Freeform in iPadOS 18: what’s new?

Apple Freeform got some minor updates in iPadOS 17, but not enough to convince me to start using the app. At the WWDC24 keynote, I got a glimpse at some changes that might make some of us reconsider using the app in iPadOS 18. The updates are few but significant.

Quick update for Apple Notes

When I covered the updates in Apple Notes, I wasn’t able to get the scribble-to-erase gesture to work. One of you guys was kind enough to teach us how it works. Typically, in most handwriting apps, you scribble, and your notes get erased. But, in Apple Notes, after scribbling, you must keep your Apple Pencil pressed against the screen to erase. It’s not yet as good as they presented at the WWDC24, but we look forward to seeing that soon. So, you have a similar setup with drawing shapes in handwriting apps. Sadly, we can’t use it in Apple Freeform. We were hoping to use it in the app.


Apple introduced connectors to Apple Freeform in iPadOS 17 and polished them in iPadOS 18. At first, I thought this was an insignificant update, but when I tried it, I liked it. The connectors automatically snap and adjust to linked items as you move them around the page. We can also move linked items together. If you’re using Freeform, how useful is this going to be for your workflow? Do tell!


Scenes organise the information on your board into smaller sections that help you make sense of it. They also help you navigate the different parts as well, which we love. On an infinite canvas, you can lose track of things very easily. I recently experienced that in MarginNote 4, and it made me really love that Apple is letting us organise our whiteboard. The idea is that as you keep building on the canvas, and the more you add, the bigger it becomes. Finding anything on such a big page becomes impossible without a search tool to quickly locate items. That is why we love the scenes.

I can quickly jump to shapes and back to handwriting instead of scrolling to look for them manually. This also helps when making presentations from within the app, where each scene presents a slide or topic. I first saw this concept in ZoomNotes years ago, but it hasn’t made much sense to me until now. ZoomNotes is always way ahead of its time.

You can create scenes from both empty boards and those with some notes already. For each new scene, you can rename it to help you remember what it’s about. Freeform has a replacement feature for your scenes, which I found quite useful. You can replace any scene with one you’re currently on. So, basically, a scene is whatever is visible on your screen. They’ve really thought everything through on this one.

Scenes are easy to rearrange and even delete. But by far, the coolest feature is the ability to export a single scene or all the scenes as PDF. I would rather I could choose which scenes I could export. Whatever the limitations, finding an infinite canvas with decent exporting options is rare, so we’re happy to see that.


The updates in Apple Freeform are really making me feel mushy inside. I love what Apple Freeform is evolving into and look forward to seeing more updates. The app deserves an updated review; hopefully, I can do that soon. What do you think about Apple Freeform in iPadOS 18? Do tell.

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