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How to Scan a PDF on iPhone: A Comprehensive Guide

With the advent of smartphones, scanning documents no longer requires a bulky machine. iPhones come equipped with powerful built-in tools and third-party applications that make scanning PDFs a breeze. This comprehensive guide will walk you through various methods to scan a PDF on your iPhone, ensuring you capture your documents with ease and precision.

Why Scan Documents as PDFs on iPhone?

Scanning documents as PDFs on your iPhone offers numerous benefits:

  1. Portability: Easily scan and store documents without needing separate scanning equipment.
  2. Accessibility: PDFs are universally accepted and can be viewed on virtually any device and platform.
  3. Efficiency: Quickly share scanned documents via email, cloud storage, or messaging apps.

Using the Built-In Notes App

One of the simplest ways to scan documents on an iPhone is by using the built-in Notes app.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Open the Notes App: Launch the Notes app on your iPhone.
  2. Create a New Note: Tap the compose button (+) in the bottom right corner to create a new note.
  3. Access the Camera: Tap the camera icon and select "Scan Documents".
  4. Capture the Document: Align your document within the frame. The app will automatically capture it, or you can press the shutter button.
  5. Adjust and Save: Adjust the corners if necessary, and tap "Keep Scan". Once you've scanned all your documents, tap "Save".


  • Auto-Capture: Automatically detects and captures the document.
  • Editing Tools: Allows cropping and adjusting the scan to ensure optimal quality.
  • Integration: Easily share or mark up your scans within the Notes app.

Using the Files App

The Files app, available on iOS 13 and later, also includes a built-in document scanner.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Open the Files App: Launch the Files app.
  2. Scan Option: Tap the three-dot menu in the top right corner and select "Scan Documents".
  3. Capture the Document: Position your document within the viewfinder and capture the scan.
  4. Review and Save: Review the scan, adjust if needed, and save it directly into a folder within the Files app.


  • Organization: Easily organize scanned documents within folders.
  • Direct Integration: Store your scans directly in iCloud or other cloud storage services integrated with the Files app.

Using Third-Party Apps

For enhanced features and functionality, there are several excellent third-party apps available on the App Store for scanning PDFs.

  1. Adobe Scan: Offers exceptional quality scans and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for text recognition.
  2. CamScanner: Known for its powerful features like automatic enhancement and PDF annotation.
  3. Microsoft Office Lens: Integrates well with Microsoft's suite of applications and offers high-quality scans.

General Steps

  1. Download and Install: Find your preferred app on the App Store and install it.
  2. Open the App and Scan: Launch the app and follow the on-screen instructions to capture your document.
  3. Edit and Save: Use the app’s features to edit, enhance, and save your document as a PDF.


  • Advanced Features: OCR capabilities, multi-page document scanning, and integration with other productivity tools.
  • Enhanced Quality: Automatic enhancements ensure clarity and readability.

Tips for High-Quality Scans

  • Good Lighting: Ensure your document is well-lit to avoid shadows and enhance clarity.
  • Steady Hands: Hold your iPhone steadily to prevent blurry scans.
  • Contrast Background: Place your document on a contrasting background to help the app detect edges.
  • Clean Lens: Wipe your camera lens to ensure there are no smudges affecting the scan quality.

Sharing and Managing Scanned PDFs

Once you’ve scanned your document, here are some ways to effectively share and manage your PDFs:

  • Email: Directly email the scanned PDF from within the scanning app.
  • Cloud Storage: Save the PDF to iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, or any other cloud service.
  • Messaging Apps: Share via messaging apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, or Slack for quick dissemination.
  • PDF Editors: Use PDF editing apps or tools to annotate, sign, or further edit your scanned documents.

Conclusion: Simplify Your Document Management

Scanning PDFs on your iPhone is a convenient and efficient way to handle document management. By utilizing the built-in Notes and Files apps or leveraging powerful third-party applications, you can easily convert physical documents into high-quality digital files. Follow the steps and tips provided in this guide to ensure your scans are clear, organized, and easily accessible whenever you need them.

By integrating these methods into your daily workflow, you’ll enhance your productivity and never have to worry about losing important documents again.

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