Scanners are slowly going the way of fax machines. Phone and tablet photo quality and software algorithms continue to improve and the devices don't take up precious desk space like a flatbed scanner does.
There are, however, a few problems with switching over to a mobile-first approach to scanning documents. Speed, quality, efficiency, and cost are all factors to consider.
The App Store has a countless number of apps that claim to be the best scanning app for your iOS device. I tried to sort through the noise, catchphrases, and mumbo-jumbo to find the best scanning apps that work on both an iPhone and iPad.
Scanbot is arguably the best designed app out of this bunch. It looks right at home on iOS 8, with fluid transitions and fun animations throughout its flat interface. For example, toggling the switch to enable iCloud Drive sync results in a wave animation. The animation is simple and brief, but a pleasant indicator that the app is doing something based on your interaction. Small touches like this go a long way in creating a solid experience.
As for the main purpose of scanning documents, it does a fine job of that, as well. Launching the app results in your camera automatically being opened, ready to scan any document placed in its way. Actually, you don't even have to press a button to scan a document — Scanbot does it automatically.
Gentle instructions are presented on the screen letting you know if you're too close or too far away from, and when you're at just the right height you're asked to stay still.
Cloud storage is available with Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, Box, and a few more services present. Also available is the ability to automatically upload documents to your preferred service once a scan is complete. Again, a feature that's included for free.
An in-app purchase of $5 unlocks OCR (optical character recognition), smart naming of documents, themes, and the option to passcode lock the app on your device.
With OCR you can scan a document, then copy and paste text within it to another app or search through your scanned library using keywords.
Scanner Pro is an app that's received high-praise here on Macworld, even when it was listed in the App Store at $7 in 2012. Fast-forward to today and it's currently priced at $3 and offers even more features than it did back when we first reviewed it.
With Scanner Pro, you'll also find the ability to upload and sync files using various cloud services. Automatic upload is available, both on Wi-Fi and cellular networks (there's an option to turn the latter off).
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