TurboScan iPhone Document Scanning App

TurboScanIn the spring, I did a comparison of iPhone scanning apps. Of course, it wasn’t possible to cover every app, so I am going to look at one more today: TurboScan.

I found out about TurboScan from Patrick Rhone over at Minimal Mac.

If I was smart, I would have kept the same paper documents that I used in my former iPhone post, but unfortunately I am not that organized. However, I will do the same thing: test out TurboScan with a color magazine article, a single black & white document, and a notebook sketch.


Since quality is subjective, I will upload some sample PDFs.

All in all, I am really pleased with TurboScan’s quality. I am sure I could get even better results with better light and more fiddling, neither of which I tried for.

Adjustment Tools

You might be wondering what that SureScan thing I mentioned above is.

TurboScan select method
TurboScan select method

When you go to scan a document, you can choose to either take a picture with your camera, import an image from your library, or use “SureScan”.

TurboScan SureScan
TurboScan SureScan

SureScan is TurboScan’s proprietary mode, where you take three images of the same document and then it does some backend magic to make the best possible scan. Obviously this slows you down, but if you are going for quality vs. convenience, it is a nice feature.

TurboScan Adjust Corners
TurboScan Adjust Corners

Another nice touch is the split-screen mode when selecting the corners of the document. It actually does a good job of detecting the corners automatically, but if you need to do some fine adjustment, the split view makes it easy to get it right.

TurboScan Shading
TurboScan Shading

An incredibly nice UI decision is to put the brightness[2] settings as boxes under the image post-scan. It lets you quickly make the image lighter or darker without messing around with a settings pane. You can also quickly tap the bottom right corner to change it between black & white, color, and photo mode.

I love this feature, and I find myself adjusting scan quality way more than I ever did with other apps.

Export Options

TurboScan can email a PDF or JPG, or open it up in another app that is registered as a PDF viewer.

TurboScan Export Options
TurboScan Export Options

It doesn’t have the cloud export features that some other apps do, but for myself that isn’t a problem. I usually use Open In and open it in the Dropbox or Evernote apps. One thing that pops to mind that may be a problem is if you use Google Docs. I am not sure how you’d upload it then.

One nice touch is the Email to myself option. You can pre-populate your email address (or an address for a cloud service like Evernote), attachment options, subject and body text, and even a label to use as a tag for emailing in to Evernote. Great feature.

Wrap Up

TurboScan is quickly becoming my favorite iPhone scanning app. It is $1.99 at the time of this writing, so you will need to decide for yourself if that is worth it to you.

Do you scan documents with your iPhone, Android, or Windows 7 Phone?[3] Which is your go-to app?

  1. If you’re curious, that is the very first sketch of the very first version of DocumentSnap.com.  ↩

  2. Or is it contrast? I never know the difference.  ↩

  3. Er, should that be “Windows 7 Phone phone”?  ↩

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5 Responses to “TurboScan iPhone Document Scanning App”

  1. scot November 7, 2012 at 3:18 am #

    I used to carry a portable snapscan which was very good but now I just use the turbo scan app. quicker, cleaner and better. I still use the snapscan in the office and wouldn't trade it for any other scanner.

    • BrooksD November 7, 2012 at 4:28 am #

      Cool, thanks scot.

  2. Freya November 26, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    Does this support all ios devices?

    • BrooksD November 26, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

      I believe it runs on them all, but some of the older ones don't have good enough cameras for the actual scanning part. More here. http://turboscanapp.com/

  3. Rick Brown January 11, 2015 at 11:12 am #

    I bought this app hoping to merge my many reciepts onto one PDF page or just a few pages. Each time I recieve a receipt I thought I could take a picture of the reciept and the next time I get a receipt I add it to the same page and so on till I fill the page with receipts and then move on to the next page.

    Was I naive or is there a way to do this with Turbo Scan.

    Also for some reason I don’t have SureScan 3x. Not sure I really need but it would be good to have just in case.

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