How to Share & Save Originals

“How to share & save photos from Originals to Cropped screen?”

“Is there any way to export the Originals that I scanned?”

“Why can’t I send the originals?”

“There is no button to transfer Original photos.”


Ever since we created Pic Scanner in 2013, users have been clamoring for this feature.

Well, we heard ya!!

In version 4.0 of Pic Scanner, we have added the ability for you to move one, multiple or all un-cropped photos from Originals to Cropped gallery. Once you do this, you can share & save them to Photos (Camera Roll), upload to Dropbox, Facebook etc., or add to Albums. In other words, do pretty much whatever you can with Cropped photos.

Go to Originals screen, tap Select button on top left, then touch the thumbnails of all the photos you’d like to move. They’ll get check marked. Now tap the ‘Move’ button on bottom left, and select ‘Move to Cropped Photos”. Done! It’s as easy as that.

We should, however, mention, that if you are having to move a lot of photos from originals to Cropped screen, you are not scanning the right way. You are probably holding the camera too close to the pictures being scanned. The correct way to scan is to make sure that not only are the photos fully visible, a bit of the background is also visible all round. This will ensure that the photos are auto-cropped correctly, and saved on Cropped screen – eliminating the need to move photos from Originals to Cropped screen.


How to archive scanned photos in iCloud


Why archive scanned photos?

Scanning makes photos portable and shareable, but it’s only the first step in preserving them. The next, and very important step, is to back them up. iCloud is a great place to archive scanned photos. It will keep your photos safe if your iPhone or iPad is lost or damaged, or you accidentally delete the photos from your device.

It is also important to note that photos saved on Pic Scanner’s Cropped and Originals screens, and in the app’s albums, are stored within the app and on the device. They are not transferred to an external computer or Dropbox, until you yourself do it. While this gives you full control over your photos and privacy, it also means that making a backup – whether on your computer, an external hard drive, or your preferred cloud service – is vital.

Clean up

Once you’ve archived the photos, keep only your extra-special photos on your device (whether in Pic Scanner’s albums or in Photos), and delete the rest. You should also periodically delete the unneeded “Originals”. This will free up space on your iPhone or iPad.

1. Saving photos on your computer or in iCloud

The most convenient way to export photos from Pic Scanner is to save to Photos app. Since this is a “local” transfer (i.e. on your device itself), it’s fast. And if you have Photostream/iCloud set up, the photos will also automatically sync to your computer and iCloud. For an orderly transfer, limit the batch size to 15-20 photos at a time. Mobile devices such as iPhone and iPad have limited processing power and RAM, and trying to transfer 30-40 full resolution photos at a time may cause your device to stop responding, or abort the transfer.

You can also archive photos in Dropbox, but since this involves uploading over the internet, it can time time. Also, to avoid getting stuck, you should only upload small batches of 6-8 photos at a time. This can be inconvenient if you need to save a very large number of pictures.

2. Backing up Pic Scanner Data

This is different from the above manual method, in that (a) it happens automatically when you back-up your iPhone or iPad to iTunes or iCloud (b) it backs up cropped and original photos, their thumbnails, albums details as well as captions – in other words, everything you need to restore Pic Scanner on your device if the need arises. However, this will only save data as of the last time you backed up the data to iTunes or iCloud. Any photos that had been deleted from Pic Scanner before the last backup time will not be available for restoring.

To restore photos from backup, first download Pic Scanner (free) from the App Store. This will be the trial version, so first you need to restore your unlimited scanning privileges (Assuming you had the unlimited version of Pic Scanner before). Launch Pic Scanner, tap Menu > Buy unlimited > Restore purchase. You will be upgraded to the unlimited version. It won’t yet have the old photos, so the next step is to restore them.

Connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer with USB cable. In iTunes, select your device, and click on Summary tab underneath. In the right pane, look for Backups, and click Restore backup. You may be prompted to turn off Find My iPhone/iPad, then just follow the on-screen commands to restore your device.

Have questions? Email us!

Automatic Cropping With Pic Scanner – Get it Right

Automatic cropping is the key effort-saving feature of Pic Scanner app, but what if your photos are split in random places or look skewed? You could re-scan, but the tips below will help you get accurate results every time (Hint: Many users get #4 wrong):

(Note: These tip apply to both apps – Pic Scanner and Pic Scanner Gold).

1) Use plain background:

Lay photos on a plain white or single color surface. Multi-color background won’t work well. In the pictures below, #1 may lead to wrong cropping, while #2 and #3 are fine:

2) Mind the gap between photos:

When scanning multiple photos together, keep a 1/2-inch i.e. 1-2 cm gap between them. If pictures are too close together, the app won’t recognize them as separate images. In the screen shots below, #1 is wrong, #2 is fine:

If your photos are in albums, you can scan an entire page at a time – again, provided that there is a gap between the photos. See examples below – what’s OK and what isn’t:


3) Ensure contrast between photos and background:

It helps to have some color difference between the photos’ edges and the background. So, for example, to scan a snow scene, place it on black or another solid color background (Not white).


4) Keep photos fully visible:

This is the most important tip: In your scan, a bit of the background surface must be visible all round the photos. If any photos reaches the edge of the viewfinder frame or extends beyond it, cropping will be wrong.

Below, #1 is wrong (Left and bottom edges touching the viewfinder’s edge), #2 is good. Note that #3 is also correct, but here the camera is held too far away  from the photo, and will result in lower resolution scan.

scan photos app

How to scan and how not to scan photos

5) Avoiding perspective distortion:

If scans are skewed or distorted, you need to hold the camera centered above the photos and level with them. Pic Scanner has built-in automatic perspective correction, but try to avoid holding the camera off-center or at an angle to the photos. In the illustration below, the photo on the left doesn’t look rectangular because the camera is tilted. Usually our apps will correct for this, but in some cases you may end up with distorted or wrongly cropped results.


6) Long and narrow photos

Photos with (Length > More than 2.5 times width) may not be cropped correctly. These can be cropped manually from Originals screen.

7) Special situations:

There is one more situation where automatic cropping may go wrong. See the photo below:


Pic Scanner intelligently guesses where a photo’s edges lie. But if a photo contains prominent straight lines, these can be mistaken for edges. Below, we have highlighted these edges in yellow:


If cropping is wrong (or a photo is missed out), you can crop manually from the Originals screen (Tap Original thumbnail > Trim > Adjust size and position of the cropping rectangle > Crop. The photo will be saved on Cropped screen.

Some users ask if they can turn off automatic cropping or share originals. Automatic cropping is a real effort-saver, and by following the above guidelines, you won’t need to crop manually. However, you can also transfer Originals to Cropped screen, and then share them. This is how:

On Originals screen, tap Select. Tap one or more photos to select them. They will get check marked. Tap Move, then Move to Cropped.


A bit more on scanning album pages: If the photos in your albums are too close together (but not touching each other), you can still auto-crop them. Even 6-8 mm gap is enough for the app to recognize them as separate photos. Just scan one or two photos at a time instead of the entire page, by holding the camera closer to the page (See below: Scanning 2 photos at a time). With a bit of trial and error, auto-cropping will work.






If your photos were cropped wrong and you can’t figure out why, just send us the cropped and original photos. We will analyze and guide you on what to do.

Scan Resolution: How to get high-resolution scans

When using Pic Scanner or Pic Scanner Gold, the scan resolution can vary depending on how you do it. Here are a few easy scanning tips for getting high-quality scans:

(Although the screen shots below are from Pic Scanner, these tips also apply to Pic Scanner Gold).

To begin with, know that iPhone 6s/7/8/X and iPad Pro have 12 MP cameras, iPhone 5/6 and iPad Air 2 have 8 MP, and older models only have 5 MP or less. Scan resolution will obviously depend on the iPhone/iPad model and camera.

If you own an iPhone as well as iPad, scan with iPhone. An iPhone generally has a better camera than a similar-vintage iPad. iPad is bulkier, making it harder to hold steady and avoid camera shake. Some users also find it less intuitive to center an iPad over photos. If you have bought our app on e.g. iPad, you can also download it on iPhone without paying again.

1) Use High Resolution mode:

For Pic Scanner Gold users: Tap Menu > Info & Settings > Quality Control, and ensure that High Resolution mode is set to ON.

2) Scan 1-2 photos at a time:

Our apps speed up scanning by letting you scan multiple photos simultaneously. The examples below show how to scan two or four photos:

1Scan2         4photos

Scanning four at a time is obviously faster than scanning two, but it halves the scan resolution. The more photos you squeeze into each scan, the fewer pixels you’ll get in each cropped photo. So if you plan to archive or make reprints, scan one or two photos at a time. For quick sharing on Facebook, scanning 3-4 may be OK.

Of course, if you have a newer iPhone or iPad with 12 MP camera, scans will be great even when you scan four at a time!

3) Ensure good lighting:

iPhone and iPad cameras aren’t so great in low-light conditions. Photos taken in poor light may, therefore, look dull and grainy. That’s why we suggest scanning in daytime.

sharp         grainy

Can you tell which of the above scans was done by daylight and which in poor light? (So if you’ve just downloaded the app and it’s nighttime, now isn’t the ideal time to put it to test;)!

Scan near a window to get indirect light and no glare. Scanning under electric light is OK, but it makes it harder to capture colors faithfully (They’ll look different depending on whether you use yellow light or fluorescent white light), and also causes glare and reflections.

More than anything else, the scan resolution depends on HOW you scan.

4) Camera distance:

When you scan with iPhone or iPad, the captured image contains your photos and some (white or plain) background. Pic Scanner detects, crops out and saves the photos and discards the background. This is how auto-cropping works.

Now let’s see three examples that illustrate right and wrong ways to scan:

Background OK     Camera too far     Camera too close

In photo #2, the camera is too far. Too much background; too little photo. So, while cropping will be correct, most of your megapixels will be discarded and you’ll get a low resolution scan. Conversely, if the camera is too close and the photo extends beyond the scanner frame (Photo #3), photo will be cropped inaccurately. Photo #1 is the correct way to scan.

5) Arranging photos:

When scanning photos, arrange them as shown below so as to minimize the white background:

Orientation not OK     image[6]     Wrong way     Correct gap

In the above examples, #1 and #3 contain too much white space and will result in lower resolution scans. Examples #2 and #4 minimize white space, and are better.

6) Tap to focus:

After positioning the camera over the photos, tap the screen ONCE to focus it. Tap the scanner shutter only after the picture is focused well.

For tips on how to get accurate cropping, click here. More tips on other topics in our 5-Minute Guide. Experiment until it looks good, then scan away!

Creating Albums and Organizing Photos

With Pic Scanner, it is easy to organize scanned photos in albums. Here’s how:

1) Scanned photos are saved in Cropped gallery. This screen is accessed by tapping the thumbnail on top left of Camera screen.


2) To Create New Album:

  • Tap Albums (button on bottom left)
  • Tap Create new album
  • Type in new album’s name > Save

You will see the Albums screen, with the album you just created (As yet empty.)


3) To Add Photos to New Album

  • On Albums screen, tap the album
  • Tap Add Photos > Tap Cropped
  • Select photos (Tap thumbnails)
  • Tap Done

The photos will appear in the Cropped gallery as well as the album.

If you wish, you can add the same photo to multiple albums.

Deleting a photo from an album only deletes it from that album. Deleting it from Cropped gallery deletes it from all albums.

4) To Add Photos to Existing Album

  • On Albums screen, tap the album
  • Tap Edit > Add > Cropped
  • Select photos (Tap thumbnails)
  • Tap Done

How to Adjust Aspect Ratio of Scanned Photos

Here’s an interesting question we received from one of our users:

I am trying to scan a photo for my passport online application. There are specifics require e.g. size, type, dimension and aspect ratio. What to do?

Now that’s a novel use for our app!
Well, most online forms will accept photos of 3MP of smaller size in in JPG (also called JPEG) type or format. Scans made with Pic Scanner comply with these two requirements.
To adjust the aspect ratio, do the following:
1) Save photo to Camera Roll: Tap thumbnail on Cropped screen > tap Share > tap Camera Roll

2) Launch Photos app on iPhone > Tap your photo > Tap Edit in top right corner

3) In bottom navigation bar, tap Crop icon > Tap Aspect button (To the right of Reset – looks like white rectangles)

4) List of aspect ratios pops up. Choose the one you need > Resize as needed > Done

5) Upload it to the application form!

How to share photos?

Some users seem to have trouble locating the “Action” or “Share” button for sending scanned photos to Camera Roll, Dropbox, Facebook, email etc.

This button (square with an arrow pointing up) appears only after you have scanned one or more photos, and then selected at least one photo for sharing.

Cropped photos are saved on ‘Cropped’ screen, and the un-cropped original scans on ‘Originals’ screen. To share cropped photos, start on the ‘Cropped’ screen, which shows thumbnails of scanned photos.

1) To select and share multiple photos:


On ‘Cropped’ screen, tap Select > Tap thumbnails of the photos to be shared (One or more) > They get check marked, and Sharing icon appears at bottom center > Tap it to see the sharing options

2) To share a single selected photo:


Note also that Originals are not meant to be shared. They are saved only to allow manually cropping if auto-cropping does not work correctly. As such, if you tap ‘Select’ on top left of ‘Originals’ screen and then check-mark the thumbnails, Action button will not show. The two options on this screen are: (a) manual cropping (Tap thumbnail > Tap ‘Trim’ > Crop > Photo is saved on ‘Cropped’ screen > Share) or deleting one/multiple photos (tap ‘Select’ > check-mark photo(s) to be deleted > Tap Delete).

Some users have reported isolated instances of “Action” or “Share” button disappearing, or not showing on the screen at all. This can happen on old devices, such as iPhone 4s, due to memory shortfall. The missing button reappears if user exits all open apps including Pic Scanner (from multi-tasking tray), then reboots (by holding down Power and Home buttons together until the Apple logo reappears.)

Pic Scanner on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter

Pic Scanner is now also on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.


Find us on Pinterest at, Facebook at and Twitter at @PicScanner. Follow us for tips and tricks on using Pic Scanner, and also much more on the theme of fun with retro photographs, posters and other scannables.

The Trouble With Old Photos

The trouble with old photographs is that often they are one of a kind. Negatives have long been lost, and your personal history would be lost forever should anything happen to the photos.

“What can happen?”

Light, damp, fire, spills, smudges, stains, crayon wielding offspring. These are just a few of the many potential destroyers of your heirloom photos.


“I’ll get down to it someday.”

Remember what happened to the dinosaurs?

2 dino

“I don’t have the time. And I’m NOT sending them to a scanning service.”

You don’t have to spend the rest of your life hunched over a scanner or computer digitizing photos. In a “30 minute challenge” last weekend, we scanned and cropped 106 photos with Pic Scanner. It was fast, and it was fun. Check it out at

Just do it!