New in iOS 14: How to Draw with Shape Recognition on iPhone and iPad


Let’s be honest – the drawings we make in handwritten notes often look as if a child in kindergarten had drawn them with an inept hand. Fortunately, with the release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, shape recognition came along, transforming doodles into the neat geometric shapes that they originally intended.

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How to use shape recognition on iPhone and iPad

The function works in “Notes” and where the tool can be called Markup, for example, Apple’s Mail app.

It should be noted right away that the iPadOS version of shape recognition has more features than iOS. Among other things, shape recognition on iPad can be used with or without the Apple Pencil.

To start using shape recognition:

1. Open the document in Notes or another application that supports the tool Markup

2. Click on the pencil icon to activate the drawing tools.

How to draw with shape recognition on iPhone and iPad

How to draw with shape recognition on iPhone and iPad

If necessary, select the type of object for drawing (pencil, pen, brush, etc.), the thickness of the line color.

How to draw with shape recognition on iPhone and iPad

Use the eraser to remove unnecessary details from the drawing.

How to draw with shape recognition on iPhone and iPad

For convenience, the toolbar can be moved to any part of the screen:

How to draw with shape recognition on iPhone and iPadHow to draw with shape recognition on iPhone and iPad

3. Start drawing the shape.

Shape recognition in iOS and iPadOS supports a fairly wide range of recognizable shapes:

  • Line
  • Curve
  • Square
  • Rectangle
  • A circle
  • Oval
  • Heart
  • Triangle
  • Star
  • Cloud
  • Pentagon
  • Thought bubble
  • Outlined arrow
  • Continuous line with 90 degree turns
  • Line with an arrow at the end
  • Curve with an arrow at the end

To activate Shape Recognition, do not lift your finger (or stylus) immediately after drawing. If you immediately lift your finger (stylus) when you are done drawing, the drawing will remain as you created it. If you hold your finger (stylus) after the end of the movements, then the rough drawing on the screen will turn into a beautiful, neat figure with perfect lines, angles and curves.

How to draw with shape recognition on iPhone and iPad

Note for iPad users. If you accidentally lift your finger (stylus), don’t worry. Press and hold your finger on the shape you just drawn.

How to draw with shape recognition on iPhone and iPad

It will be highlighted in yellow and a context menu will appear. Select item Snap to shape… This will turn the rough drawing into a geometric one.

How to draw with shape recognition on iPhone and iPad

How to draw with shape recognition on iPhone and iPad

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Other possibilities

The shape recognition feature is flexible enough, for example, shapes can be positioned at any angle, a square, for example, looks like a diamond.

Keep in mind that you can combine basic shapes by stacking them on top of each other. For example, you can draw a three-dimensional cube with two squares and connect them with straight lines. You can also write (not type) words inside your “thought bubbles”.

How to draw with shape recognition on iPhone and iPad

In addition, iPadOS 14 has some advantages over the iOS version. For example, it is possible to move the elements of the picture. In addition, you can copy and paste already created shapes. Here’s how to do it.

Press and hold the drawn shape with your finger and hold. It will be highlighted in yellow and the options menu will appear.

Now you can drag the shape to a different location.

How to draw with shape recognition on iPhone and iPad

Alternatively, select one of the context menu options: “To cut”, “Copy”, “Delete”, “Duplicate” or “Insert space above”

Unfortunately, rotation of shapes is not supported yet. We hope this feature will appear in the next updates.

However, shape recognition is a very handy and useful feature. And whether you are drawing a road map or a driving map, your drawing will always look better with the correct shapes.

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