Coolest Ways to Use Markup on iPhone to Edit Photos and PDFs

Markup is a nifty iPhone feature that allows users to doodle, magnify, and add text to images and PDFs in the Photos, Mail, Notes, Files, and Messages apps. Whether you need to add a signature, insert text, or draw shapes onto existing documents or photos, Markup has you covered. With Markup, you can save time when signing digital documents and add your personal flair to your images. Here how to use the markup tools on your iPhone.

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Related: Photos Not Uploading to iCloud? 6 Ways to Fix iCloud Photo Syncing Issues

How to Use Markup in Photos on the iPhone

Using the markup tool in the Photos app is simple, and allows you to add text to a picture, insert shapes, and more. We'll walk you through how to use these iPhone photo markup tools so you can easily edit images to achieve your desired effect. To learn more about what you can do in the Photos app, check out our Tip of the Day newsletter. Here's how to mark up a photo on your iPhone: 

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  1. Open the Photos app. 

    Open the Photos app to mark up photos
  2. Select the photo you wish to edit.

    Select the photo you want to edit.
  3. Tap Edit.

    Tap Edit.
  4. Select the Markup icon.

    Tap the Markup icon in the top right corner.
  5. Select your Markup tool.

    Tap to select a markup tool.
  6. Tap the color wheel to change colors.

    Tap to select the color wheel.
  7. Choose the color and opacity you’d like to use.

    Tap to select a color and drag the slider to change the opacity.
  8. Tap the plus icon for more options.

    Tap the color wheel to change colors.
  9. Tap Description, Text, Signature, Magnifier, or a shape.

    Tap one of the markup options.
  10. Drag the blue dots to move and enlarge your text box or shape.

    Drag the blue dots to enlarge or shrink the size of the shape or text box.
  11. If you added a text box, tap it and then tap Edit.

    Tap Edit to add text.
  12. Type your text, then tap Done.

    Tap Done once you've added text.
  13. Once you are done editing the photo, tap Done.

    Tap Done to save your changes.

How to Use Markup in Messages on the iPhone

Follow the steps below to learn how to add text to photos on your iPhone, insert shapes, and add drawings right in the Messages app. The beauty of using this option is that when you edit the photo right in the Messages app, it will not be saved in your Photos app. This is great when you want to quickly send a friend a funny photo with captions or shapes added, but don't want to save those changes over the original photo. 

  1. Open the Messages app.

    Open the Messages app
  2. Tap on the New Message button.

    Compose a new message
  3. Enter the name of at least one recipient.

    Select a recipient
  4. Tap on the camera icon.

    Select the option to add a photo to the message
  5. Your Camera app will open. You can take a new photo or tap on the top-left button to open your Photos Gallery.

    Tap on the photos icon to add an existing photo
  6. Select the photo you wish to edit, it will pop into the new message.

    Select a photo to add to the message
  7. Tap on the photo within the message.

    Tap on the photo
  8. Tap Markup on the bottom left.

    Tap Markup at the bottom of the photo
  9. Once you are done editing the photo, tap Save.  

    Tap Save in the upper-right corner
  10. Tap Done.

    Tap Done in the upper-right corner

How to Use Markup in Email on iPhone

You can use Markup to insert drawings into emails on your iPhone as well, which allows you to add clarity to something that can't be explained well with words, or simply share fun doodles!

How to Use Markup in Notes

You can use Markup to create inline drawings directly in a note as well as to markup photos added to a note.

How to Use iPhone Markup Tools in the Files App

Once you open Markup in Photos, Messenger, Notes, Files, or Mail, there are various ways you can use it to edit your photo or document. You can draw in various styles and colors, create shapes, add typed text, and insert electronic signatures.

How to Draw with Markup

  1. There are several tools for drawing using Markup. You can chose between the pen, highlighter, and pencil options.

  2. Tap a drawing tool to select it and tap it again to adjust line thickness and opacity

  3. Tap the color wheel to change the color or adjust opacity.

    Tap the color wheel to change the color or adjust opacity.

How to Erase, Select & Edit with Markup

  1. Other Markup tools include the eraser, lasso tool, and ruler.

  2. You can draw in strokes that can easily be undone or redone with the tap of the undo and redo buttons at the top of the screen.

    undo or redo markup
  3. You can also erase any edits with the eraser tool by selecting it and then rubbing a stylus or your finger over the area you need erased.

    lasso tool
  4. If you like what you’ve drawn but need it moved, the lasso tool can be used to move your drawing. Simply tap on the lasso tool, trace around the drawing you want to move and drag it anywhere.
  5. When the lasso tool is selected, you can also select individual drawings by pressing and holding them. A selected drawing can be changed in color, duplicated, deleted, cut, or snapped into shape.

    use lasso tool to select and edit shapes

How to Add Text with Markup

  1. Tap on the + button.

    Tap the plus icon to add text with Markup
  2. Select the Text menu option.

    Choose the text icon
  3. Drag the text box where you want it.

    Drag the text box as needed for size and location
  4. Long-press on the box and select Edit to type.

    Tap Edit in the text menu bar
  5. Change the color by tapping the colors at the bottom of the screen. If you tap the color wheel, you can find a wider selection of shades and opacity. You can even use the eyedropper to copy a color that is already in your image.
  6. Change the size, font, and alignment by tapping on the AA button on the bottom left.

    Change text size in Markup
  7. Tap Done when you are finished editing the image.

    Tap Done in the upper-right corner

How to Add a Signature with Markup

  1. Tap on the + button.

    Tap the plus icon
  2. Select Signature.

    Select Signature
  3. A pop-up window will open and prompt you to sign your name using your finger or a stylus at the bottom of the screen.

    Sign on the signature line at the bottom
  4. Tap Clear and try again if you are not satisfied.
  5. Tap Done once you are satisfied.

    When finished, tap Done in the upper-right corner
  6. Your signature will appear in the image. You can drag and re-size it as necessary.

    Position the signature as necessary
  7. You can also tap the color wheel to change the color of your signature.

    Tap color wheel
  8. Tap Done when you are finished editing the image.

    Tap Done in the upper-left corner

How to Add a Shape with Markup

  1. Tap on the + button.

    Tap on the plus sign
  2. Select one of the four shapes available: square, circle, speech bubble, and arrow.

    Select the shapes option
  3. Your shape will appear in the image. You can drag and adjust the shape as necessary. You can tap also set it to just an outline or make it an opaque shape.

    Select the shape icon
  4. Finally, you can change the color of your shape.

    Change color markup as desired
  5. Tap Done when you are finished editing the image.

    Tap Done in the upper-right corner to save the markup

How to Draw Perfect Shapes with Markup

You can draw a variety of shapes perfectly using Markup. Simply draw the shape without lifing your finger and hold until it snaps into a perfect shape. The shapes that you can draw by hand that will transform into perfect shapes include:

  • Arcs
  • Arcs with arrow tips
  • Circles
  • Clouds
  • Continuous lines
  • 90-degree angles
  • Hearts
  • Lines with arrow tips
  • Outlined arrows
  • Pentagons
  • Rectangles
  • Speech Bubbles
  • Stars
  • Triangles

If the shape doesn’t auto-transform, simply erase or undo your drawing and try again. If you prefer your drawn shape to the automatically transformed one, you can also press undo to revert it to a drawing. The auto-transformed drawings can be dragged and re-sized and you can change their color and opacity.

Pro Tips for Using Markup Shapes:

  • The shapes can be drawn in any direction. For example, you can draw an upside-down heart.
  • The stars can be drawn as outlines or in a criss-cross pattern.

That's it! Now you'll be able to use markup tools in a variety of apps to add text to photos, give feedback, make notations, or simply create a funny image. 

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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life. In the last 10 years, she has been published in dozens of publications internationally and won an excellence award. Since joining iPhone Life in 2020, she has written how-to articles as well as complex guides about Apple products, software, and apps. Olena grew up using Macs and exploring all the latest tech. Her Maui home is the epitome of an Apple ecosystem, full of compatible smart gear to boot. Olena’s favorite device is the Apple Watch Ultra because it can survive all her adventures and travels, and even her furbabies.