ScanBee: A Scanner and Copier in Your iPhone

UPDATE: The article stated that “ScanBee for iPhones was a $3 US app. However, the price recently was dropped to zero.” A number of newsletter readers reported installing it as a FREE app. However, the new price of FREE was a short-term promotion that lasted for a few days. The price has since reverted back to $3 US (£2.99 in the UK, $4.99 in Australian dollars, $4.99 in New Zealand, $3.99 Canadian). Even at that price, I would consider it to be a bargain.

Your smartphone is one of the greatest tools available today. You can find thousands of apps that will perform all sorts of tasks. For genealogists, one of the more valuable tools is that of converting the smartphone into a scanner.

While I always think of genealogical uses for smartphone apps, the fact is that a scanner app in your phone can be used for dozens of other purposes. I scan all sorts of things: receipts, insurance documents, children’s report cards, menus from local take-out restaurants, automobile registrations, eyeglass prescriptions, recipes found in newspapers and magazines, and much, much more. I also have digitized my driver’s license and passport as well.

Numerous scanning apps are available for both iPhones and Android phones. A quick look in the phone’s app store will show several apps that convert your phone into a handheld scanner.

For the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, my favorite scanning app is ScanBee. ScanBee reportedly has been downloaded and installed more than 100,000 times. Users have rated ScanBee at 4.8 stars out of a maximum of 5 on the Apple App Store.

NOTE: The Android Play Store also has an available app called ScanBee but it is not related to the iPhone app of the same name. The Android app called ScanBee has nothing to do with scanners. However, Android also has many scanner apps available. To find Android scanner apps, go to the Play Store and search on: scanner.

ScanBee for iPhones was a $3 US app. However, the price recently was dropped to zero. Yes, ScanBee is a free app. I don’t think you will find a better bargain for a scanner!

ScanBee uses the cell phone’s camera to take a photo of a document, a sign, a whiteboard’s contents, a blackboard, or most any thing else. It then detects the edges of the document or other item being digitized, crops the image so that only the document is digitized and any surrounding “clutter” is eliminated.

The app even includes image enhancing filters that will sharpen or otherwise improve the image you scanned. Whenever you are finished with the scanning process, the image is saved as a PDF file.

ScanBee creates very sharp images of documents when used in any of the iPhones with high-resolution cameras that have been produced in the last few years. It may not give as sharp images with the lower-resolution cameras in older iPhones, however.

The resultant file can then be opened in any app that can open PDF documents on your iPhone or it can be sent to anyone via email. Of course, you could send it to your own email address and then save the scanned image(s) wherever you wish, in your computer(s), in the cloud, on a flash drive, or anyplace else you want.

The ScanBee app will quickly scan many documents to a single PDF file. It will even reorder and add new pages to an existing PDF.

Again, not bad for a free app!

This is a great tool if you want to digitize a single document or a few documents while at home or at a library, archive, or public records office. I wouldn’t want to scan several hundred pages from a book using ScanBee, however. There are better, although more expensive, tools for scanning hundreds of pages.

I do wish ScanBee would save files in other formats, such as JPG or GIF. However, I can’t complain too much about a shortcoming in a free app. Besides, there are numerous ways of converting PDF files to other formats. See my earlier article, Use CloudConvert to Convert a File from One Format to Another at http://bit.ly/2XEGhfe, for the method that I use. It is also free and it works in the cloud. That means it works with any computer: Windows, Macintosh, Chromebook, or even iPhone or Android devices. No software installation is needed.

You might want to try scanning a few documents with ScanBee. If you don’t care for it, you can easily uninstall it within a few seconds. After all, it didn’t cost you anything.

You can learn more about ScanBee at: https://apps.apple.com/app/id799355420. However, it is probably even easier to use your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to go to the app store and search on: ScanBee.

OK, now start digitizing that pile of papers on your desk!

29 Comments

Thomas A. Montgomery July 3, 2019 at 9:22 am

I am looking for the best large-scale portable scanner (to capture those large 11 X17 ledger/recorder book pages found in county courthouses) OR an app to clearly frame and capture this size. Have you tried this app on the big books?

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    Larger books will require holding the cell phone (scanner) further away from the book’s pages. As such, the print will appear smaller and will undoubtedly be more difficult to read. I haven’t experimented with that very much but am guessing that it will work well on maps and anything printed in large fonts. Can someone else jump in here and tell all of us about their experiences with cell phone scanners being used on large format documents?

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Do you have a link to this in the App Store? I just searched on Scanbee and Scan Bee and nothing came up for me.

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Never mind. I tried it again and it came right up.

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I went to the App Store and could not find this, also Googled and nothing for ScanBee. I found several others that looked good but?

Also, if I can piggyback, awhile back you purchased a Go Fund Me scanner that would scan large books and such. Did you receive it and, if so, how is it working out? I ask because IRISscan a Cannon Co. is marketing a scanner that looks very similar.

I always find your posts to be interesting, Thank you.

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    —> I went to the App Store and could not find this,

    See the earlier comments from “allthingsrobin” who had a problem finding it at first but then did find it on his second attempt. Also check the link given in the article: https://apps.apple.com/app/id799355420

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    —> awhile back you purchased a Go Fund Me scanner that would scan large books and such. Did you receive it and, if so, how is it working out?

    I received it a few weeks ago and have used it briefly. So far, it has worked well for various sizes of books as well as for taking pictures of small objects: stamps, coins, jewelry, small electronic components, and such things.

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    Found it & tried it. Works nice and will be handy in the future
    Thank you

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Loaded and tried scanning. Seems good, but no rotation, though that can be fixed in the pdf app

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Did it, love it, thanks

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In Australia the app is not free- I was charged AUD4.99, but hopefully it will be worth that small amount.

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I’m in Canada and it’s $3.99.
But it sounds worth it, so I’m going to give it a try.
Thanks for the information.

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Scanbee seems to still be a paid for app in UK (only £2.99 admittedly) so if free in US why not for us Brits? And is it any better than DocScanner that I already have installed and which, I now see, includes OCR? I regularly take your advice Dick, but not so sure about this one!
(We met at Sandown Park last summer by the way and you were telling me about your then imminent visit to Scotland, knight hunting! I hope it was successful)

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Price is showing as $2.99 when I checked just now.

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The app is back to $2.99 as of right now. Got it anyway.

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Was the large format scanner you got an “Aura” by CZUR? I’ve received mine but have not used it yet.

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    That’s the one he discussed back last year; I just got mine and, while it does do a great job with oversize items, other printed materials, books, etc, (and creating searchable pdfs, a fantastic feature) it isn’t a very good photograph scanner. My flatbed scanner is still the best for photographs.

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Not free in UK App Store

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App is showing in the Store at a cost of $4.99 in New Zealand.

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Just looked for ScanBee and it’s priced at £2.99 in UK.

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It’s priced at £2.99 when I just checked in the UK.

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UPDATE: The article stated that “ScanBee for iPhones was a $3 US app. However, the price recently was dropped to zero.” A number of newsletter readers reported installing it as a FREE app. However, the new price of FREE apparently was a short-term promotion that lasted for a few days. The price has since reverted back to $3 US (£2.99 in the UK, $4.99 in Australian dollars, $4.99 in New Zealand, $3.99 Canadian). Even at that price, I would consider it to be a bargain.

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In the U.S. it was free yesterday, now it’s $2.99.

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If you only want one scanning app on your phone, which is the best? Or what are the top two if one doesn’t have everything you need?

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Evernote Scannable is free and 4.9 stars. I use it regularly and no problems.

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Paula Kelley Ward July 4, 2019 at 1:06 pm

I’m in Virginia and it’s $2.99. I downloaded a free one: iScanner. Looks pretty good.

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I used my iPhone and ScanBee on large documents. They are had to read on the iPhone but easy to read when printed. I am using iOS 12.3.1

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Thanks for sharing this post. It’s very informative. If you are facing HP LaserJet Pro Scanner Error 22 then read our article to resolve your issue step by step.

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