I don’t use my Mac and iPhone together as often as I should. I generally tend to have tasks done on one side or the other instead of hand over my work between the two platforms. I could change this though as I see how easy it is to trigger my iPhone’s document scanning capabilities from my Mac.
That sounds a little nerdy and niche – and it is – but I envision a setup where someone pats their iPhone on a cheap tripod, points it at a table, and mixes papers with it. And instead of having to keep tapping the phone to take pictures of those documents that could inevitably crowd out of their position, scanning the batch documents from the Mac sounds like a snapshot.
Thanks to The edge (and the TikToker they found) to bring this hack to my attention. First, make sure your Mac is running macOS Mojave (at least) and your iPhone is using iOS 12 (at least). Both must have WiFi and Bluetooth enabled and both must (obviously) be signed in to the same Apple ID.
Then you want to call an application that has the function “Pass-through camera”Function – a list of them You will find here. We’ll use Notes as an example of this. Simple in every old note Ctrl + click To start your context menu, select the “Scan Documents” option on your phone, which should appear at the bottom of the menu.
Screenshot: David Murphy
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When you do this, your iPhone will immediately go into camera mode. When it detects a document, it automatically scans its contents and asks you whether or not you want to keep the photo:
Screenshot: David Murphy
The only downside to this little trick is that you have to tap your iPhone to save or discard the document scan. Select the former and it will automatically appear in the Mac app you are using – it’s that simple.
In a perfect world, you can save or discard the photo right from your Mac. And maybe one day this option will appear. Until then, the Continuity Camera isn’t perfect for scanning documents, but it does make the whole process a lot more convenient. This is even more true when you have a number of documents that you want to scan in one setting. You still need to tap your phone a little, but at least it’s much faster than uploading your recordings to iCloud, waiting, downloading it to your Mac, and positioning it in the document you were working on.
Me? I just save them all in one folder as Continuity Camera works right out of the Finder too. As an added bonus, anything you scan with your iPhone is automatically converted to a PDF file.