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!

Wonder How To: Scan Old Photos With iPhone (Review), the show-and-tell channel for tech how-to videos, checks out Pic Scanner – and recommends it for scanning old printed photos.

If you didn’t already know, Pic Scanner is the world’s only mobile app that lets you batch-scan photos – up to four at a time! Crops them automatically, and saves them individually – all with one tap on your iPhone!


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 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.)

Making your family tree

I sometimes wonder whether the idea of family trees comes from us descending from apes descending from trees. Luckily, most family trees go back only a few generations, and making those is hard enough. The longest family tree in the world, according to Wikipedia, is that of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551–479 BC), a descendant of King Tang (1675–1646 BC). This tree spans some 80 generations, and includes more than 2 million members.

If you haven’t ever made your family tree, try it. It’s a lot of fun. Start with your siblings, parents and grandparents’ names, birth, marriage and death dates.

It gets harder as you progress to older generations. Older relatives may have information about ancestors. See if anyone else had made a family tree earlier, and collaborate. Online resources such as Ancestry, FamilySearch, RootsChat, MyHeritage, FindMyPast and census records contain valuable clues. Parish records and obituaries also offer reliable information. Marriages, divorces, remarriages and adoptions add complexity in family trees.

Once you have the basic outline going back a few generations, comes the fun part. Use one of the many online family tree maker tools to convert your data into a graphical representation. Share it with relatives, asking them to add other details and chip in with photographs. Set up a family photos folder on Flickr, Picasa, Dropbox or any such website, where family members can share scanned photos. Scanning old photos is incredibly easy and fast with Pic Scanner app for iPhone and iPad. Digitizing not only helps preserve those one-of-a-kind, heirloom photos, it also makes them shareable.

After scanning, you may want to give all the photos a uniform look. This is done easily by using filters. Pic Scanner has a small but useful set of retro-themed filters: B&W, sepia, montage, vignette etc. Also, crop, adjust sizes and aspect ratios if you wish – then print.

What do you do once you have your family tree and a folder full of scanned, sharable photos?

If you want to make a pictorial family tree wall, the easy way is to buy a self-adhesive tree (or branches and leaves) decal. Search on Amazon and Etsy – both offer plenty of designs.

You could also make family history books, personalized greeting cards for special occasions, family tree posters. Or try craft projects and activities for family gatherings (Our Facebook and Pinterest pages have lots of ideas and tutorials.)

Here’s an example of something you could make quite easily:


And here’s a century-old example of a family tree gone nuts:



Pic Scanner on Facebook


So how many kings does it take to bury one? The answer (and the pic that raised the question) appeared on our Facebook page a couple of years ago. Do check it out – we post loads of interesting stuff – scanning tips and tricks, photo crafts ideas and tutorials, quirky things we have scanned, old (and not so old) photographs, and other fun stuff.

‘Like’ our Facebook page to receive a weekly dose of historic photos and creative inspiration.

A recent post from our Facebook page:

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!

Pic Scanner – Because Memories Are Precious


You know what is the “normal” way to scan old photographs?

Remove from albums, run through flatbed scanner, transfer to computer, then crop and edit one at a time.

Insane. Only for seasoned masochists.

So we have created Pic Scanner. It can scan, crop and save 3-4 photos with a couple of quick taps on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. A bit smarter, don’t you think?

Pic Scanner also lets you do other cool things with your photos, but we’ll let you discover those yourself. Go ahead and download it, it’s completely free to try!

Since Pic Scanner’s soft launch in June, we have got a lot of feedback from users and reviewers. It will help make the next version of the app even better. Our goal is to make Pic Scanner the best mobile app for scanning photos, and we value your ongoing support and feedback.

This blog will provide tips on using Pic Scanner, troubleshooting, updates on planned features, and also a forum for you to ask questions and offer suggestions.

We would love to hear what else you would like to see in Pic Scanner and in this blog, so please do write in. It would be awesome if you can post some of the photos you have scanned with Pic Scanner and are happy to share with the world. Enjoy.

Team Pic Scanner