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Scan Paper Document to PDF with iPhone Notes and Send to Laptop via Local Network

Published 2021-05-02 16:37

So you need to scan a signed paper đź“Ž document, sling it over the home wifi to your partner's laptop because they have to upload it to a web portal with a session that's about to expire and if your mission fails they might have to restart that unblock popups, life-draining process all over again.

Just like MacGyver in 1985, you only have an iPhone Notes app and some bubblegum, and perhaps a time machine.

Here's what you do.

Hop in that time machine to go back and first install an open source python application called Airshare:

Airshare Logo

You have to make and transfer a PDF. This is for the transfer part.

The receiving laptop can be Windows, Linux, BSD, OS X—whatever can run python.

It's certainly not the only way to to send files over your home network, so if you already have a working local transfer solution you can skip the time travel.

Now, unholster that iPhone from your comfort-fit jeans and let's rattle down screenshot alley:

Notes Scan Document
Long-press the Notes app icon > Tap Scan Document.
Normal tap opens Notes app, while long-press pops up this menu. Really? Yes. Not long ago I was as surprised as you are right now.

Camera Snaps
Raise phone directly above first page sitting on flat surface
and hold steady—DON'T tap on the screen—the scanner will automatically find the edges of your page, crop out the surroundings and take the snap if you give it a few moments. You are not Luke, so let the targeting computer do the work.

Raise phone higher if the whole sheet of paper isn't visible in the camera view; the camera needs to see the page and some margin around it.

When it snaps the scan, a tiny thumbnail of the page will appear in the lower left.

Now repeat above for each page of your document.

Finally, tap Save in lower right to make these scans into one PDF.
Oh yikes, my finger tried to photo bomb, but that's ok it got cropped out of the scan—technology!

Scan Long Press
Now you should be looking at a new note in Notes app with the PDF embedded there. Long-press the PDF to popup a menu.

Scan Share
Tap Share.

Save to Files
Tap Save to Files.

On My Phone
Choose On My Phone and tap Save in upper right.

Airshare Upload
ALMOST DONE!  You can leave the Notes app now, disregarding the embedded PDF note since you've got the PDF by itself in your "Files" now.

Time to open up a web browser (Mobile Safari, Firefox, etc).

Go to the local IP address of the laptop running the Airshare application (bookmark this or add to homescreen for next time).

Tap drop files here or click to upload Airshare web page button.
I recommend putting the laptop on a predictable IP address (set static IP or via DHCP Reservation configuration in your router is nice). Anyway, Airshare provides a QR code to point your phone camera at, in a command-line window mind you, to conveniently open the current IP of the laptop and the port on which Airshare is being served.

Airshare Browse Files

Tap Browse.

Airshare On My Phone
Tap On My Phone > Tap the PDF file.

Watch the animated circle fill up as it uploads and BOOM, the PDF scan is transfered to a designated laptop folder based on your Airshare setup.

Good luck with that portal session, DeLorean road trips, and not using the Force.

We'll see you next time.