Apple has released a brand new app, which is unusual: Freeform, which is described as a “flexible canvas” that you can use in pretty much any way you see fit, is now available for iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, and macOS Ventura 13.1.
The emphasis is on sharing and collaboration, but Freeform—essentially a blank digital whiteboard—can be used alone or in groups.
Here, we’ll walk you through some of the fundamentals of Freeform to give you an idea of what the app is capable of and how you might be able to use it.
The interface on phones and tablets is slightly different than on desktop, and there are extras like Apple Pencil support, but Apple has worked hard to make the Freeform experience very similar regardless of device.
The Fundamentals of Freeform
When you first launch Freeform, you’ll be met with a slightly intimidating mass of white space, just waiting for your input.
The Freeform canvas allows you to organise text, images, videos, audio clips, web links, shapes, sticky notes, map locations, documents, and more in any way you want, and you can create as many pages as you want—no there’s paper to run out of.
Freeform is both intuitive and versatile. On macOS, for example, you can simply drag a file in from the Finder, which can then be quickly previewed with a double-click.
Videos and audio play directly within the app, eliminating the need to switch between screens or wait for something to load. Each element has the ability to be moved, resized, rotated, and layered on top of other objects.
Apple has included built-in alignment guides (shown as grey dots on the screen) to keep your boards from looking cluttered, and certain items can be locked into place if necessary (particularly helpful if you start inviting other people to share your Freeform creations).
The boards can be expanded to be as large as you want, so you’ll never run out of space, and there are also simple zoom and selection tools included.
When using an iPad or an iPhone, you have access to more drawing tools: These freeform pens and brushes aren’t available on macOS, so you’ll have to make do with your finger or an Apple Pencil to scribble.
It’s unfortunate that these sketching options aren’t available on the Mac, but given the lack of a touchscreen, it’s understandable—you can still see these drawings if you use the desktop app; you just can’t create them.
To read our blog on “How To record video on your phone in an Emergency,” click here