I have two scanners accessible from my machine (using Lion): a USB flatbed scanner, and a multifunction network printer. Whenever I launch Image Capture (either directly, or indirectly from Preview), it selects the first scanner (USB) and runs an "overview scan". Whenever I change the selected scanner (e.g. from the USB scanner to the multifunction printer), an "overview scan" is performed again.

This automatic overview is irksome:

  • It is slow and takes several seconds.
  • It is noisy.
  • Most of the time, it is totally useless (especially when I want to use the "document feeder" of the multifunction printer, since then the overview is done with the flatbed source of the printer, so I get a blank overview).
  • There is a nice "overview" button that I perfectly know how to click, if I really want an overview.

Is there a way to deactivate this automatic overview scan ?

  • I could be wrong, but I thought a "full" scan goes faster if you do the overview scan first. Thus, even if you disabled the overview scan (assuming there were a way to do so), it wouldn't actually save you any time because the full scan would take that much longer.
    – daGUY
    Jan 4, 2013 at 20:20
  • The overview makes the full scan faster IF it allows the application to locate the non-blank ink on the page -- thus avoiding a full-page scan in case the picture to scan is smaller than a full page. But this will not help me if I do want a full-page scan, let alone if the overview is performed on the wrong scanner altogether... Jan 4, 2013 at 20:24
  • Can you please confirm if scanning from Preview app also performs an automatic Overview Scan? I can’t do so now as I don’t have my scanner handy.
    – duci9y
    Jan 5, 2013 at 8:13
  • 2
    The Preview app apparently launches Image Capture to do the scanning, since I get the exact same interface and behaviour (including the overview scan). Jan 5, 2013 at 14:20
  • The Preview app does not automatically do an overview scan in my case, when you select "Import from ...". And, more importantly, it does not do an overview scan from my multi-function printer when I want to import images from my iPhone...
    – fishinear
    Apr 12, 2014 at 14:18

2 Answers 2


Apple's Image Capture app is intentionally minimalist. It doesn't have significant Preference settings, and no user-friendly way to turn off the overview scan.

In theory, anything in OS X is hackable, given sufficient knowledge and time. In practice, you should consider a 3rd party scanner app instead.

  • 1
    I went to an Apple Store and the local Geniusbarman answered pretty much the same thing. My choices are now to reverse engineer Image Capture, or to yield and accept the installation of a 3rd party scanner app. Jan 8, 2013 at 17:39
  • 3
    I wouldn't accept this answer, because it didn't answer the question. This answer suggests a workaround path - not even a workaround. It's like answering "Use Windows or Ubuntu instead". Mar 4, 2013 at 12:06

If you (remember to) set the scan mode to document feeder, it won't do the overview.

  • 2
    This answer was downgraded. In fact, it gave me the answer. I was wondering why for many years I never got the overview scan; then started getting it. The answer was because I always had "Document Feeder" set, as I usually use that feature. However, even if you want the flatbed, you can still have Document Feeder set, and it will still scan from the flatbed if that is where the document is. Apr 8, 2016 at 21:44

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