Apple’s Freeform app strives to be the collaborative whiteboard for everyone

Apple’s Freeform is a powerful new collaboration app with a flexible canvas, gives users the ability to see, share, and collaborate all in one place without worrying about layouts and page sizes, and with full support for Apple Pencil. Users can view others’ contributions as they add content or make edits, all while enjoying a real-time collaboration space. Coming to Macs iPhones, and iPads imminently, Freeform allows collaborators to start a session from FaceTime and see the updates from others right in the Messages thread.

With full support for Apple Pencil, Freeform gives users the ability to see, share, and collaborate in real time on a flexible canvas.
Freeform’s canvas is perfect for diagramming new projects, aggregating important assets, or just brainstorming on an infinite board.

Ivan Mehta for TechCrunch:

On the face of it, Freeform is just a large board with a grid that lets you put different things like text, images, videos, notes, objects, documents and more. Apple wants to provide users with an infinite board and basic tools that hardly requires onboarding. Most folks would have used some of these editing tools like Apple’s own apps like Photos and Notes…

Freeform is not just a whiteboard for yourself, but it allows you to collaborate with your friends or teammates too — as long as they are in the Apple ecosystem. You can share the link to your board with others through email, Slack or any other messaging app.

If you share your board in an iMessage thread, you can have live collaboration powered by SharePlay. That means you can see participants adding, removing and moving objects around the board. If you’re not working on the board, you will see activity updates on top of the messages thread whenever someone makes changes. Apple said that it won’t show notifications for every small update as it could be very annoying and intrusive.

Apple has tried to make this version simple to include every user. While they may not use designing tools in their everyday workflow, this tool could be handy for things like coaching charts, event planning, pet journaling and redesigning a home with rough sketches and notes.

MacDailyNews Take: One very nice thing about Freeform is that with iCloud, all of your boards stay in sync, across your Macs, iPads, and iPhones.

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3 Comments

  1. I am very excited about this app. I use GoodNotes and have tried other Infinite Canvas type apps. I am hoping I can come up with a way to “connect” these two types of similar apps. The ability to tie my daily notes back to my “mind maps” would be very helpful. Apps like Freeform (infinite canvas) and GoodNotes (which is awesome btw) really show the “potential” benefits of digital notebooks vs paper ones. IMHO we are just getting to the point where digital note taking has real, tangible benefits over the old paper ones.

    1. It’s amazing that it has taken longer for digital notetaking to be useful than it did for HD video to be reliable and widespread. Looking forward to Freeform but have been trying out Notability in the interim.

      1. I think they are two different sorts of apps. I tried Notability and its very solid. I don’t think anyone will regret using Notability or GoodNotes but neither are great at mind mapping and large process mapping. I am hoping Freeform has the ability to import shapes like Goodnotes and Notability. I agree it has been remarkably slow.

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