How to create and collaborate with Freeform on iPhone, iPad and Mac

Freeform is an infinite canvas app from Apple and is available for iPhone, iPad and Mac users to maximize their workflow and encourage collaboration.

Apple added a new default app called Free form to iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and it’s an infinite-canvas-style whiteboard app designed for freethinking collaboration. The app was first announced in June 2022 at WWDC, but Apple said it wouldn’t be released until later in the year. Freeform requires an Apple device with iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, or macOS Ventura 13.1 to download.

Freeform is the first default app Apple has released in quite some time, meaning any device that has been updated to the latest software will have it installed automatically. The app’s user interface will feel familiar to people who have used the Apple Notes app and seems designed with the Apple Pencil in mind. However, Freeform does not have the same limitations as a typical note or document. It can handle drawings, sticky notes, text boxes, shapes, and media inserts. All the while it can be shared with up to 99 other people for deep collaboration.


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iPadOS 16's new Freeform app.

After opening the Freeform app for the first time on an iPad, iPhone or Mac, users are immediately dropped into their first workspace, called ‘Plates.’ If they look at the bottom left corner of the screen, they will see a box that shows how much they are zoomed in on the board. By default, a board opens at 100 percent zoom. By tapping the current zoom, users can choose specific zoom percentages from 10 percent to 400 percent. In the same menu, users can hide the default dot grid that appears on the board. Of course, touch screen devices can also use pinch gestures to navigate the board.

Selecting the ‘Format‘ icon in the toolbar activates the drawing functionality and users can draw with their finger, a stylus or an Apple Pencil. Other options include adding a note, creating shapes, adding text boxes, or inserting other media. While Freeform’s user interface is clearly designed with the iPad in mind, users can access and create content on an iPhone or Mac using the standard apps for those platforms.

To share a board with others, users must first enable iCloud sync for Freeform. Open the Settings app, tap the user’s name and press the ‘Show all‘tab under the’Apps that use iCloudsection. Find the toggle for Freeform and make sure it’s turned on, which will allow synced boards to sync between devices and open iCloud sharing.

Return to the board and click on the ‘Particon to start collaborating. Users can share via iMessage, email or a link to invite other people to the workspace. After the first person is invited, a new ‘Shared plate‘ button appears in the toolbar to the left of the ‘Particon. After tapping this button, users can talk to employees via iMessage, FaceTime, or an audio call. Free form isn’t a revolutionary note-taking or project planning app for everyone, but it should come in handy for creatives and people who like to take notes by hand.

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Source: Apple