Scanning with Notes - no OCR?

I was sitting outside reading a book and wanted a page for reference. I remembered Notes now allows scanning, so I took a couple of snaps (which was very cool as it automatically sized and took the picture, and arranged them in one note)

But I can’t search for text in either the phone or the resulting PDF if I email it to myself. I thought it was supposed to OCR, and it indeed picks up enough of the beginning of the text to title the note correctly.

As a side note, my Sierra machine won’t even show it in Notes as the feature is too new, and I haven’t used Notes in Monterey yet. When I tried to open Monterey Notes I got stuck on the “want Notifications” screen which only gave me one option - yes - and now won’t even let me force quit.


I hope some folks chime in here. I don’t have anything to offer at the moment, but the topic seems worthy as I’m starting to learn the scan feature myself. I’ve had lots of success with OCR in DEVONthink but I’d like a one-stop shop if Notes was up to it.

I’ve been using OCR with DevonThink with amazing success, but for this particular piece I didn’t really need to store it and using Notes seemed like a good alternative since I wasn’t near my scanner.

There are times I’m out in the field and I use the phone to take pictures, and OCR would be great in those cases.

My iOS is up to date (iPhone 13 Mini)


FWIW, the Files app also allows scanning directly rather than using Notes. If it’s an iPhone, tap the control with three dots to the top-right (I don’t have my iPad with me but I assume it’s similar on iPadOS.)

I just checked a few files I scanned directly and if there is readable text, it can be selected.

But perhaps a better way is to do a screen-shot and use the Photos Live Text featured to see if that can extract text better.

Indeed, Notes isn’t needed to scan. If you just type scan into the iPhone’s search, you’re done (scan option courtesy of Files app).

Ok I’ve seen that before, but can I take pictures of a few pages and have them saved as one pdf?


Yes. By default it goes into an automatic mode where it keeps taking scans and creating multiple page PDFs until you press the button to save it.