IDrive released the Smart Docs app for iOS recently, adding the ability to scan documents and upload them directly to the cloud.
Personal documents such as credit cards, driver’s licenses, insurance cards, and passports can be scanned with photos taken from your phone. These documents can then be synced to IDrive’s cloud storage for protection from loss, or to access them from other devices.
When you first start the app, you can scan a document by tapping the green button in the bottom-right corner. This will open your camera to quickly scan a document.
The app puts documents into five main categories:
There are subcategories for each main category. For instance, “Vehicle” is divided into “Vehicle Insurance,” “Vehicle Registration,” and “Others.” You can place any number of documents in these subcategories. “Others” is a catch-all category for any documents that don’t fit in the others.
When a document is scanned, Smart Docs will attempt to extract text, to categorize it and fill in text fields. You only need to take a photo of the document, and supposedly Smart Docs takes care of the rest.
I scanned a variety of documents using the app, such as a credit card, ID card, birth certificate, and receipts. A white box on the screen helped align the documents for the best scan. Documents are automatically cropped and can be rotated if the orientation is wrong.
The alignment box can be a bit too sensitive at times, cutting off parts of documents when it gets the edges wrong, but overall it was pretty good in my tests.
Unfortunately, Smart Docs failed to read text on many of my documents. It didn’t extract a single field from my State ID card. Scanning an American Express card extracted the card type and number, but not the expiration date. Scanning a Visa card extracted everything, however. Receipts had no text extracted. It was pretty hit or miss.
Fields can be manually entered, so it wasn’t a huge problem. I would like to see this feature improved in the future, as this was my only issue with the app.
Reminders for Expired Cards
This is my favorite feature. Smart Docs puts reminders on your categories, so you can know when cards expire. This lets you know it’s time to renew that expired library card, or that you should be getting a new credit card in the mail soon.
The number of expired documents is also displayed in the top-right corner of the categories.
Sync to the Cloud
Scanned documents can be synced to the cloud. The resulting PDF files can be accessed from the IDrive web interface, or from the desktop software.
All fields that you’ve entered are searchable, to make it easier to find documents.
Security of the Documents
When you’re scanning personal documents and uploading them to the cloud, security is obviously a prime concern. The app has several protections built in:
- Military grade 256-bit AES encryption, according to IDrive
- Supports private key encryption when syncing to the cloud (must be enabled in your IDrive account)
- Requires a 4-digit PIN to unlock, with Touch ID integration
Smart Docs enters a crowded field of document scanning apps, many of which support exporting directly to cloud storage services. For instance, Google Drive has a Scan feature on its Android app (but not the iOS app). Box also integrates with many document scanning programs.
However, to see such tight integration with an existing cloud provider is a welcome sight. Smart Docs syncs directly with IDrive, without any hassle. The addition of text recognition is also good, although I wish it was more reliable.