Thanks to the quality and convenience of smartphone cameras most photos taken these days will spend their lives existing primarily in digital formats. Of course it wasn't always this way, and there's a good chance that somewhere in your house is a dusty shoebox filled with photographs from several years ago. Well, drag them out, put on the kettle and set aside a little time, because Google's PhotoScan app makes it easy to capture those paper memories and add them to your modern collection.

Download the App

The first thing you'll need to do is head over to the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store and download the PhotoScan app. It's free and only requires a Google account to use as it stores all your scanned images on the Google Photos service.

how to scan photos on phone

Scan your first photo

When you initially launch the app you'll see a short, repeating animation that illustrates how to use PhotoScan. Essentially you take four pictures of each photograph, moving in turn to the corners as guided by the app. PhotoScan then creates a composite image of your old pic. Tap the Start Scanning button at the bottom of the screen to begin.

how to scan photos on phone

PhotoScan will now ask for permission to access your camera so it can take photos of videos, allow this and you'll be ready to scan your first photo.

The interface is very simple, comprising of just the shutter, flash, and info buttons. To scan your photo ensure that the whole image is on your screen then tap the shutter button.

how to scan photos on phone

Next you'll see four large dots appear and a large empty circle that moves as you tilt the camera. Position the circle over each dot until it disappears, then move onto the next one. When all four are gone your photo has been scanned.

how to scan photos on phone

Next to the shutter button you'll now see a small version of your photo. Tap on this and you'll be taken to the edit screen where you can adjust the corners to crop or expand the image, rotate it so that you have the correct orientation for when you save it to the cloud, or delete if you want to try again. 

how to scan photos on phone

When you're happy with the results tap the back arrow in the top left hand corner and you'll be taken to another page that shows the images you've scanned. If they're all good then tap the Save All option at the top of the screen, or you can tap the three dots in the upper right corner, choose Select, tap the images you want, then tap Save.

how to scan photos on phone

PhotoScan will store the image on your device and allow you to access it through the Google Photos app. The best part about this is that when you open Google Photos you'll see that the scanned image is then synced to the cloud, so your old photo is now a part of your digital collection.

So all that remains is for you to go through your old pics and maybe relive a few happy memories as you back them up.