KNFB Reader dilemma

iOS and iPadOS

I am wanting some advice concerning whether I should purchase KNFB Reader or not; due to its high price, I want to make an informed decision before I go ahead and purchase the app. I currently have Prizmo and TextGrabber installed on my iPhone 5S; I have had one successful attempt at scanning a document using Prizmo but no success so far with TextGrabber. Does KNFB Reader have some advantages over these other apps that are worth the money? Furthermore, I am about to receive a scanning stand therefore will either Prizmo or TextGrabber be more effective when using the stand meaning that there is no need to purchase KNFB Reader? Finally, I recently discovered an app called Text Detective which seems to do a similar job to all the others. Is that also worth downloading or once I have a scanning stand, will the ones I already have installed be sufficient?
Thank you in advance for any advice,



Submitted by MarkSARCH on Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hi Alice
Let me start saying what I have Prizmo, Text Detective and knfb Reader install on my iOS device
well I will be starting from the inexpensive app
Text Detective
This app is much less efficient of Prizmo
if you use Prizmo you will have some idea what Text Detective is and what it does, and to be honest seends got Prizmo or knfb Reader I do not use Text Detective more.
Unfortunately I do not have TextGrabberperhapps I can not say anything about it.
That I suggest if you have a scanning stand try use together with Prizmo before buy knfb Reader if you think is enough using Prizmo app and scanning stand, tool and then you do not need knfb Reader.

Submitted by Justin on Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I have KNFB reader and love it. I also have prism and it does what it says on the description, but it seems like KNFB has a better job with recognition of pictures. Here is my thought. If you are getting a stand for scanning, use prism, and purchase KNFB. Honestly it is worth the money, due to all the features it implements. For example it has a tilt guidance feature, as well as orientation of what is visible on the page.
It was worth the $99 when I got it on iOS 8 upgrade day last year.

Submitted by Brother J. on Thursday, August 6, 2015

I too have Prizmo, Text Grabber and Text Detective installed on my iPhone 6 Plus. When I had my iPhone 5, I tried to use Text Detective to no avail. If it was not for having over 100 GB of storage it would have been removed long ago. To answer your question, it never worked for me whatsoever. In fact, I really should remove it because it never assisted me after multiple uses. Prizmo really is decent. I appreciate the directions [up, down, left, right, ready to shoot et cetera] because the guidance proves to be quite assistive. Text Grabber also worked for me in the past but I find myself using Prizmo. Text Grabber occupies storage space because Prizmo is not always as good as it should be. As for KNFB Reader, I have been extremely tempted to purchase it – especially when it was discounted in the first week of July 2015. It is almost never discounted but that is no justification for myself to purchase impulsively. One day I will have it and possibly use it more than any other optical character recognition iOS app on my iDevice.

Submitted by david s on Thursday, August 6, 2015


Will you be getting the stand for free? IF it’s free, try it with your existing apps first and see if it works for you. If it doesn’t work for you or you need to purchase the stand, then consider the KNFB reader. Since it was released, I’ve seen it go on sale twice so if you can wait, it may go on sale again.

I missed out on the sale and paid full price for it. I have no regrets paying the full price as it has worked well for me. As with everything, the more you use it, you become better at it. As far as a stand for the KNFB reader, use your elbows.

HTH and good luck.

Submitted by Paul on Thursday, August 6, 2015

Given the fact you're asking for advice, and the fact that you already have Prizmo (which is a decent OCR app btw), I would suggest not buying KNFB Reader unless you really have trouble using Prizmo or $99 just happens to mysteriously drop into your lap one day (hey, that's happened to me a few times in my life).

I tried to argue early on with the developer of KNFB Reader that such an expensive app should have a free trial with an in-app purchase to unlock full functionality, but to this date they have not budged. I clearly don't mind paying a lot of money for something (I've bought 2 iPhones and an iPad so far), but I have to know it's going to work better for my use cases than what I already have before I'm going to pull $99 out of my pocket. That $99 can buy more enjoyable and useful things than an OCR app that probably won't work much better for me than Prizmo already does.

Bottom line, if you can successfully use Prizmo for the majority of your OCR tasks, and $99 would be a significant expense for you (you need to save up over several weeks to afford it), don't buy KNFB Reader just to have another option.

Submitted by raaj on Thursday, August 6, 2015

I like KNFB Reader after all those apps and waste of money as per my side. I'm not expert with KNFB Reader as well. I get at least 60% success with this one. But as per the other like prizmo, text detective,, I never get success at all.

This is my personal opinion. I may be wrong with my positioning. But knfb is accepting my positionings at least for some part. I hope I will get success by practice with this one.

I'm dam sure this price is too much for an app which is being produced particularly for the blind.


Submitted by Mike Freeman on Thursday, August 6, 2015

I vehemently disagree with those who say KNFB Reader is overpriced. It's worth every penny; the only reason people moan and groan about the price is that they're used to apps being relatively low-priced because the development costs etc. are spread over a market of many hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Let's face it: we, the blind are a small market -- yes, even though I-devices are used by many of us. That's just my opinion.

Also, I don't see how a "free trial" could be successfully implemented; like it or not, it takes practice to use scanning apps if one cannot see and no free trial would last long enough for the practice to pay off. Again, that's just my opinion.

Finally, I have never gotten any of the other apps mentioned in this thread -- Prismo, Text Detective, TextGrabber, etc. -- to yield anything like decent results. I got a decent scan of the medical literature that came with one of my prescriptions on my first try. Believe me! The text analysis to render text into speech and compensate somewhat for weird lighting, shadows and the like is far, far, far superior to any other I-device OCR apps I've tried. So I think KNFB Reader is a bargain even at its normal price. And, unlike steaks at Ruth's Crhis, you have something you can use more than once!

Considering how people have been salivating over the Apple Watch -- something I can't believe -- I'm surprised at the howls KNFB Reader's price elicits.


Submitted by Justin on Thursday, August 6, 2015

I agree with you Mike. While $99 seems like a lot to some, it's worth it for KNFB. We're a small market in the apple community and they can charge whatever they want for an app. I too, don't see how free trials would work with this. This app is worth all the money. I have had great success reading packages of food or bottles of stuff. For what this is/does I love this!

Submitted by Chuck on Thursday, August 6, 2015

The KNFB reader has the ability to help capture the text by giving both verbal and vibration cues to tell the blind user when the text is in the proper position to scan. This is huge when scanning text without a stand.

I use my KNFB reader at museums and parks to read signs and labels I have had to ignore for the past 40 years.

I have mush better success with the KNFB reader (About 98%) than any other OCR app.
Before I purchased the KNFB Reader for $99 I used Text Grabber with about a 50% success rate.

I should say that I do have some vision which makes using any of these apps much easier.

Submitted by Siobhan on Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hello. You're completely right, asking for advice, no one can tell you how you yourself, will use it. I wasn't happy about spending the hundred bucks, so I waited until I had some birthdy and xmas cash saved to purchase it. I never had any luck with a lot of the apps mentioned, because not being able to see, I lost patience with the, Up, Left, down, because the verbal directions were in such quick succession, I would make it far worse. Having said that, after buying the app, I absolutely love it. Now I mainly use it for reading junk mail, as well as reading packages as there are quite a few deliveries and people living here. Today for example, someone had a package, and though I wasn't expecting anything it was awesome to put in the appropriate bedroom of the family member. I'd be interested to find out if you do buy it, what you do think of it. I hope they update it sometime son, as running it on my older IOS device, an ipHone five, I'm sure it's nappier on a newer model. At the end, do what you want, not what the measses suggest. good luck.

Submitted by Kevan on Saturday, August 8, 2015

As far as OCR goes on my iPhone, I've tried two: Text Detective and KNFB Reader. KNFB works far better than the former. I actually bought KNFB when it was on sale for half price. It's up to you though if you want to wait for another sale.

I mainly just like how accurate KNFB is. I really don't use it much though. I will say this however, it does prove useful from time to time

Submitted by Diane on Saturday, August 8, 2015

I agree with Mike and Justin. I did get KNFB Reader at the reduced price. About all I have done, so far, is read packages delivered to my building. Worked great the first time. When I get around to figuring out the rest of the app and that practice Mike mentioned, I expect to be even happier. Thanks, Chuck, for the sign suggestion. I will try that when I am out today.

Submitted by DPinWI on Saturday, August 8, 2015

I bought the KNFB Reader at full price, and don't use it much . That said, I am very glad I bought it. When I need it, it is exactly what I need.

Whatever your decision, the most important thing i can add to this thread is "Patience." It takes time to learn how to OCR with your phone.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Sunday, August 9, 2015

I think KNFB is what you will use he most. I don't use it much, but when I do use it, the text is mostly readable. I am considering getting a scan stand though to make reading a tad easier with my iPhone 6, but over all I love the fact I can import an image of text I take and it reads I fine. I even used it to try and get the email off of a web site whose ext was just an image. It worked fairly well.

Submitted by riyu12345 (not verified) on Sunday, August 9, 2015


I brought knfb reader when it came out and don't regret it in the slightest.

It's very easy to use, very very accessible, of course. :) It has great documentation, not that I think it's really needed once you get the hang of it. Let me tell you how great this app is. I was installing windows 10 and took a picture of the laptop screen and it read, Installing windows, downloading files, 22%. Isn't that amazing? I think it is and don't regret buying KNFB reader. So I'd say go with KNFB reader, but of course it's up to you. I believe there are podcasts on KNFB reader you can check out and see what you think from that.

Submitted by jcwissel on Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I use Say Text on my Iphone 5 S. It works quite well. It is free and I have had very good results.

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Friday, August 21, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

The developers have now said that due to unforeseen problems the Try Before You Buy facility does not work in version 2.0 and that it will be “coming soon” in version 2.1.

Submitted by Jay Bee on Saturday, November 7, 2015

If you would look in the forum of this very website, you might find an app called Voice which is again free and being developed by a highschool student who likes to help blind and low vision users of apple products to be able to access the printed material.
The experience of this free app can be certainly jumpy in comparison with KNFB reader which spends a lot on research to make the experience smoother and flawless for the user.
And I saw the following bit in a post about that free app called voice. You'd better read that bit as well before making the decision to purchase.
"Additionally, I believe the price that KNFB charges is very high compared to a similar availability of features in apps such as Voice. And Voice is free. The reason I think people write such great reviews about KNFB Reader is because anyone that spent such a great amount of money on it are going to be very hesitant in giving it a bad review even if they are extremely unhappy with it, because that would damage their justification for buying that app in the first place.
I just think everyone should save the hundreds of dollars that all these other apps are exploiting you to buy. Great and helpful technology should be kept free and available in the hands of everyone. Especially when so many people need it."

Submitted by DPinWI on Sunday, November 8, 2015

I am not convinced that those of us who appreciate the "smooth and flawless" experience of KNFB Reader are being "exploited" and under the spell of price justification. Perhaps it is that smooth and flawless experience you describe that we appreciate and are willing, and able, to pay for. I don't have the time nor inclination to mess with "certainly jumpy" apps. If I need to get something done, my time is valuable, and I will select the tool that fits my budget and fits my needs.

I wonder... In a world where every great and useful app is free, who pays for development costs?