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Did you know you can use your iPhone as a scanner for your Mac? Here’s how

I still can’t believe this has been available since macOS Mojave and iOS 12 and I’ve never used it before

macos continuity camera shown on macbook and iphone
Image: KnowTechie

It’s time for a knowledge bomb; because this underutilized feature that comes baked into macOS, iOS and iPadOS is too darn useful. Did you know you could use your iPhone as a document scanner, or to bring images directly into your documents on macOS?

It’s called Continuity Camera, and I only found out about it today thanks to an off-hand tweet from Owen Willams, Shopify’s UX Manager. It’s ridiculously good if you often need to bring images into your Mac documents, and it’s such a simple process.

Below, we’ll show you how you can take advantage of this feature that has been around since macOS Mojave and iOS 12.

Continuity Camera is the Apple feature you didn’t know you needed

Here’s how to use Continuity Camera:

  1. Open any supported application on your Mac. That includes Finder, Notes, Keynote, Numbers, Mail, Pages, Messages, and TextEdit.

  2. Control-click in the document you want the image to appear. Then find Import from iPhone or Ipad > Take Photo in the menu that appears.continuity camera on macos

  3. Pick up your iPhone or iPad, snap a photo then tap on Use Photo (this will be a prompt that happens when using this method)

  4. The photo will automatically appear inside the document you were editing on your Mac.

  5. You can also scan documents to PDF, using the Scan Documents option from the earlier menu

  6. When you get to the scanning step, your iPhone or iPad will automatically scan the page when you point your camera at it. Keep scanning all the pages you want to add, then tap on Keep Scan on your device’s touchscreen.

If Continuity Camera isn’t working for you, Make sure you’re signed in to the same Apple ID on all of your devices and check your devices are on the same WiFi network. From there, make sure Bluetooth is enabled on both devices and check for any device updates, as you have to at least be on macOS Mojave and iOS/iPadOS 12.

Neat trick, right? No more waiting for iCloud Photos to sync, no more fiddling with AirDrop settings, and no more scanning documents with third-party apps like Dropbox just so you can edit them on your Mac.

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