How to use the Files app to scan documents to your iPhone or iPad

Learn how to scan files directly to your iPhone or iPad by using the Files app.

Woman using smartphone in horizontal orientation taking photo of documents

Image: iStockphoto/Milkos

If you need to scan a document to your iPhone or iPad while you're on the go, you'll find different apps and options that can scan files to your mobile device, though one easy approach is to use the built-in Files app. With iOS 13 or iPadOS 13, the Files app supports document scanning. You can scan a document by taking a picture of it with your device and then saving it to any of your online storage sites or other locations set up through the Files app.

SEE: Apple iOS 13: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

First, you must be running iOS 13.1 or higher on your iPhone and iPadOS 13.1 or higher on your iPad. On your device, go to Settings and tap General. In the General section, tap Software Updates. You'll either be told that your software is up to date, or the latest update will appear for download and installation (Figure A).

Figure A

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Next, open the Files app. Through this app, you can connect to online services such as OneDrive and Google Drive, network servers and NAS devices, and other locations. You can then access and manage any files stored in those spots. If you've already set up online services and other locations through the Files app, then you're set; if not, follow the steps in our TechRepublic story on How to use the Files app in iOS 11 on iPhones and iPads: 4 productivity tips. Once you've set up the locations you wish to access, you can then scan a document to any of them.

In the Files app, tap the ellipsis icon at the top of the Browse pane and select the command to Scan Documents (Figure B).

Figure B

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Next, position the document you wish to scan so that it's within the framing of your device's camera. At the camera screen, wait until the area you wish to scan is highlighted in blue. You can then leave the Auto option enabled, in which case the camera will automatically capture the scan when the document is lined up properly. Alternatively, you can change the option to Manual, in which case you need to tap the shutter button to take the scan (Figure C).

Figure C

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After the scan has been taken, you may see a page asking you to crop the image by dragging the handles at the corners; if so, you can resize the scan. You can also choose the option to Retake the scan if you're unhappy with the result or tap the option to Keep Scan if you're satisfied with it (Figure D).

Figure D

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At the next screen, tap the button to Save your scanned image. At the next screen, tap the name Scanned Document to change the name of the scanned image. Tap Done (Figure E).

Figure E

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Tap the location where you want to save your scan. Depending on which services and locations you've set up in the Files app, you can opt to save the file on OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, iCloud Drive, on your iPhone or iPad, or on a network drive or NAS. Choose the location and then tap Save (Figure F).

Figure F

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