DocScanner App – The Worst Update Ever in Mobile App History

DocScanner app for iOS devices is the number one example of a mobile app whose update has gone bad — indeed very bad.

When we talk about software updates (or upgrades), generally we expect improvements from the old version, may they be major enhancements in the interface and the whole software experience or just simple tweaks like bug fixes and/or patches.

But not in the case of DocScanner. In the Apple iTunes Store alone, the customer ratings has gone from a 4-5 stars to 1 star since the update from version 5.x.x to 6.0.x.

Before the update to version 6, DocScanner is one app I used to brag to peers and demonstrate the power of a smartphone, especially the iPhone. But now that great app is gone.

From my experience, here are the factors that convinced me this was the worst update ever:

  • The UI is bad, complicated, and very slow — and this is something that can’t be remedied with a bug fix. Even the customer support who responded to my ticket admitted that it is so, and that the sluggishness is most prominent for us iPhone 4 (or earlier) users. So now, it’s our fault that we’re using older hardwares.
  • Formal documents are usually monochrome (i.e., black and white). But everytime I open the app, I always have to make sure that I switch color to off in the options menu. Everytime — it’s not even smart enough to remember my preference.
  • You have to remember to turn on multi-page scanning if you’re scanning multiple documents. Otherwise, you have to repeat the scanning process all over again. This is not the case with the older version 5, which after scanning the first page you realize that you have to scan another page, you just have to tap “Add Page”.
  • There are now different containers/tabs for different types of documents. I didn’t even categorize them as such. Now I have to look for my document from each tab wherever the app haphazardly categorize it.
  • In the old app, you name the document before you scan with your iOS device. And if you attach the document as pdf in an email, the subject of the email captures that name. In the new version, you name the document after the scan. And if you attach it as pdf, the subject defaults to “Sent from DocScanner”.
  • When scanning a document, like a business card, you cannot seem to override what the app recognizes as the document’s edges. In the competitor apps, and even in the older version of the app, this is basic option, in case the app is not smart enough to correctly recognize the edges. The developers seem to think the app is infallible in this area.
  • When scanning multi-page documents, while trying to inspect each page, while the multi-page document is open in the app, when hitting the “Email as PDF” option, only the last page opened is sent via email. If I meant to send a single page, I might as well redo the scanning process, right? Or there could be an option to select each and every page I want to send as email. Otherwise, the document is open, I mean to send the whole document, with each and every page attached.
  • A four-page document from a business-card-size original, which used to take less than 1MB  only in the older version 5, is now a whopping 7.7 MB when emailed in version 6.

The last two items really got into my nerves — I have had enough. I have to make this blog post. I responded to their call to be more specific which feature or functionality about the latest version I hated, so they can respond accordingly.

This version 6 is beyond repair  — much less mere bug fixes. We, users who paid for this app, are in revolt. This is not the app we paid for. We paid for the great app that is version 5, so give us that functionality. At least give us the option to downgrade.

The developers don’t bother at all to heed the demand of their paying users. The Apple iTunes Store is full of negative user reviews, but they don’t seem to want to do something about it. Even in their blog post, “Why We Think DocScanner 6 iOS Will Be The Most Productive Document Scanner App“, which the homepage indicates to have 69 comments, they’ve disabled the comments altogether (you can’t read the previous comments nor add another, it might have been full of negative comments already).

I wish someone could just salvage the old version 5 of the DocScanner app and bring it to the jailbreak community. Then, I’ll be glad to join them.

Update – September 13, 2012

Was now using DocScanner version 6.0.5, and earlier when I was scanning a square document, it turned into a long rectangle. And no, the edges were correctly recognized.

Again, I will reiterate for the nth time, we like how the developers are doing everything to improve the app, but still our voices are one. WE WANT DOCSCANNER VERSION 5!

No Comments

DocScanner August 22, 2012 Reply


– What we admitted was that the first releases of 6.x were buggy, not that the UI is fundamentally wrong.

– Documents will be scanned in monochrome automatically if you either allow the application to detect that what you’re scanning is a document or select it yourself by sideswipe. “Other” category defaults to color.

– Multipage scanning has been modified in the release 6.0.4. It works now more like 5.x version.

– The categorization exists exactly to prevent this. In our experience the automatic detection works unless you’re trying to scan a white document on a white table. Then you can classify it yourself by swiping. This also changes default processing parameters. (e.g. Business cards will be in color, documents won’t be)

– It seems most people are perfectly happy with the default naming scheme (Receipt-date.pdf, Whiteboard-date.pdf etc)

– As we’ve explained, you can override the edges. Choose manual cropping.

– Again, we’ve explained this. The whole document will be sent if you don’t have a page open. Users have requested a fast way to send a single page only.

– Again, we’ve already explained to you that the issue has been corrected.

I hope you’re aware that we cannot respond to AppStore comments nor offer downgrades. You could try complaining to Apple about these features.

Best regards,
Development team

deuts August 22, 2012 Reply

Hi Matti, thanks for the effort to respond to this post. I guess we users should at least feel confident that the developers are ‘somehow’ listening to us, and trying to respond to our issues.

I didn’t say the UI is fundamentally wrong. I said it is slow especially when navigating around, from the camera to the library/documents, settings, options, etc. I believe it has even gotten a little slower when processing the document after the shot with the camera.

Again, we’ve explained this. The whole document will be sent if you don’t have a page open. Users have requested a fast way to send a single page only.

Yes a fast way is great, but it could have been more obvious, what I really wanted to do. For example, there could be a selection of which page/s I would like to send. But when I’m on my computer and have a pdf opened (this applies to office documents as well) and hit that send by email button, the whole document (i.e., all pages) will be attached to the email, right? That’s how things are “usually” done.

Now that I’ve known how the app works for that particular process, I should be wary next time. But what if it was the first time I encountered it in the app, and I was sending an important document, can you imagine the headache I would have to go through because of this?

I understand that updates should be coming in order to rectify the problems encountered. But you cannot deny the change of heart by users when the update to version 6 came. It was not just me, just refer to the user reviews in the iTunes App Store. A whole lot of users, including me of course, are very satisfied with the previous version, so why fix if it was not broken?

You’ve brought a broken product, then you’ll fix it again. Many thanks.

Bora April 8, 2014 Reply

You’re right deuts. I also just can send an email with the pdf attached only the first time i open the app, after that it just saves the file as jpg and cannot send a pdf attachment.

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