Apple Freeform Lets You Brainstorm and Collaborate on Mac, iPad, and iPhone | Grind Tech

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Posted on December 15, 2022 by Kirk McElhearn

Apple hasn’t launched a completely new kind of app in a very long time. This week’s working system updates, iOS and iPadOS 16.2, and macOS Ventura 13.1, embrace Freeform, Apple’s app “designed for collaboration and inventive brainstorming.” That is how you should utilize Freeform to brainstorm, construct initiatives, and collaborate with others.

What’s Freeform?

Freeform is an app that allows you to brainstorm, unencumbered by a inflexible outliner or record app. You should use textual content, photos, shapes, and features, you may make lists and sticky notes, and you’ll draw—on an iPhone or iPad along with your finger, and on an iPad with an Apple Pencil. One among Freeform’s key options is the power to “visually set up and format content material on a versatile canvas, permitting them to view, share and collaborate in a single place with out worrying about layouts or web page sizes.”

freeform is a blackboard app; there are many these, like Microsoft Whiteboard, Miro, and InVision Freehand, and Zoom features a whiteboard inside its app that the person can entry throughout video calls. Most whiteboard apps are designed for groups in companies, sharing them throughout conferences and video calls, or working asynchronously on shared initiatives. Apple does not appear to be focusing on this market; In a video that includes Freeform, Apple talks about how one can create “collaborative whiteboards along with your family and friends.”

How do you employ Freeform?

The Freeform app is straightforward. A sidebar shows boards you’ve got created, not too long ago used, shared, or deleted, alongside along with your favorites. Double-click or faucet one to open it, then begin including content material. You may add textual content, and as Apple says, “Freeform helps a variety of recordsdata, together with images, movies, audio, paperwork, PDFs, web site hyperlinks, and map location hyperlinks, sticky notes, shapes, diagrams, and extra.” There are about 700 shapes you should utilize, and you’ll change their measurement and coloration, add textual content, and create and save your individual shapes.

Icons on the prime or backside of the freeform window allow you to add sticky notes, shapes, textual content bins, images, movies, or hyperlinks, and add recordsdata. On iPad and iPhone, you may draw along with your finger or use an Apple Pencil. From prime to backside, backside, are the icons on Mac, iPad, and iPhone. (I discover the inconsistency a bit complicated.)

Freeform shows a grid (which you’ll be able to conceal) and something you add snaps to the grid with alignment guides in order that everytime you transfer a component, you may see when it is aligned with others. You may brainstorm, add textual content and shapes, transfer them round, add recordsdata and hyperlinks, and the canvas is infinite; you may add as a lot content material as you need by zooming from 10% to 400% and scrolling or dragging to see every little thing.

One of many key options of Freeform is collaboration. You may share a board with as much as 100 folks, and so they could make their very own additions, amendments, and feedback on the board. You may even begin a Face Time name with collaborators from inside Freeform. Nonetheless, in contrast to different whiteboarding apps that work in a browser, all collaborators should use Apple gadgets. So your family and friends who use Home windows and Android are ignored.

Whiteboard apps are additionally utilized in training, and Freeform is nice for lecturers, however once more, the Apple-only limitation may very well be problematic for a lot of faculties.

Content material is synced by way of iCloud, so your boards are all the time updated throughout all of your gadgets and people of your collaborators. Nonetheless, I anticipated Freeform to be accessible by way of icloud.com, as Apple’s iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) are, but it surely is not, at the very least not but.

You should use Freeform to plan occasions—a dinner, a marriage, or a shared trip—or to offer real-time collaboration to debate paperwork or initiatives. Freeform can be solo device for thoughts mapping, a kind of schematic that makes use of shapes and arrows; or to create flowcharts and organizational charts. For those who’re a author, you can define a guide with sticky notes; in case you are a chef, you may plan recipes with shapes, photos and images; and for those who’re a budding filmmaker, you can storyboard your film.

It is very important understand that Freeform doesn’t create paperwork; it’s designed for planning and inventive discussions. You should use Freeform to organize for a presentation, however to not create the presentation itself. Freeform is meant as a repository of data, somewhat than a device that goes via the phases of doc creation to result in a ultimate doc.

One among Freeform’s limitations is that you simply can not export your paperwork in any format apart from PDF. It might be troublesome to export the numerous sorts of content material on a board, together with handwritten textual content and hand-drawn shapes, but it surely appears there ought to be some choice to export a board’s construction, maybe within the frequent OPML format, which is used for the eyeliners.

I assume most Apple customers, who do not but use a whiteboard app at work, weren’t anticipating a device like Freeform, but it surely may very well be helpful for lots of people who must make lists and plan initiatives however do not. just like the rigidity of text-only instruments. The power to entry your dashboards on iPhone means you should utilize Freeform to create procuring lists or go to venues the place you need to host occasions and have all types of data proper in your pocket. However Apple wants to increase the supply of Freeform to Home windows and Android customers, by way of icloud.com, for it to be actually helpful.

How can I be taught extra?

Each week within the Intego Mac Podcast, Intego’s Mac safety consultants talk about the most recent Apple information, safety and privateness tales, and supply sensible recommendation for getting essentially the most out of your Apple gadgets. Remember to observe the podcast to be sure you do not miss any episodes.

We talked about Apple’s new Freeform characteristic in episode 270:

It’s also possible to subscribe to our digital e-newsletter and hold a watch right here on The Mac Safety Weblog for the most recent safety and privateness information from Apple. And do not forget to observe Intego in your favourite social networks: Follow Intego on Twitter Follow Intego on Facebook Follow Intego on YouTube Follow Intego on Pinterest Follow Intego on LinkedIn Follow Intego on Instagram Follow the Intego Mac podcast on Apple Podcasts

About Kirk McElhearn

Kirk McElhearn He writes about Apple merchandise and extra on his Kirkville weblog. He co-hosts the Intego Mac Podcast, in addition to a number of different podcasts, and is an everyday contributor to The Mac Safety Weblog, TidBITS, and different web sites and publications. Kirk has written greater than two dozen books, together with the Take Management books on Apple’s multimedia apps, Scrivener, and LaunchBar. Comply with him on Twitter at @mcelhearn. View all posts by Kirk McElhearn →

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Apple Freeform Lets You Brainstorm and Collaborate on Mac, iPad, and iPhone