Apps are the savior of our digital and real-life problems. I thoroughly believe that. Getting no cabs? Download Lyft, Uber, or Ola.
Want to create custom invites, you have Photoshop, Canva, and Adobe Spark.
What if you wanted to extract text from images? Well, that’s possible too. And I am sure that Google Lens is the first name that popped up. Ditto!
But, my research revealed that there are other OCR apps.
OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, makes all the text/numbers from images come alive.
This technology lets people like you and me convert paper documents into editable softcopy. How cool is that!
I made a list of the 7 best OCR apps for Android and iPhone so that you people don’t waste your valuable time manually copying text.
What are OCR apps & software?
Before we get to the apps, let me explain to you the concept of OCR.
OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, lets you read any character from an image and converts it into editable text. It is extremely useful in situations when you want to edit or copy the text from an image.
This technology analyses any image or even documents, which it then compares with all the fonts that have been fed into its database by matching distinct features of a font typical to its characters.
Some OCR apps are known to process it through a spell checker. This means that undefined words can be guessed.
In simple terms, Optical Character Recognition software helps in the conversion of pictures to text.
7 Best OCR apps for Android & iPhone
Following are some of the best OCR apps that will help you avoid all the time-taking manual text copying.
1. Google Lens
Google Lens is the best OCR app that will help you convert an image into text.
I’m pretty sure that many of you first thought about Google Lens when I first mentioned OCR apps.
Google has raised the bar quite high when it comes to artificial intelligence, and the Google lens is the best example of that.
The way the app works is extremely simple. All you need to do is open the app can scan for the text from an image or upload one from your existing photos.
You can then extract any text through the camera, then copy and save it as a text file.
Google Lens also allows you to scan QR codes and barcodes, which are quite handy when you want to know more about a product or visit a URL.
If your work. Largely depends on original documents. Then Google Lens is the best app you can have. A to translate text from an image as it supports more regional languages such as Hindi, Marathi, etc.
With Lens, OCR technology gets a whole new meaning – “point and convert.”
Google Lens is available for Android of course but there is no dedicated app for iOS. But I doubt iOS users will need any of the OCR apps. More on that in the bonus section.
Interested iOS users can use the Google Lens feature from Google Photos or Google App.
Before Google Lens set the standard for extracting text from images, people knew of one of the most well-known apps that made the conversion from images into text easier – CamScanner.
Available for both Android and iOS. Camscanner lets you digitalize any documents without any complex features.
Cam scanner gives “on the go” a new meaning.
For the free version, you can scan documents, but for its OCR features, you need to subscribe to the premium version.
If you’re wondering what is in the premium version, you can extract text from the scanned image. You can also get options for conversions such as image to word, text to image, or even image to Excel.
A word of caution – the OCR of the Cam Scanner is not as accurate as some of the other apps on this list.
But if your job depends heavily on extracting text from images, then the premium version, which is for $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year, is worth it.
But keep in mind that you may have to proofread the text for an error-free document.
3. Google Keep
Yes, another Google app on the list.
Many of you know Google Keep as a cloud-based note-keeping app.
But as they say, it is more than meets the eye.
A well-known close arrival of OneNote and Evernote, Google Keep gets updated from time to time.
One of the features that were added is the ability to capture the text from images.
Keep deploys the camera and grab the text from images, but it can only do so from the app.
When images are obtained, the text from the images is quickly captured, which is then student digital format in a newly created note.
The said text is then made available to users and they don’t have to manually type anything.
If you want to, you can delete the image from the note as the text has already been captured.
As the text is extracted, it is automatically synchronized with the cloud on every device that is associated with your Google account.
This feature is best for the multitaskers out there who work on multiple devices and don’t want to use different apps for one purpose.
Google Keep is available for Android and iOS, and the best part is that it is ad-free.
4. Adobe Scan
When it comes to getting creative work done, how can Adobe stay far?
Adobe Scan is one of the well-known names in the OCR market.
As document management has been excelled by Adobe, they have made one of the best OCR engines for mobile.
The thing about Adobe apps is that it lets people feel inclusive.
Adobe Scan not only lets you edit the extracted text but also annotate and comment on the go.
Not many OCR apps have this feature. And Adobe is a king when it comes to creating features for professionals.
Adobe Scan is free to use and users can also take advantage of the 5GB cloud storage to store the scanned documents.
However, users can only use the given storage and not any other storage solutions. So if you want more storage, you’ll have to buy from Adobe.
5. Smart Lens
Smart Lens is extremely smart.
It can do some things that the other apps can and that is why it is a part of the list.
The basic feature of this app is simple, it can scan any document and then convert the image to text.
It goes a step further by converting the scanned text to any other language.
Yes, that is a unique feature.
This also makes the app a built-in translator.
So say if you’re traveling and want to understand a text from another language, you can translate it.
However, the only downside is that the app still can’t translate the handwritten image to text, which a lot of other apps on this list can do.
But if your demographic is different, and if you just want to extract the text from an image, this is a pretty good option for most of you.
6. Microsoft Lens
when it comes to quality, you can trust Microsoft to not compromise with it.
It is evident from its many productivity applications that its OCR engine is one of the most superior amongst its rivals.
The basic feature of extracting text from an image works wonders.
However, you will feel the difference if you’re not into the Microsoft ecosystem, and by that, I mean Office 365 suite.
So if you’re already paying for your Office 365 suite. You’ll be able to take advantage of more of its features.
If you are invested in third-party apps, you’ll have to look for another option.
As expected, Microsoft Lens or Office Lens works well with Word, Excel, notes, and PowerPoint.
Also, it is free to use on both iOS and Android.
7. Evernote Scannable
This was a shocker for me.
Evernote is a great notetaking app, but I never knew that it can be associated as one of the best OCR apps.
It is an easy-to-use OCR app that will help you convert images into text.
Apart from the basic feature, the app lets you crop, rotate, and change the brightness of the scanned images.
Evernote Scannable lets you can choose the format in which the scanned images are stored.
The spotlight feature of this app is that it identifies visiting cards which it can scan and add the details to your contact list. How neat!
Users can also add drawings and notes to the scanned images.
iOS users get an additional option to annotate PDFs.
Only the iOS App Store has Evernote Scannable as a standalone app as the Android Evernote app has it as a baked-in feature.
Bonus for iOS: Live Text
Apple’s new and built-in OCR feature was introduced as a part of its iOS 15 updates.
If you use an iPhone tennis or new, you can use the live text feature from your gallery photos or in Safari. The best part about this feature is that it is built right into the OS, so you don’t have to download a separate app.
Say if you are in the camera and you want to capture a text from an image, you just point on the icon that appears on your viewfinder, and the text will be converted into an editable copy.
This feature gets better as you can also copy phone numbers, links, and email addresses.
Keep in mind that Live Text works depending on where you are in the OS. For instance, if you are in the Photos app, you can convert a text from the existing image that you have within a few taps.
In Safari you can search for images and directly copy the text from them.
Live Text works in English, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, and Spanish.
Wrapping it up
These are the 7 best OCR apps for Android and iPhone.
All of them offer the basic image-to-text conversion, but their accuracy depends on the tools they provide.
You can try out a few apps before settling for one.
The aforementioned apps have great features that will help you translate all the text that you need in your digital diary.
As I’ve mentioned before the set features depend on the apps that you are using.
What do you think of the OCR apps? Have you ever used one? Comment one of your favorite OCR apps and The features you can’t live without.