How to Digitize Old Photos with Your Android or iPhone Smartphone with PhotoScan

I wrote briefly more than two months ago at about the free PhotoScan app from Google. It uses your present cell phone to convert print photographs into high-quality digital images. I wrote:

PhotoScan is a new smartphone app used to “take a picture of your pictures.” That is, it will snap photos of all those old pictures you have stored in photo albums or in Fotomat envelopes. It will then create enhanced digital scans, with automatic edge detection, perspective correction, and smart rotation. Even better, it also automatically recognizes the four corners of the frame and displays circular overlays on each corner of the scanned image. You then point your phone camera at each circle, create a robust scan of the image, and PhotoScan gets to work from there.

I have used PhotoScan a number of times since I wrote the brief article. Now the How-To Geek web site has published a very detailed tutorial and has included lots of pictures showing how to get the most from PhotoScan.

If you have an interest in digitizing old family photographs, or even new ones, free of charge, you will want to read How to Digitize Old Photos with Your Smartphone at



Has anyone attempted to photo scan a tintype? I have a couple of tintypes that are fading
and I’m concerned about the bright lights involved with a regular scan.


Just last weekend, my daughter, who lives in another state, wanted to take some of her baby pictures out of our photo albums for a birthday party, and I wanted to digitize them just in case something happened while in her possession.
I used CamScanner, and I was surprised it had an ‘album’ feature, allowing me to shoot continuously instead of taking one pic, saving, etc. It was pretty nice and did a good job, although I think now it brightened up the photos a tad too much. But, I was in a hurry, so I didn’t do any manual adjustments while I was taking the pics.
Can you comment on the difference between Photoscan and Camscanner?? Or, if you already did a blog about it, could you point me to that article please?
Thanks so much!


    —> Can you comment on the difference between Photoscan and Camscanner??

    They are two different products designed for two different purposes.

    Photoscan is a scanner app from Google Photos that lets you scan and save your favorite PRINTED photos using your phone’s camera. It takes multiple pictures of each photo and then merges the multiple images together, picking the best pieces from each, in order to obtain the best results. It is excellent at eliminated glare, smudges, and the like.

    Camscanner is primarily a document management on all devices, starting from capturing information precisely to storing, sharing, annotating and managing documents for different purposes. It doesn’t merge together images. It has some photo editing capabilities but doesn’t do that automatically. If the original photo has glare or smudges, those will undoubtedly remain in the finished product unless you MANUALLY perform some serious photo editing.

    Both are excellent products but comparing them is somewhat similar to comparing apples and oranges. They are designed for different purposes.


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