iPad for Writers: iPadOS 13 Review

Apple Pencil

I used to be a sporadic Apple Pencil user, mostly using it for minor interactions with the iPad, such as tapping small buttons or scrolling up and down a webpage. I’m not much of an artist and I don’t handwrite a lot on the screen.

However, using the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro, especially in iPadOS 13, has helped me in two major ways.

  1. Screenshots
  2. Signing documents

When I drag from the lower left corner of the iPad with the tip of the pencil, I can take a screenshot and start marking it up immediately. The action is smooth and reliable and much easier than awkwardly pressing the volume button and the lock button at the same time, which sometimes resulted in either increasing the sound output on my iPad or turning off its display rather than taking a screenshot.

In apps like Safari, there are two types of screenshots available: a cropped version of what was displayed onscreen and a longer, “full page” view of an entire webpage.

Cropped default screenshot with annotations
Full page screenshot

I recently started a new job and before my first day, the HR manager emailed me a bunch of paperwork to fill out ahead of time. I had no interest in hooking up my printer, printing out 30 pages of paper, entering all my information and signing them, then finding a way to scan them back in to email back to her.

So, I turned to the iPad. I used the Readdle app PDF Expert to handle all the documents. I was able to type in text and drop my signature in where necessary in a matter of minutes. And my signature looked like it does when I sign with pen and paper because of the Apple Pencil’s accuracy.

If you find yourself signing a lot of documentation and you don’t want to kill a bunch of trees in the process, or you want to provide ebook readers with a digital autograph, consider picking up the Apple Pencil.

It also comes in handy for drawing mind maps in apps like MindNode and scribbling down new ideas in Apple Notes as they come to you.

I’m hoping to get into digital drawing in Procreate soon and I’m looking forward to putting the Apple Pencil through its paces in a more substantial way.

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