How to Scan Documents With Your iPad

Apps that replace real scanners

What to Know

  • Download an app like Scanner Pro, SwiftScan, DocScan, or Genius Scan.
  • In app, hold iPad camera over document. Wait until words on the page come into focus before capturing image.

This article provides a list of apps that will turn your iPad into a scanner.

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Scanner Pro

Scanner Pro iPad scanning app
What We like
  • Fast and easy to use.

  • Offers scanning and faxing.

  • Email or save scans to the cloud.

  • Sync between iCloud devices.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited built-in editing tools.

  • Advanced features require a paid subscription.

  • Documents with the free version contain a watermark.

Scanner Pro is the right combination of affordability and reliability for iOS users. The app is easy to use, scans great copies, and can fax documents for a small in-app purchase. While it's free to use for unlimited scanning and sharing, the Scanner Pro watermark will appear. The premium Pro Plus version eliminates the watermark and adds other perks such as password protection and full-text search.

After scanning, you can choose to email documents or upload them to Dropbox, Evernote, and other cloud services. You can also keep your scans synced with your iPhone and Mac over iCloud.

When scanning the document, wait until the words on the page come into focus. The camera on the iPad adjusts automatically to make the text on the page readable. For the best scans, wait until you can easily read the words.

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SwiftScan iPad scanner app
What We like
  • Straightforward free version.

  • Easy to scan and save to the cloud.

  • The app does most of the work for you.

What We Don't Like
  • Only basic features in the free version.

  • Advanced tools are pricey.

SwiftScan is an excellent choice for those who want a free, basic scanner. If all you need is to scan a document and save it to iCloud Drive or Dropbox, SwiftScan is for you. Even better, the app does the scanning for you. Rather than waiting until the text becomes clear to take a picture of your document, SwiftScan detects when the page is in focus and takes the photo automatically.

While the free version will be enough for many people, the paid extras deliver the most useful features for active scanners, though at a high cost. Highlights include the ability to edit documents, add signatures, add notes to a document, or even lock them with a password.

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Doc Scan iPad scanning app
What We Like
  • Automatic scans.

  • Combine documents and photos with the collage tool.

  • Free editing and text recognition.

What We Don't Like
  • Faxing can get pricey.

  • Some users report issues with border detection.

  • Saving to cloud services is easiest with the Pro version.

DocScan has a user-friendly interface that's easy to pick up and start using. This free app bundles many features that competitors include in their premium tiers. Without upgrading to DocScan Pro, you can enjoy automatic scans and the ability to combine documents and photos with the collage tool. You also have many editing tools at your disposal, including adding signatures or annotations to documents.

You can choose to email documents or save them to your camera roll. Saving documents to a cloud service like Google Drive or Evernote is also best with the paid version. You'll have to use a workaround as opposed to pressing sharing buttons in the Pro app.

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Genius Scan

Genius Scan iPad scanning app
What We Like
  • Free version offers multi-page scanning and editing.

  • Advanced security is available.

  • OCR feature for PDFs.

What We Don't Like
  • Cloud sharing requires a paid subscription.

  • OCR and security tools require payment.

Genius Scan specializes in creating multi-page PDF files out of the documents you scan. It claims to make the text easier to read, although actual results may vary.

The free version limits where you can export documents, but it does allow you to export to cloud services such as Dropbox on one of the two paid tiers. While OCR text recognition for PDFs and enhanced document security are available features, you'll need a paid subscription to take advantage of either.

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