iOS OCR apps

Collecting photos into Day One

As part of my daily journaling practice I like to collect photos from Messages I have received from the family during the day. For example, today I got a photo of the new member of the family, the son of Tamsin my niece. He’s going to be called Kenzo. The picture came to me through the application Whats App. It’s quite easy to press and hold on the picture and get to the dialogue where are you can choose to save the image. The images are saved to the Photo App. I did this on my iPhone and I also have a messages application which lets me look at What’s App messages on my iPad. Same thing with that application, the pictures go in the Photos app where I can use them. Now to go deeper with iOS OCR apps

Using iOS OCR apps to take it a stage further

I wanted to get a record of the messages of the conversation about the baby’s name I’d had with my mother. Looking for iOS OCR apps. So I had to try and remember which application I had to do OCR. At first I thought it was the PDF application I have, PDF Expert. It was not that one, so I had to go and look again, maybe one of the scanner applications was what I was looking for. I wondered if it was the Scanner Pro I use to turn all bits of paper into digital bits. I don’t like keeping paper around – Prefer being paperless. While I was looking for that the PDF Pen Scan+ app came into my field of view and it had OCR in the icon for it. So I opened it up and gave it a try. Turns out that Scanner Pro by Readdle will also do OCR.

Using Scan + from Smile Software

iOS OCR Apps
I opened the app and it’s a really simple interface. I imported the image which I got as a screen capture and cropped in Photos app. All you have to do is to hit the OCR button, wait a while and watch it as it does its job. I got mixed results because a part of the text was reversed – white text on a blue background. The app didn’t catch any of that text. The rest of the text worked well and I didn’t have to make too many alterations to fix the OCR.

So I went back to the photos app and converted the picture to mono, black and white. Scan+ did a better job and a large portion of the text it missed before got OCR’ed. This would not be good enough to do a large job of text but for what I wanted it was OK. There is a button in the top right corner – OCR and it gives you a choice to copy the text of the image. One Click and I had all of it on the clipboard. Good result for iOS OCR apps!

Using Scanner Pro for the OCR

I used the same image which I’d converted to black and white and imported it into Scanner Pro easily. It is a more professional looking interface.The OCR works fast and it seemed to do a better job. One problem is that it takes it section by section. I wanted to select all of the text and paste it elsewhere same as I did in Scan + but it has to be selected bit by bit. Not so good for the text I was using. It would be tedious to collect all of it to use elsewhere. So it kind of worked, but had limitations. One section of the text was accurately scanned but it forgot to put spaces in between the words. You have a button at the top allowing you to switch between the image and the text. I looked in the settings and all you can do is to change the language of the text being scanned.

There are tools in the app to crop the image and to alter the contrast and lighting of the image. It will even find the edges of the document automatically if you have a shot of a piece of paper on a dark background. That works great when you are doing the paperless thing.

Which app will I use to perform this task in the future?

Which is the best of the iOS OCR apps? Neither app is perfect but the Scan+ app came out slightly on top. The ability to copy all of the text in one go gives it the edge. I need to test it some more with different types of text. I think if I was scanning a full page of black text on a white page either app would be good for the job.