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Freeform: Apple’s new powerful app for collaboration with infinite space to plan and be creative

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It’s not very often that we see Apple launching a brand new app, but that is exactly what the tech giant announced 6 months ago at its annual WWDC Keynote. Apple calls it Freeform, and it is a powerful new tool that’s available on iPhones, iPads, and Macs that have iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, or macOS Ventura 13.1 installed.

Think of Freeform as an endless whiteboard that you and your friends, family, or co-workers can utilize to the limits of your imagination. On top of being without limitations size-wise, this imaginary whiteboard can feature almost anything that you can think of, from high-quality videos and audio files that can be played directly in the app to diagrams and PDF documents.

Apple’s Freeform app: notable features

The sandbox experience

Apple has tried to give users as many possibilities as possible when it comes to creative freedom in Freeform. You can operate the ever-expanded canvas with built-in gestures via your Apple Pencil, fingers, or mouse and keyboard on your Mac.

As you might suspect, the best way to use the app is via an iPad and a supported Apple stylus, which you can use to draw sketches, diagrams, and write using multiple brushes and colors. That being said, you can do the same on your iPhone but with your fingers instead. On top of that, the app has over 700 built-in options to choose from in its shapes library, which you can freely manipulate by changing their size, color, and add text. You can even create and save your own custom shapes too.

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But just being able to draw and write wouldn’t be enough to make Freeform’s experience enough. Apple has also made it possible for users to add all types of files like photos, videos, audio, PDFs, documents, sticky notes, links to websites and map locations, and more. What makes things even better, though, is the fact that you can preview all of these additions to your Freeform project by double tapping on them without having to leave the app.

Other useful features include the ability to lock images and PDF files so that they don’t move around, which goes nicely with the option to draw or sketch over them. Last but not least, a very neat touch is Freeform’s built-in alignment guides, which help keep your canvas organized.

Created with teamwork in mind

You can use Freeform by yourself to do whatever you may want with it, but the app is meant to truly shine and stretch its capabilities when it is utilized as a collaboration tool. Apple states that a maximum of 100 users can participate in the same board, which sounds like a potential anxiety-inducing chaos, but it’s nice to know how much the app can handle.

Apple has also integrated some of its other apps directly into Freeform. With Messages, you can invite others to a board by dragging it into a Messages thread. Everyone in the chat can then join in seamlessly and start contributing instantly, with each new edit showing up as an activity update in the Messages thread.

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An even more exciting integration, however, is the built-in FaceTime, which users can initiate directly from Freeform and vice versa. While participants are working their magic on the collaborative whiteboard, their names will pop up with a leading cursor.

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