When Apple® released iOS 13 exclusively for iPhone® (and iPod touch®) last September, it offered many new features that didn’t make headlines — but are quite useful nonetheless.  One such feature is Markup tools, a hidden powerhouse, and now more capable and intuitive than ever for adding notations to screenshots and photos.

You’ve been there.  You’ve had an expense receipt that needed circling, a photo that needed highlighting, a PDF that needed your signature.  With iOS 13’s new suite of Markup tools, you no longer have to freeze in those situations.  Now, by taking a simple screenshot in Files and Photos, or when capturing an image or PDF content in Mail, you’ll have several effective Markup tools at your fingertips.

Here’s how Markup works.

How you access Markup tools varies a bit by app.  In most cases, you’ll need to start with a screenshot.  And then tap its thumbnail preview.

- In Files, tap an image file or PDF to view it, and then tap the Markup button in the upper-right corner.

- In Photos, tap Edit to start editing a photo, tap the More button in the upper-right corner, and then tap Markup in the activity view that appears.

- In Mail, press and hold an image in an email message until an activity view appears, and then tap Markup and Reply.

- In other apps, search for the Markup button or an activity view that offers a Markup option.

Here’s how the tools work.

Imagine having pens, markers, pencils, erasers, magnifiers and more to edit and scrawl on digital images that were heretofore locked down.  Well, now you do — as these Markup tools are surprisingly powerful, so much so that you might find them just as capable as a basic graphics app on the Mac®.  

You’ll first note the buttons on top of the screen, and exactly what you see depends on context.  Next steps are easy:

- Tapping Cancel throws away all your changes and exits Markup.

- Tapping Done saves your changes and exits.

- Tapping Undo (the left-pointing arrow) undoes the last action, and Redo (the right-pointing arrow) redoes what you undid.

Here are the Drawing tools.

When you first enter Markup, it presents you with the drawing tools at the bottom of the screen, with the Add Annotations button at the right. The tools include:

- Pen, Marker and Pencil are the first three tools that simulate their real-world counterparts.  Simply tap the selected tool to change the line thickness or opacity.

- Object Eraser is what you tap to erase something you’ve drawn, or tap twice to create a Pixel Eraser for finer work.  The tool only erases something you’ve drawn, and not parts of the original image.

- Lasso is what you tap to select something you’ve drawn.  Once you’ve selected an object, drag to move it.  You can also change the color of a selected object.

- Ruler is your straight-line magician.  Tap the ruler to display it, then use your finger to move, rotate, position and straighten lines.

- Color is the button you tap to choose a color for the currently active pen, marker or pencil.

And the Annotation tools.

Annotation used to be a clumsy and frustrating experience.  Now it’s quick, easy and seamless.  In Markup, simply tap the Add Annotations button to display a popover with four or five options — Text, Signature, Magnifier, a set of shapes and sometimes Opacity.  Here’s a closer look:

- Text is tapped to create a text box on the image.  Tap to select it, after which you can drag it around, resize it by dragging its blue handles, or change its color by tapping a color button at the bottom.  You can also change its font, size and justification via the Attributes button at the left of the toolbar.

- Signature provides a menu of any signatures you’ve added in Preview on the Mac or lets you add or remove a new one.  It’s most useful when signing PDFs, as you just tap the signature you choose to insert.

- Magnifier zooms a small, circular portion of the image you choose. When magnifier is selected, you resize it by dragging the blue handle and adjust the zoom level by dragging the green handle.

- Shapes is tapped when you want to insert a rectangle, oval, speech balloon or line. Once inserted, you can drag the element around, resize it with a blue handle, or adjust line curvature and speech balloons in other ways with a green handle.

Apple has packed an impressive level of functionality into iOS 13’s Markup tools.  While we haven’t explored nor test-driven all of them, we encourage you to experiment with those tools and features you’ll probably use most.  Questions?  Contact CranstonIT at 412-200-5656 or support@cranstonit.com