How to scan important documents to your iPhone using the Notes app

We live in a time when having access to health records or other crucial documents on our phones is a must. Did you know that you can scan important documents to your iPhone via the Notes app?

Apple’s Health app is excellent for many things, but it doesn’t allow you to store everything.

Additional documents like dental records or acupuncture just aren’t supported, at least not yet (Apple just started supporting vision prescriptions which is awesome!)

Since the Health app doesn’t offer an option to scan and upload these health records and documents manually, you may want to find another way to store them on your phone safely. 

The app we recommend you use is the Notes app (or save them elsewhere using the Notes app scanner.)

In this article, we walk you through how to use the Notes app to scan important documents that otherwise couldn’t be stored in the Health app.

We also include how you can lock these notes with a password to protect any sensitive information.

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How to scan important documents using the Notes app

We’ve all probably used the Notes app before to store a random thought, create a grocery list, or even make a sketch.

It can also scan documents! So there’s no need to download a third-party app to scan documents using an iPhone or iPad. It’s a pretty awesome feature that not many people know about!

Using the Notes app to scan important documents allows you to mark up the file, convert it to a PDF, and even share it with another app or other people.

To scan important documents using the Notes app:

  1. Open the Notes app and create a new note.
  2. Tap the camera icon above the keyboard. Select Scan Documents.Scan important documents in notes
  3. Place your phone’s camera over the document and position it within the window.
  4. You’ll notice a yellow film covering the document as the app automatically snaps a scan notes app
  5. If, for some reason, the app doesn’t automatically take a photo, you can do it manually by hitting the shutter button at the bottom.
  6. The Notes app now automatically creates a PDF.
  7. Once you’re satisfied with your scan, tap the Save button in the bottom right. Save document scan in Apple Notes app on iPhone

The scanned page(s) automatically populate into your new note. From here, you can add text or other images as needed.

scan in notes app

You can always markup your scan like any other document or photo if you’d like or need to. 

  1. Tap the scanned document > Share icon in the upper-right corner > Markup 

mark up in notes

  1. Select what tool, colors, text box, magnifier, etc. you want to use.
  2. When finished, tap Done to return to your note.

Scan important documents without auto scan

Sometimes this auto scan feature creates problems. Or it’s always snapping a photo when you aren’t ready or don’t have the best lighting set.

You do have the option to turn this off and take your scans manually.

To do this:

  1. Tap the camera icon > scan documents > hover over document.
  2. In the top right corner, you’ll see Auto.
  3. Tap this, and it changes to Manual. notes app turn off auto scan
  4. The app only snaps a single photo and takes a scan when you hit the shutter button at the bottom.

How to set a password for your notes

If your recently scanned note includes protected health information or other sensitive details, you can lock your note with a password.

You can also use your Face ID on new iPhones or Touch ID on older versions. We recommend still setting a physical password for all notes.

To set your notes password:

  1. Go to Settings > Notes > Password.

notes password set

  1. Enter a password and add a hint just in case you need a reminder.
  2. You can also toggle on Face ID from here as well.

It’s important to note that if you forget your password and haven’t set up Face ID to unlock your notes, you won’t be able to view any locked notes

Apple support also won’t be able to help you regain this access. So pick a familiar password or a very helpful hint!

You can always reset your password, which only changes for future locked notes. It does not give you access to any previously locked notes with your forgotten password.

You can reset your password by going to Settings > Notes > Password > Reset Password.

How to lock a note

If you’ve to scan important documents into your Notes app, you may want to lock that note for added security. 

To do this:

  • Open the note > select the three dots More button in the top right corner > tap Lock

lock a note

Open a locked note

Select the locked note, then tap View Note. You’ll be prompted to either use Face ID, Touch ID, or your Notes password.

When you are done viewing the document, you can either tap the lock icon at the bottom of your screen, close the Notes app, or lock your iPhone.

All of these options will re-lock your opened note. 

Final thoughts

If you need or want to scan important documents to your phone, but you can’t store them in the Health app, consider using your Note’s built-in scanner.

You can easily lock any notes with a password, and you’ll automatically have a PDF document once it is scanned.

It’s a great alternative to keeping any needed documents or records on your phone in a safe, protected way.


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