We’ve been using fax machines for longer than we’ve been driving cars, and it might surprise you that faxing is showing no sign of disappearing anytime soon! Not everybody knows how to use a fax machine, but don’t worry, it’s simple and easy (much easier than driving a car!) – we’ll show you how below.

A large multifunctional fax machine

How to Send a Fax with a Fax Machine

Sending a fax involves a few steps, starting with preparing the machine.

Set up your fax machine

Make sure that the fax machine you are using is connected to an electricity source, and either has a telephone line or other internet connection line to the phone jack, depending on the machine you are using. You also need to make sure the ink or toner cartridge has enough ink/toner, and that there is enough paper loaded – you may need special fax paper. Note that when using self-service fax machines at UPS or Staples, this step should already be taken care of by the employees, and if it’s not, ask them to help you. 

Scan your documents

Gather your documents, including your cover page, and place each document face down onto the fax machine feeder tray or scanner glass – check that the documents are not bent or damaged, and scan each document you want to send.

Dial and check the number

Fax machines have a dial pad on which you can enter the recipient’s fax number – make sure you double check this, especially if you are going to share documents which are sensitive or important. Remember – cell phones usually don’t need a “1” dialled before long distance numbers, but if you have a traditional fax machine connected to a phone line, you may need to dial a “1” before the area code for long distance faxing. For international faxes, you will need to enter the correct country code of the recipient’s phone number.

Send the fax

After dialling the fax number, press send to initiate the fax transmission – the fax machine will begin scanning and then start to send the fax – you may hear a dial tone as the fax machine establishes a connection.

Wait and confirm

The average time traditional fax machines communicate a fax on an average phone line is around 30 seconds per page. Some fax machines work faster or slower than this – keep an eye on the display of your fax machine to make sure the transmission goes smoothly. Most fax machines will provide a confirmation page or report on the display, to confirm that the fax has been delivered.

End the transmission

This step may not be needed for most modern fax machines – the call should be automatically disconnected – but it’s always worth checking – if the fax machine encounters a problem and leaves the phone line open, you may be charged extra by your telephone service provider! It’s also important to remember to remove your documents from the fax machine and store them safely – especially if you are using a publicly available machine and sending confidential information.

A Fax App is a Great Fax Machine Alternative

Download the app

Fax from your iPhone or Android phone in 90+ international countries without a fax machine

Choose Document Format

Send just about any file type as a fax (PDF, DOC, JPG, PNG & TIFF, HTML). Use our advanced document scanner & image processing technology if needed

Hit Send and Done!

Send & receive faxes on the go. Dedicated fax number provided with all subscription plans. 

How Fax Machines Work

Here’s something you may not know – fax machine is short for facsimile machine (yeah, we’ll just stick to calling it a fax machine too). Fax machines come in lots of shapes and sizes, but fundamentally they all work the same way:

  • A fax machine will capture and scan documents to send

  • The fax machine will convert those documents into digital file formats, then compress those files and transmit them, usually by sending audio tones over telephone lines.

  • The recipient’s fax number will direct those audio tones to their fax machine, which decodes the audio tones back into digital data, allowing the recipient’s fax machine to digitally reconstruct and then print the document.

It’s a pretty smart process, and very secure – which is why faxing is still preferred by so many industries today, and so the average person will still need to send and receive faxes throughout their life.

History of the Fax Machine

The modern idea of the first fax machine, invented by Xerox in the 1960s, is what we’re used to seeing in office buildings and the UPS store. But the use of coded audio messages over telephone lines goes back to Samuel Morse (yes, as in Morse code!) in the 1830s – which established the principle that still drives fax functionality today. Various traditional fax machines since then have used phone lines or radio waves, until digital online faxing began to take precedence once the internet and computers became more popular.

Most People Prefer Using an Online Fax Service Today

There’s no doubt that faxing is still important – for example, about 75% of all medical communication today is still done with fax technology. Medical records, prescriptions, and sensitive documents are all transmitted by sending faxes to meet HIPAA requirements.

There’s a huge legal reason to send faxes too – most governments still rely on the paper trail provided by a fax machine. Electronic signatures, in many cases, are still not recognized by law, but faxed contracts with signatures on them are. This means if you’re ever moving house, communicating to the government for services or benefits, or getting healthcare – there’s a high chance you will need to send and receive faxes.

Online Faxing

Why You Should Choose an Online Fax Service

Let’s be honest – most people don’t have a physical fax machine. This is why mobile and online fax services are so popular today. You don’t need software, a fax server or a fax machine to use an online fax service – it’s usually as easy as downloading an app, something we all know how to do!

If you choose the best provider, then online faxes come with all the security and legal assurance as traditional faxing – like being HIPAA compliant and legally protected. They’re also more convenient, lower cost, and also eco-friendly – why buy a new large machine when you can just use the smartphone you already have to start sending faxes?

Let’s look at some of the reasons to use online faxing over fax machines:

  1. Convenience
    Most of us can’t use a fax machine at home – so when the time comes that we need to send a fax, that usually means getting in the car and heading down to the UPS, or some other store. But we all have a phone – which we know perfectly well how to use. The FAX From iPhone app for example, is very convenient and easy to use, and you can send a fax using your phone from any location. You can also generate a cover sheet within the app. You also get all your incoming faxes straight to your phone.
  2. Cost
    A fax machine can be expensive – hundreds of dollars. Not only that, but you need a phone line to connect it to, which can also cost extra and be a long-term commitment. Most online fax services are cheaper, and more flexible with subscriptions. A low-cost subscription with an online fax service can include unlimited faxes – whereas faxing in a store can mean an extra cost for multiple pages.
  3. Support
    Who would you call if your fax machine broke? Maybe the store you bought it from, assuming you have a warranty. But online faxing on the FAX From iPhone app gives you access to a live support team, who you can chat to directly in the app if you need to send a fax. There are also helpful FAQs which answer every question you could think of!
  4. Storage
    Receiving faxes on a traditional fax machine can mean paper – lots of paper. With online fax services like FAX From iPhone, you can store all your sent and received faxes in the app and access them easily from anywhere. If you receive documents from incoming faxes, you can keep them all on the same device. You can also store all your fax numbers from the app, making it easy to find your recipient’s fax number.
  5. Security
    Faxing is safe and secure, and business across the world have invested heavily to keep it this way. With apps like FAX From iPhone, your account history and inbox are kept safe, and can be recovered if you ever lose your phone. The app is also fully HIPAA compliant – meaning faxes, outgoing and incoming documents are protected to the highest level of legal security, and safeguarded from cyber attacks.
  6. The Environment
    Downloading an app or using an online service has a smaller carbon footprint than buying a new fax machine and hooking it up to an electricity line with a phone cable. You already have a mobile device, so there’s no new piece of equipment needed, just send faxes directly from your phone. Also – you may not need to print anything if you are faxing online.
  7. File Formats
    With online faxing, you can use a huge variety of digital file formats to upload straight into your faxes – there’s no need to print and scan dozens of pages, and no paper jams! This can be more convenient, and save a lot of paper. You also won’t need a physical cover sheet. Basically – you never need to worry about having enough paper.

How to Start Online Faxing

To get started, download the Municorn FAX From iPhone app today and create a free account. The app is very simple and easy to use, here are the key steps:

  1. Prepare a fax to send. Go to the ‘New Fax’ button on the bottom ribbon to send a fax. There, you’ll see where you can enter the fax number, add a cover page, and add images or documents by either scanning them with your device, or upload them from your device.
Send Fax Screen of Fax App
  1. Upload documents. You can upload documents to be faxed from a variety of sources – scan them with your iphone, or from your photo library, or from other apps and data sources such as iCloud!
Send Fax Screen on the Fax App
  1. Review your fax easily. When your documents are all ready, you can review them before pressing “send”.
Send Fax Screen on the Fax App
  1. Final Checks. Want to preview your cover page? Just click on it to edit the text – add a personal message too! Click send when you’re ready and the fax will be sent.
Preview cover page on the Fax App
  1. Create your fax number. To start receiving faxes, it’s as easy as going to the ‘Inbox’ section and choosing your fax number. Press the ‘Get fax number’ button to choose your fax number – including selecting the area code you want to use. You don’t get to do that with a traditional fax machine!
Get fax number interface on the Fax App by Municorn

Choose area code (you can use any or use a random one)

Choosing area code when creating your own fax number on Fax App
  1. Share your new fax number. Your fax number will be listed at the top of the ‘Inbox’ section, so you can easily share it with others.
Choosing area code when creating your own fax number on Fax App
  1. That’s it! Need any help? If you need support from the team, or want to see more, select the ‘Info’ button. You can ask any question you want and the team will help.
App support screenshot from the Fax App

Choose the Best Online Fax Service

Municorn FAX from iPhone

The FAX From iPhone app has over 300,000 ratings, with a 4.8 average score, and is regularly in the top 50 business apps. It’s the premier mobile fax app, and people around the world use it to send a fax for the big decisions in life – such as mortgaging and moving house or changing healthcare providers – and also for the smaller things in life – like a busy day at work.
If you want to send faxes in the easiest way possible, download the app today and get started. See you there!