How to scan documents on a Mac with Continuity Camera

How to scan documents on a Mac with Continuity Camera

Apple’s Silicon-powered MacBooks are certainly among the best laptops you can get. The M chips handle most intensive tasks with ease. Given that Apple makes both the hardware and the macOS software, the optimization is top-notch. In fact, the software alone is a big reason why a lot of consumers opt for a Mac over a Windows PC. You may have heard a lot of chatter around the Apple ecosystem. That’s especially common among tech enthusiasts or those who use a host of Apple devices. The closely-knit integration that the comapny has achieved through its software trickery makes things a lot more convenient for the end-user. Be it AirDrop for quickly sharing files, HandOff to answer your calls from your Mac, or Continuity that lets you use multiple Apple devices to complete a task. One of the more interesting features that belong to this list is the Continuity Camera.


What is Continuity Camera?

Continuity Camera Prompt

Continuity Camera allows you to use the camera on any of your iDevices to capture an image. So whether you’re an iPhone user running iOS or an iPad one running iPadOS, this will work. Grab a document that you want to scan. You can then either save it as a file on your Mac or attach it directly to an email, iMessage, or a note. In order to use Continuity Camera, you’ll need a Mac (of course) and an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. The Continuity Camera is ideal for those who don’t want to buy or use a dedicated scanner.

Basic Requirements

Before we begin, there are a few pre-requisites that you need to check for:

  1. Your Mac should be running on macOS Mojave or later.
  2. The iPhone/iPad you plan to use to scan the documents should be running iOS 12 or later.
  3. Connect both the Mac and the iPhone/iPad to the same Wi-Fi network and turn on Bluetooth on both devices.
  4. Lastly, both the Mac and iPhone/iPad should be logged in with the same Apple ID.

Once you’ve made sure that your devices satisfy these conditions, we can move on to the process of using Continuity Camera on your Mac.

How to scan documents on a Mac using Continuity Camera

You can use the Continuity Camera in a host of apps like Finder, Notes, Mail, Messages, and even in third-party apps like the Microsoft Office Suite. The steps to use the feature in all of these apps are the same.

  • Open the app where you want to use Continuity Camera to scan a document on your Mac.
  • Right-click or Control-click within the text field of the app or in the window where you want the scanned document to be added. This brings up the contextual menu.

Contextual Menu for control-click

  • Next, look for the Import from iPhone/iPad option depending on what device(s) you have, and hover your cursor over it. Select the Scan Documents option. Doing so should instantly open the camera viewfinder on your iPhone iPad. This option is visible under Your iPhone in some apps.

Import from iPhone Menu

  • Place the document you wish to scan in front of your iPhone/iPad. The viewfinder will automatically detect documents and scan them by cropping out the surrounding area.
  • Looking to scan the document manually or your device is unable to detect the document? You can frame the document as per your liking and hit the Shutter button to complete the scan.

Continuity Camera UI on iPhone

  • You can scan multiple pages/documents one after the other. Select Save once you’re done scanning all the required documents. Your scanned documents will now appear on your Mac as a PDF file.

Scanned Document Attached

Alternative Uses

In case you wish to use Continuity Camera with an app that does not support the feature, for example on Google Chrome, you can Control-click on a Finder window and fire up the scanner. Your scanned document will be saved as a PDF file in the same directory where you launched the scanner inside Finder. You can then attach or upload the PDF file wherever required.

Continuity Camera in Finder

If you don’t necessarily have a document to scan and just want to add a photo, you can choose to do that by selecting the Take Photo option in the contextual menu instead of selecting Scan Document. Alternatively, you can also choose to add a sketch via your iPhone/iPad. If you happen to have both a good iPhone and a good iPad, we would suggest you use your iPhone to scan your documents since the primary camera on the iPhone produces better pictures when compared to the one on the iPad.

Other uses of Continuity Camera

Continuity Camera is one of the simplest ways to scan and attach documents on your Mac without having to use any additional accessories for your Mac or iPhone. The cameras on newer iPhones are now very capable. As a result, the quality of the scans shouldn’t be an issue either if you have adequate sources of light. This is just one of the few examples of how Apple devices can communicate with each other. The result is them seamlessly helping make your workflow more convenient.

About author

Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging with his dogs at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. He can be reached on Twitter @Mahmoudzitani or via [email protected]

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