iPhone app gives treasured photos new life [Review]


Pic Scanner Gold and an iPhone will preserve treasured family photos.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

For longer than I have allowed myself to believe, the iPhone has been called a scanner that fits in your pocket. But if I wanted a high-quality copy of an old photograph, I still sought out a flatbed scanner, presuming the results would be superior to taking a picture of a picture with a phone.

But the iPhone camera, as maybe you are tired of hearing, improves with each generation and the so-called scanner apps prove more valuable as a way to copy a photograph for sharing and even printing. One such app is the new Pic Scanner Gold.

Actually, what’s new is the Gold in the name, which goes to the value of the features that have been added since App Initio Limited introduced the app’s predecessor, Pic Scanner, three years ago.

Pic Scanner Gold
Cropping as easy with Pic Scanner Gold.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Pic Scanner started to win me over to the idea that you could make a viable copy of an old photograph with your smartphone when I reviewed it along with two other scanner apps for Cult of Mac in 2014.

Scanner apps do a few things well. Most have some way for you to embed information, the kind you find scrawled in pencil on the back of an old photograph, and offer album creation features that help you organize your past into albums, the way your grandmother may have done with analog binder albums or shoe boxes.


The apps also recognize that copying a photograph with a phone can be challenging, especially if a photo is curled, and have tools to correct the orientation. You can even do some blemish fixing, like torn edges and creases, that used to be removed only with an advanced knowledge of PhotoShop.

Pic Scanner Gold has adjustment tools and effects filters like a photo editing app but with a polished understanding for the texture and finish of vintage photographs.

Pic Scanner Gold
Filters for vintage photo finishes are some of the app’s nice editing tools.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

The filters on this app offer a range of tints for black and white but also can give a nostalgic pop to faded finishes on old color photographs.

Launch Pic Scanner Gold and it walks you through a couple of steps to give you enough know-how to begin preserving and enhancing your pictorial past.

The tools include batch scan and auto-cropping with one touch, creating and sharing albums, a special View Caster slideshow feature, greeting card templates and tutorials for photos crafts. The website also

A “Coming Soon” section boasts of updates that will bring cloud backup for photos (although, the app lets you save to the cloud service of your choice), bulk imports from photo apps and unspecified upgrades to some of the editing tools.

Pic Scanner Gold was released earlier this month and is available for $4.99 on the iTunes store.


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