The Best Scanning Apps for Android and iPhone

Genealogists love to copy old documents, census records, wills, deeds, and even old photographs. We used to make photocopies and save those in various filing systems. The 21st century solution is to make digital copies, either with a scanner or, even more common, with a cell phone camera.


Making digital copies is quick, easy, and also is easier to save for posterity. Digital images are also easier to insert into various reports and genealogy programs that you may use. In short, digital images provide convenience and security. Even better, for most of us, the cell phone camera is with us wherever we go.

A few years ago, the low-resolution digital cameras built into the cell phones of those days provided marginal results when snapping photographs of old documents or pictures. Luckily, the change in technology has now solved that problem. Today’s cell phones typically include cameras of 8-megapixels or higher resolution, producing very good images of old documents, pages from books, or even good quality copies of photographs. These cameras are excellent substitutes for scanners.

Sarah Mitroff has written The Best Scanning Apps for Android and iPhone and it is available in the C|Net web site. It doesn’t mention the word “genealogy” anywhere in the article but I suggest it should be required reading for all genealogists who own camera-equipped cell phones. Best of all, Sarah mentions my two favorite cell phone scanner apps. I use Scannable several times a week, both for genealogy purposes as well as for “scanning” receipts and even bills received in the mail.

You can read The Best Scanning Apps for Android and iPhone at


I use TurboScan on my Android phone and I am very pleased with the results. Use it when I need a quick scan of an item and the digital camera isn’t available. I also use it to scan a newspaper article about an interesting restaurant. I can crop it , convert to black and white, adjust the contrast, move it to Dropbox, and send it to my wireless printer.


I, too, use TurboScan but on my iPhone. Not genealogy but I recently bought a house in Kentucky while living in California and used it to send filled-in documents to the bank arranging the loan. So handy. And a lot cheaper than paying FedEx!


I use the turboscan app on my Iphone 5S; it works very well especially in uploading pdf files to my Dropbox folders. It has an OCR option which I use rarely since most of my usage is restricted to receipt copying where I put most of the important search cues in the file’s title.


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