Earlier this year, Apple announced the Sidecar feature available with the installation of MacOS Catalina and iPadOS 13. Essentially, this allows your compatible Mac and iPad to work together using the iPad as an external touch monitor and more.
The “features” include: Extending or mirroring the desktop via wired or wireless connection, Multi-Touch gestures on the iPad, Touch Bar support even if your Mac does not have it, use of Apple Pencil for Mac apps that support drawing tablets and more.
Apple has published a Sidecar White Paper PDF available for viewing and download. You can also read more about set up and the system and hardware requirements here.
You can modify Sidecar functionality from the Mac System Preferences > Sidecar. These allow you to choose where to show the sidebar and Touch Bar on your iPad screen, and allows certain supported features when you double-tap on the side of your Apple Pencil (2nd generation).
A requirement that is sometimes overlooked is that both compatible devices to be signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID. Also, if using the feature wirelessly, both devices need to have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Handoff turned on, be within 10 meters of each other and neither the iPad is sharing its cellular connection nor the Mac is sharing its Internet connection.
Flow by Moleskine is not just another app for those wanting to get ideas down on paper, it’s a productivity tool that allows you to fine tune what you want to capture on “paper” when inspiration strikes. This universal iOS app recently won an Apple 2019 design award.
The app features different drawing tools that can be fined tuned to your liking and saved. You can change nibs and ink flows. There are a wide variety of combinations and colors available and easily selectable. You can choose between different paper styles and colors.
Although there are some limits placed on tools and paper, there are more than enough combinations available. You can also export and share your work. The ability to undo in a variety of ways also makes this app useful.
The app is free to try for a few days. After that, there is a monthly or annual subscription price. Right now, following WWDC 2019, there is a 60% discount on the subscription. ($1.99 per month / $11.99 per year) It is not clear how long that may last.
You can also sync between iOS devices when you use the same Flow account.
So, this alternative to Paper is certainly worth trying.
Ulysses is a great app for writers and others trying to get thoughts down and for publishing blogs. Using iCloud, you can work on your Mac and pick up where you left off on your iOS device and vice versa.
V 16 has new features and fixes. The new features include the ability to publish articles to the Ghost platform and a full featured iPad split view. So, in landscape orientation, you can keep two editors open at the same time or see an export preview while editing.
The ability to sync between iOS devices and your Mac requires a subscription.
Apple’s suite of apps for presenting, creating documents and keeping up with numbers has been updated for iOS.
Keynote has the following updates and improvements:
- Make It Move – draw a path with your finger or Apple Pencil to animate an object across the slide
- Animate Objects – Add emphasis to presentations with action build effects, including move, rotate, and scale animations
- Animated GIFs – Create and share an animated GIF by exporting one or more slides
- Edit presenter notes while presenting or rehearsing a slideshow
- Improved performance while collaborating on presentations
Pages has the following updates and improvements:
- Table of Contents View
- Save and Sync Shapes
- Create and Sync Templates
Numbers has the following updates and improvements:
- Table Improvements – Make precise changes to table row and column counts and sizes with the Format pane
- Sync Templates – Create templates to use as a model for new spreadsheets, and access them on any device using iCloud
- Smart Categories Enhancements – Performance and usability improvements to Smart Categories
- Increased maximum zoom level to 400%
To update, on your iOS device, go to App Store > Updates and select the apps to update.
Things 3 for iPad is a $19.99 paid app that allows you to collect and organize your thoughts to help you plan your time for all of your To-Dos.
The most recent update adds the “dark mode” appearance. In the app, tap on the gear icon > Appearance > Dark. You can also “Switch Automatically” based on the display brightness.
To learn more about Things 3, watch the video below and check out the FAQs.
Microsoft has a very good scanning app called Lens|PDF Scan. This handy iOS app allows you to use your iOS camera to scan in documents, business cards, sticky notes, receipts and whiteboards and make them readable for later use and reference.
You can even share the scan with other apps.
The app handles conversion of handwriting using OCR as well. Obviously, the better the handwriting, the better the recognition. However, the app is a great tool to capture and digitize external notes and insert them into other apps for later use.
Screencasts online has a preview screencast tip on using Lens.
If you are looking for a way to capture and digitize paper or other notes, consider Lens.
Ulysses, a writing environment for your Mac and iOS device, turns version 15. Ulysses uses the idea of a sheet that can be combined with other sheets to write an article, story or book.
You can access your sheets from your iOS devices and Mac using the subscription service. You can try the app for free for 14 days. During this time you can write.
If you have a subscription to Setapp, the subscription will activate not only on your Mac, but on your iPhone and iPad as well.
The latest updates includes the ability to have the option to split the editor so you can display two sheets / pages next to each other and scroll through both. This way you can read one page and write on another. It’s a great way to do research.
If you like working in Dark mode, you won’t be disappointed.
There is enhanced keyword support as well that allows you to organize, search and even change the keywords colors, rename or delete them.
The ability to sync between devices is included in the subscription service. To learn more you can visit the tutorials web page.
A trailer that shows the app in action is below.