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Today I learned the iPhone’s excellent document scanner can be controlled from a Mac

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All the power without the hassle

Scan documents directly into Mail, Finder, and other Mac apps.
Image: Apple

The iPhone’s Notes app has a powerful document scanning feature built right into it, and today I learned that this scanner can be controlled directly from a paired Mac in a variety of apps. It’s an incredibly useful tip for Mac users as it cuts out the awkward middle steps of having to transfer it from phone to computer, or grabbing it from the Mac’s Notes app after it syncs. Shoutout to TikTok account @keyboardshortcuts for bringing it to my attention.

Besides Notes, the iPhone’s scanner can be accessed from a number of different Mac apps, including the Finder, Mail, Messages, and Pages 7.2 and later. To use it, control-click (or right-click) in the window you want to scan the document into, select “Import from iPhone or iPad,” and then click “Scan Documents.” The camera app will magically open on the linked mobile device, where a scan can be taken as usual — no wires required. Once done, the scanned document will end up in the Mac app with a minimum of hassle. I found it useful to scan a bunch of legal documents directly into a new folder in Finder, for example.

According to a support page for the feature, the Mac will need to be running macOS Mojave or above, and the iPhone or iPad needs to be running iOS 12 and above. Both devices need to have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on, and signed into iCloud with the same Apple ID with two-factor authentication enabled.

As well as scanning documents, the feature can also be used to take photos. Simply select “Take Photo” rather than “Scan Documents” from the menu and tap the shutter button on your mobile device to capture an image.

Camera Continuity isn’t a new feature, but its compatibility with the iPhone’s document scanner was news to me.