How to Scan a Document and Convert to PDF With iPhone

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How to Scan a Document and Convert to PDF With iPhone

Converting important documents into PDF (Portable Document Format files) allows you to share and access them whenever possible. You can turn physical paper, such as registration forms or receipts, into digital files and keep them safe as proof by scanning documents with your iPhone. This way, even if you lose a physical document, you can still have it available in your iPhone’s iCloud. 

Previously, iPhones required special hardware or a third-party app to capture photos of a document and convert it to PDF. However, with Apple iOS 11, iPhones started to come with a built-in scanner in the Notes app. Surprisingly, the app performs impressively scanning documents and converting them into PDFs.

Many iPhone users do not know about this ability of the Notes app. If you are one of them, follow the below steps to scan document with iPhone and convert it to PDF: 

Step 1: Open the Notes App

scan document with iPhone
Tap the yellow and white notepad icon to open the Notes app.

Find the Notes app on your iPhone and launch it. A notepad icon represents it.

Step 2: Tap the New Note Icon

scan document with iPhone
Tap the pencil and notepad icon in the bottom right-hand corner.

Now, tap on the “New Note” icon located in the bottom right corner of the screen. 

Step 3: Tap Camera

scan document with iPhone
The camera icon is located above the keyboard.

The next step is to tap the camera icon present on the bar above the keyboard to add an image attachment to the note. 

Step 3: Choose Scan Documents 

scan document with iPhone
“Scan Documents” is located at the bottom of the pop-up menu.

Now, choose “Scan Documents” from the list that pops up after tapping on Camera.

Step 4: Scan the Document

scan document with iPhone
Place your document in the yellow frame in the viewfinder.

The camera will open on the next screen with a yellow rectangle. Take your iPhone over the document you want to scan and keep your hand as steady as possible. The app will give you tips to take better pictures.

The viewfinder will capture the photo automatically after analyzing it. But if it doesn’t, press the Shutter button to do it manually. 

Step 5: Finalize the Scan

scan document with iPhone
View the scan and either tap keep it or retake it.

The captured photo will move to the lower left corner of your screen. Tap it to see how it comes out. If it seems clear, press “Done.” If it is blurred, tap “Retake” to take photos again. 

Step 6: Scan Multiple Pages

scan document with iPhone
Tap the Save button located in the bottom right-hand corner.

If you want to make a multi-page scanned PDF, take scans of your entire document. Once done, check every picture’s preview and tap on “Save” present at the lower-right corner of your screen. Now, you’ll have a new note with all the document pages. 

Step 7: Edit the Document

scan document with iPhone
Drag the circles at the corners to adjust the scan.
scan document with iPhone
Color options are located at the bottom of your scan.

Now, you can adjust the corners of your document from the crop tool. Not only that, but you can also change your document’s color to black and white or grayscale and even rotate pages. 

Step 8: Save Your Note as a PDF

scan document with iPhone
Open your scanned document in Notes and hold it until you see the Share option.
scan document with iPhone
After you select share, you can add a Markup or save the document to your files.

To convert the scanned document into PDF, open it in the Notes app and tap and hold it for a few seconds. Then, tap on the “Share” option to share the document through multiple apps on your iPhone, upload it to Google Drive, save it to Files, or add a Markup, etc.

scan document with iPhone
Add a signature to the document using the Markup tool.
scan document with iPhone
Sign with your finger to create a new signature to add to your document.

In this step, you can add a signature to the document using the Markup tool. Tap on Markup > + icon > Signature. Create a new one or add a saved signature and place it on the document.

Tap Done. The scanned document will be shared as a PDF on its own, meaning you won’t have to put extra effort or install any app to scan document and convert to PDF with iPhone.

How To Delete a Scanned Document on iPhone

After saving the document as PDF, you don’t actually have to keep the original note on your iPhone. This is especially the case when you don’t have enough space in your phone. Of course, it won’t occupy much space in your device, but deleting it will surely clean up some space. 

Here is how you can delete a scanned document on iPhone:

  1. Launch the Notes app on your phone and open the list of notes. 
  2. Find the note you want to delete and drag it.
  3. A row with multiple icons will appear. Select the “Trash bin” to delete the note.

The Best Apps To Scan Document With iPhone 

If you do not want to scan document and convert to PDF through the Notes app, you can download different scanner apps from the App store. The best apps even come with features that Notes don’t offer, But it is important to look at the right place.

Here are the best apps to scan document with iPhone:

Adobe Scan

Adobe Scan is an easy-to-use document scanner on this list. It has a simple interface that lets users take clear photos of their documents and convert them easily into PDFs. In addition, with the text recognition feature, you can perform various tasks other than scanning documents.

Although the app is free to download, you will have to pay almost $10 monthly to enjoy additional features in the premium version. These include capturing multiple pictures, combining them into one document, and converting PDF to Word or PowerPoint.

You can download Adobe Scan on your iPhone from the App Store through this link.

Scanner Pro

Scanner Pro is a well-rated app on the App Store. Compared to Adobe Scan, Scanner Pro has a more robust interface that digitizes and organizes your physical documents apart from scanning them. This app you can scan your documents within a few seconds and save digital copies. 

Scanner Pro also features smart borders, shadows, and perspective detection. Not only that, but it also offers optical text recognition that allows users to search through the text of their scan documents. Once you save your scans, they will automatically sync with your cloud services.

The app is free, but the premium version is priced at $19.99 yearly. For this amount, you can search text, remove watermarks, and protect your documents through passwords. Download Scanner Pro from the App Store via this link.

Microsoft Lens

If you have been a Microsoft user for years, you will be very comfortable using Microsoft Office Lens. The app integrates with Microsoft Office, allowing you to scan and save documents from Microsoft’s productivity software suite.

Microsoft Lens comes with a scanning interface that focuses on day-to-day usage. With this app, you can create Word documents for PowerPoint from your scanned documents and use text recognition. The app is free to install. However, you must subscribe to Office 365 to enjoy advanced features like syncing and exporting documents to OneDrive.

You can download this app on your iPhone from this App Store link.


SwiftScan is another effective and easy-to-use scanning app. You can expect some really advanced features in this app that even Microsoft Lens or Adobe Scan don’t offer. For instance, you can organize your scanned documents through iCloud syncing, file naming, and custom folders.

The text recognition feature of SwiftScan is also exceptional. You will have to pay $5.99 monthly or $34.99 yearly to enjoy all the features. The premium version offers auto-sync-saving on different cloud platforms. You can download the app from the App Store through this link.


Scanning documents and converting them into PDFs is quite easy with an iPhone. You don’t have to download any third-party app to perform the process. Instead, just open the Notes app on your phone, take pictures of your documents, and save them as PDFs on your iPhone.

You can also edit your documents from the Notes app. The process is typically very easy. But if you do not want to use the Notes app, you can also download third-party document scanners from the App Store.

For a thorough walkthrough of how to scan documents with your iPhone you can also refer to this video:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a scan-to-PDF app for iPhone?

Multiple scan-to-PDF apps are available for iPhone in the App Store, such as Adobe Scan, Scanner Pro, Microsoft Lens, and SwiftScan. All these apps are free, but you may have to pay for the premium version. However, no matter what app you opt for, you can easily scan paper documents, export them as PDF files, and save them in your iPhone’s iCloud.

Can I scan document with iPhone camera?

You can scan document with iPhone camera through the Notes app. Open the app, create a new note, and tap the camera icon. After that, the camera will open on your iPhone, allowing you to capture multiple pictures of the document and turn them into one PDF document.

Where is the PDF on my iPhone?

The PDF files are usually stored in the Books app on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. However, it is only possible when you are signed into your Apple ID on these devices and have iCloud Drive enabled for Books.

Where do scanned documents go on iPhone?

Scanned documents are usually saved in an iCloud Drive. If you have linked your Files app with third-party cloud services, you can also save your scanned documents there.

Can you scan a document with an iPhone and send it by email?

Yes, you can scan a document with an iPhone through Notes or any third party app. After scanning, you can send the PDF file through email from the Share button.

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