iPad, in which case you can select Scan Documents.

    The scanning option in Pages for Mac.
  3. An icon appears on your screen to indicate that you should scan the document with your iPhone. On your iPhone, the document scanner will open automatically.

    A pop-up in Pages indicating the iPhone is being used to scan a page.
  4. Center the document on the iPhone screen; you should see a light blue or gray rectangle overlay the document. Once the whole document is visible, the iPhone will automatically capture an image of the document you're scanning.

    Once the capture has taken place, the image appears on your iPhone screen. From there, you can tap the preview image in the bottom left to open the image for editing.

  5. Make whatever adjustments you'd like to make to the image and then tap Done.

  6. This returns you to the scanning screen. Tap Save to save the scan, send it to the document on your Mac computer, and close the scanning app on your iPhone.

    Screenshots showing how to manage edit and send a scan from an iPhone to a Mac.
  7. Once the scanned image appears in your document, you can adjust it the same way you would adjust any other image inserted into a document.

    A scan inserted into a document in Pages on the Mac.

Where Do Scanned Documents Go on iPhone?

If you're using your Mac computer to scan documents with your iPhone, then your scans will automatically be placed into the application from which you're scanning. If you're scanning directly from the iPhone into the Notes app, it will move the scan into a note on your device.

If the text is clear on the document you're scanning, your iPhone might pick up the title of the page (if there is one) and use that for the file name of the note.

Why Won't My iPhone Let Me Scan to My Mac?

If you're having trouble scanning to your Mac computer with your iPhone, there are a few things that could be the problem:

  • You're using the wrong version of iOS or macOS. You must be using iOS 12.0 or later and macOS Mojave or later.
  • Your devices aren't both on the same network. You must connect both your iPhone and your Mac computer to the same network so they can communicate properly to capture and share the scan.
  • Bluetooth is turned off on one or both devices. Make sure you have turned on the Bluetooth on both your iPhone and your Mac computer. Without Bluetooth, the iPhone and computer can't communicate.
  • You're not using the same iCloud account on both devices. If you have multiple iCloud accounts, make sure your iPhone and Mac computer are connected to the same iCloud account.

If none of these issues is the problem, try restarting both your iPhone and your computer, then try scanning again. Sometimes, a simple restart can fix many problems that cause problems with all kinds of apps and services.

  • What app can I use to scan documents on my iPhone?

    There are a number of apps on the App Store that offer scanning capabilities from your iPhone. Open the App Store on your iOS device and search for scanner. Some, like Scanner App, have free, ad-supported versions or free trial versions. Be sure to read the reviews to make sure you find an app that meets your needs.

  • How do I save scanned documents on an iPhone?

    By default, when you use the Notes app to scan something, the scanned image is saved directly in the Notes app. If you prefer to save scanned documents as JPEG files in your camera roll, navigate to Settings, choose the Notes app, then toggle on Save to Photos. All the scans taken in Notes will be saved to the Photos app.

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