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Digital Signature: How to sign documents with a smartphone?

Digital Signature: How to sign documents with a smartphone?

digital signature
How to sign documents with the smartphone?

It is often more practical to sign documents digitally than to wait for the paper version. What you need to know about the Handy-Signatur.

As smartphones become more powerful every year, more and more people work with them. This includes signing one or another document. This works in different ways, Apple devices can do it out of the box, Android phones need help with the app. This is how the digital signature ends in contracts, applications and Co.

legal differences

Not all documents comply with the law with a digital signature. In the case of termination letters for rental and employment relationships, as well as guarantees, only the so-called “qualified digital signature” (QES) replaces the “written signature” on the original document. The documents signed by QES have been legally binding in all member states of the European Union since 2016, when the EU adopted the eIDAS regulation.

In order to create a QES, users must confirm their identity. There are online procedures and physical options for this, such as identifying yourself at Deutsche Post. To protect it from later changes, it is stored on a smart card or on a server. The EU provides an overview that certifies trustworthy companies: only these should be contacted by people who need a QES.

Signature feature only standard on Apple devices

However, to sign an application or a mobile phone purchase contract, a freehand signature directly on the smartphone screen is sufficient. To do this, the document must be saved as a PDF on the mobile phone, for example by downloading an email attachment.

Apple users have it especially easy, iOS devices are equipped with a signature function out of the box. To do this, click the pen symbol in the top right corner of a PDF and then select a signature that has already been saved or create a new one. Everything is very easy to use and can be shared and managed across all Apple devices thanks to the cloud solution.

Various alternatives on all platforms

Anyone who owns an Android cell phone, on the other hand, has to decide on one or more apps. The most obvious solution for many users is Adobe’s Acrobat Reader. The most widely used PDF viewer has a built-in signature feature. To do this, go to the document you want to sign, and then tap the pencil icon in the bottom right corner. The stylized fountain pen leads to the signature options. In addition, it is possible to photograph your signature or, if it is a file on the cell phone, import it.

Adobe’s solution also works on iOS devices; many other solutions are also available for both operating systems. The most downloaded are “PDF Extra – Scan, Edit & Sign” (Android/iOS), “Adobe Fill & Sign” (Android/iOS), “DocuSign” (Android/iOS), and “Signeasy” (Android/iOS). These apps are very similar and do what they are supposed to do. Since they’re all free on top of that, it’s worth taking a closer look at users to find their personal favourites.

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