iOS Tip 104 - Harness the power of Notes

How to Use the Drawing Tools in Notes for iOS 9

The Notes app in iOS 9 now allows you to draw, sketch, and color, using your finger or a stylus on the touchscreen. This is a really fun feature that is quite well done, and you’ll find the Notes drawing ability is particularly great on the larger screened iPhone and iPad models, but it works well on the smaller screen iPod touch and iPhones as well.

To have access to the Notes drawing tools, you’ll need iOS 9 or later installed on the device, and beyond that it’s just a matter of knowing where to look and how to use the feature.

You can either start drawing immediately, or add a sketch after you’ve already entered text, and it doesn’t matter if there are images or styling inserted into the notes either, the drawing feature will always be available in Notes.

How to Draw & Sketch in Notes App for iOS
You can draw on new or existing notes, and insert drawings just about anywhere. For creating a new drawing, here’s what to do:
1 Open the Notes app and create a new note
2 Tap on the (+) plus button in the corner of the active note
3 Tap on the little squiggly line icon to access the drawing tools
4 Select your pen, pencil, or highlighter, change the color if you’d like, and start sketching

If you don’t see the drawing tools available, it’s possible that you’re using iCloud Notes rather than on-device Notes. You can quickly switch from the primary Notes app screen by tapping on the < Back button in the upper left corner, and choose 'On my iPhone' or 'On my iPad', then create a new note from there. I'm able to create drawings and sketches on both iCloud and on-device notes, but some users appear to have a limitation to on-device notes only for an uncertain reason.

You can also save a sketch or drawing you created in Notes app if you want to by tapping the little sharing arrow icon and choose “Saving Image” – and no, even though Notes app has a skeumorphic textured background, that texture is not saved with the drawing, the sketch will save against a white background into your camera roll.