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Why you should stop taking photos of documents (and receipts)

2 minutes read

Last year I started renovating my apartment, I had to buy a lot of stuff and I wanted to document every purchase and keep a digital copy of all the receipts. One way I could do that would be by taking a photo of all the receipts whenever I made a new purchase, however, that would just end up accumulating a lot of unnecessary space on my device(s).

A photo-copy, from your phone is usually 10x larger than it needs to be. Do you really need a copy of your recent receipt that has a resolution of 3024x4032 px? If the photo is not compressed it could end up taking up toward 5 MB, and that is waaaaay to big. It's a waste of space, and it could make indexing the receipt more difficult.

Nowadays modern phones, both Android and iPhones comes with a document scanner built-in. On iPhone (which I use) you can scan documents via the Files-app, and it works great! It detects the document and makes a scan as soon as it's finished scanning its contents. It's also super convienient on iOS's Nextcloud-app.

Screenshots from iOS scanning a document
How you can scan documents on iOS with the Files-app.

(I don't have an Android phone available to test, but it seems it's possible to scan documents straight from the camera app, please do that instead of taking a 5 MB photo.)

From the example above, a photo of my notebook took about 6.7 MB vs the scan which took 465 kB.

By doing this I can save a lot of space on my devices, which is both good for the environment and my wallet, as I don't need buy more storage to keep photos of documents and receipts. And now, for some documents, you get OCR support, which means you can search through the newly scanned document as a PDF. And one last benefit, you don't clutter up your photos app with lots of random photos of documents.


  • You save space on your devices.
  • You can get OCR support on your scans.
  • It's better for the environment.
  • Less clutter in the photos app.

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