iPhone and iPad

Use ShoeBox To Scan and Digitize Your Old Photos

Dave LeClair 16-11-2011

In a world of cell phones with 8 megapixel digital cameras Apple Officially Announces iPhone 4S - Features, Price & Release Date [News] The conference started off slow, with Apple pretty much talking about how great they are and how much their products sell. Which is all fine and good, but they know why everyone was there -... Read More and regular cameras that take pictures in such high resolutions that they look better than in real life, the film camera is a dying breed. What if you used a film camera for years and you don’t want to lose all of those precious memories? After all, just because you have moved on to a new digital camera doesn’t mean that all those old pictures are irrelevant.


This is the exact reason why ShoeBox is available from the iTunes App Store. It allows users to easily take their old pictures and scan them with their iPhone camera and have all those pictures stored safely in the cloud. Even if you don’t use this as a way to replace the physical photos, it is at least nice to know that if something terrible happens to them, you will have a safe digital version stored away.

One thing I need to mention is that the pictures on their site are public, so they will feature them in the app. If you are concerned with other people seeing your pictures, this may not be the app for you. If you want to show your pictures off to the world, then this app is perfect.

Installation & Set Up

ShoeBox is available for free from the iTunes App Store. Simply search for “ShoeBox” or click here to download the free application.

shoebox for iphone

Once you have the application installed, you have to make a ShoeBox account. Making an account couldn’t be easier. You can either make a new account with your name and email address, or sign up with your pre-existing Facebook account. Whichever way you choose, setting up your account is quick and painless.


Scanning Photos

Scanning photos in the application is very easy. Simply choose the scan option in the middle of the screen and set your photo down in a well lit area where there will not be any glare on the image. Hold your iPhone over the image and click the scan button. Make sure to have the image lined up properly before you take the shot.

shoebox app for iphone

After you have taken the picture, the program will open up the crop part of the scan. This is where you remove any background from the image to make it as clean as possible. To crop the image you simply need to drag the box around the image. When you click on one of the cropping corners, the application will automatically show that part slightly zoomed in so you can get the cropping precise.

shoebox app for iphone


After you finish cropping, you are given the option to rotate the image in increments of 45 degrees. This allows you keep the image wide if it was originally taken that way.

shoebox app for iphone

The last step is sharing and giving a description to your image. You can enter the people in the image and the time and place the image came from. You can also share the image on Facebook and Twitter. As I said before, they may feature your image, so no matter what, it will be somewhat public.

Viewing Photos

The application keeps all your images for easy access later. On the bottom of the screen there is a section called “My Shoebox”.  In here, you will see any images you have scanned. You can sort the pictures by the people in them or the tags you attached to them when you created them.


shoebox for iphone

You can also look at the featured images page to see some of the best scans from other users. There are some cool pictures on there, so it is an interesting place to look around.


If you have many old photos that are sitting around collecting dust, or you want an easy way to put all your photos in the cloud so if anything terrible happens to the physical copies, ShoeBox is a cool app that is worth checking out. If you do not want others to be able to see your photos, this may not be the app for you, but if you don’t care, or even prefer to show your photos off, I recommend downloading this app.

Image Credit: Shutterstock


Related topics: Photography, Scanner.

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  1. Jerryb
    November 18, 2011 at 4:40 am

    The ignorance is astounding.
    "such high resolutions that they look better than in real life, the film camera is a dying breed" Quick - which is the higher resolution: 8MP or 35mm Ektachrome 200 slide?
    "but what if your scanner breaks?" What if you get hit by a bus?? What then, huh??

    • Anonymous
      November 30, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      No kidding. Or if your phone breaks. Or the ShoeBox site goes down. Sheesh.

      Anything can be rationalized.

  2. Bakari Chavanu
    November 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Thanks for this review, Dave. I have lots of old photos I need to scan. A similar app I use is JotNotPro for documents.

  3. Av
    November 17, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Looks like scanners are to complicated for Mac users.

    • Weas
      November 17, 2011 at 11:30 am

      This is an article about an iPhone app. I'm not sure if that means it's only for people that like Windows vs people that like OS X.
      Maybe it's an article for people that don't have a computer. That only have a phone, and it happens to be an iPhone.

      But you're probably right, it's probably an article geared towards idiot Mac users who don't know what a scanner is or how to use it. That's the way I read it too.

    • Anonymous
      November 30, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      Looks like someone hasn't a clue about the history of computers in publishing. And not much education about the difference between "to" and "too," like the preponderence of Mac users seem to have.

  4. Smumdax
    November 17, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Seriously... I would use a scanner device...

    • Dave LeClair
      November 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      You could do that, but what if your scanner breaks? Or you find a picture at your grandmas house that she won't let you take? Sure, a scanner is the most common method of doing something like this, but that doesn't mean there aren't other ways.

      • Smumdax
        November 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm

        Wow... do you really want me to answer that? Ok. I'll humor you...

        First: If my scanner breaks (actually, it did a few weeks back), I'll just go and buy another one. I had it for about 9 years, thus I think it's quite a good investment.

        Second: If grandma won't let me take a picture to bring back home and scan, then I don't think she would've let me rummage in her stuff... But still, first arguments sake, if the picture is very important, then I'd just bring in my laptop and scanner.

        Third: Of course there are other ways. I could take pictures of my pictures with my digital camera.... but here's the thing: resolution will not be good, light will not be good, risks of having a shake is greater, focus might be bad also.. And all those reasons are one and another why I wouldn't use your app at all. If you want something done right, then do it right first.

        If your method works for you, fine. But I would never hire you for a professional job, that's for sure. And I find it very sad that some people will read your article and go: "Oh yeah, here's a good way to archive my pictures. I'll do that and when I'm done backing them on my iPhone, I'll trash them all."

        • Dave LeClair
          November 17, 2011 at 1:44 pm

          Well obviously, this app isn't for you, and that's fine.