How to use Continuity Camera to take photos and scan documents with iPhone, on your Mac

Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi presents the new Continuity Camera feature in macOS Mojave during the WWDC 2018 keynote talk.

macOS Mojave sports a super useful little gem of a feature, called Continuity Camera, for taking photos or scanning documents with an iPhone or iPad’s camera that automatically appear in a document on your Mac, right where you asked for them.

This happens without the need to sync or manually transfer anything between devices.


  • Continuity Camera is a new feature in macOS Mojave and iOS 12.
  • With it, you can directly insert images taken with your iOS device into Mac apps.
  • The feature is accessible from the Edit menu in document-based apps.
  • Both your iOS device and Mac must be nearby.
  • You don’t have to sync images with your Mac for this to work.

Basically, Mojave turns your iOS device’s camera into a Mac feature.

Your iPhone’s camera becomes a Mac feature

We encounter and use so many devices around us all the time.

To help bridge the chasm between mobile and desktop, Apple began building Continuity features into iOS and macOS a few years back. With Continuity Camera, you take a picture or scan a document nearby using an iOS device’s camera and it appears instantly on your Mac.

This is much easier than trying to use your Mac’s camera to get the job done.

Continuity Camera requires iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled on both devices

Continuity Camera works like magic!

It’s especially great that apps gain Continuity Camera features for free, no update required whatsoever. All document-based apps in Mojave automatically inherit the Continuity Camera feature, from first-party apps such as Pages, Keynote, Numbers, TextEdit, Notes and Mail to third-party ones, such as Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Word and Pixelmator.

Continuity Camera system requirements

Be sure that your devices meet the minimum system requirements for Continuity.

  • Mac computers running macOS Mojave or later
  • iPhone, iPad or iPod touch devices with iOS 12 or later
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth must be enabled across nearby devices

Continuity features require that both devices be signed in to the same iCloud account and have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggled on. Keep in mind that the devices don’t need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network in order for Continuity Camera to work.

How to insert images from iPhone in Mac apps

To add an image or scanned documents from an iPhone to your Mac, do this:

1) On your Mac, open a document or create a new one.

2) Position the cursor where you’d like to inject an image into the document.

All document-based apps in Mojave automatically gain the new 'Insert from iPhone/iPad/iPod' command in the Edit menu

3) In the Edit menu, click the sub-menu Insert from iPhone and choose an option:

  • Take Photo—Take an image with your iOS device’s camera and insert it into a Mac app.
  • Scan Documents—Scan a doc with an iOS device’s camera and add it to a Mac app.

NOTE: If you have an iPad or iPod touch, the wording of the menu option will match your device’s name accordingly. Folks with multiple iOS devices will see the Take Photo and Scan Documents options listed separately underneath each device heading.

TUTORIAL: How to rename your iPhone or iPad

A mini-overlay anchored to the insertion point instructs you to take an image or scan a document using your selected iOS device. To abort the operation, hit Cancel on your iOS device or in the mini-overlay on the computer.

Continuity Camera is much faster and yields better results than your Mac's camera

4) Your iOS device’s camera immediately springs into action, ready to take a photo.

Take a photo by tapping the shutter button on the iOS device, then choose Use Photo to have it automatically inserted into the document on your Mac, or tap Retake to take a better one.

Photos taken using the Continuity Camera are not saved in the Photos library

The interface provides basic shooting features, including enabling flash, switching between the front and rear camera and using optical or digital zoom.

Scanning documents

When using an iOS device as a document scanner, position the document in the viewfinder and hit the shutter button, then drag near corners to adjust the crop. Tap Keep Scan to get back to the previous screen and scan additional pages or Retake to redo the scan.

When done, tap Save to automatically insert the scan right where you asked for it on your Mac.

iOS's document scanner uses computer vision to produce high-quality scans for the Continuity Camera feature on your Mac

Docs scanned on your iOS device are auto-transmitted to your Mac

Scans are auto-saved in Photos. Delete them to save storage space on your iOS device.

TUTORIAL: How to scan documents in the Notes app

The interface for scanning documents includes toggles for manual and automatic shutter along with a selection of image filters, like Color, Grayscale, Black & White and Photo.

In some apps, you can position the pointer at your desired insertion point, then right-click to select the option to take a photo or scan a doc from the contextual popup menu.

You can even scan multi-page documents and insert them all at once in a Mac document

The interface for scanning documents with Continuity Camera

Again, you don’t need to sync or transfer anything to have a picture taken with your iPhone or a document scanned using your iPad Pro appear instantly on your Mac—it just works!

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