macOS Catalina's Preview App Lets You Sign Documents on Mac Using iPhone or iPad

In macOS Catalina, the Preview app has a new feature that makes it easier to sign PDFs and other documents by leveraging an iPhone or an iPad running the iOS 13/iPadOS operating system.

Rather than using the Trackpad to create a signature, or scanning a piece of paper, you can connect to your iPhone or ‌iPad‌ to sign there using either a finger or an Apple Pencil.


In the Preview app, under Tools > Annotate > Signature > Manage Signatures > Create Signatures, there is a new option to choose to create a signature with an iOS device. Clicking on this option lets you select an available iPhone or ‌iPad‌ to use.


Devices running iOS 12 will show up in this list, but creating a signature only works on a device running ‌iOS 13‌. Selecting an iPhone or ‌iPad‌ with ‌iOS 13‌ will pop up a simple signature interface on the device in question, where you can sign with a finger on the iPhone or a finger or ‌Apple Pencil‌ on ‌iPad‌.


After you've signed, tap the done button, and your signature is instantly made available in the Preview app as an option to be inserted into your documents.


We needed to have the devices unlocked to get the signature interface to pop up, but this may be a bug that will be addressed in a later beta.

You can already sign PDFs right on the iPhone or ‌iPad‌ using Markup features, but the new Preview option is a useful, streamlined way to get a signature on a document if you start the process using a Mac.

Related Roundup: macOS Catalina

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

24 weeks ago

I still don’t understand why Apple is so afraid of touchscreens on Macs when they are so good with them on mobile devices. It’s so much easier just to sign on the screen. Goofy workarounds like this should be unnecessary for the prices Apple charges.

I can list many reasons why Apple shouldn't put touchscreens on Macs but you probably already heard them before and disagreed.
Rating: 37 Votes
24 weeks ago
this is pretty dope.
Rating: 27 Votes
24 weeks ago
Apple is blurring the lines between iOS and Mac in terms of functionality and cross-utility. It’s a brilliant strategy to leverage their success with iOS and encourage even more people into the Mac fold. Looking back I think the recent plateauing of iPhone sales is probably the best thing that could’ve happened to Apple users - it’s forced Apple to reevaluate their entire product line and look for ways to improve synergy and platform lock-in to increase company-wide revenue.
Rating: 20 Votes
24 weeks ago
That is all well and good.
But this analog signing method is just last century.

Opinion;:
macOS under the Preview app. should support signing using digital signatures, even if one does not own a certified public-key/private-key pair (thus, signing with self as the certificate authority).
Rating: 12 Votes
24 weeks ago
I still don’t understand why Apple is so afraid of touchscreens on Macs when they are so good with them on mobile devices. It’s so much easier just to sign on the screen. Goofy workarounds like this should be unnecessary for the prices Apple charges.
Rating: 9 Votes
24 weeks ago
The image of the iPhone has an interface that says: "sign your name using your finger or pencil."; is that a real screenshot? a doctored image? If it's a screenshot, is it a mistake in iOS 13 or a sign that pencil support for (maybe the next) iPhone is finally coming with iOS 13?
Rating: 9 Votes
24 weeks ago
It's here!!!

I knew sidecar wasn't going to be limited to iPad, I logged in just after having this thought and saw this story first it even had no comments! BINGO!

This is what I've been waiting for, this is the entrée to where all your touch surfaces work in unison with your MacBooks or desktops. I've posted about it in the past. It was coming. You could tell from some of Tim's comments some time ago.

Imagine if you will you have whatever macOS 'puter and 4 x iPads, you might be musician or producer - now you can create a touch mixing deck in a line, or a square or any shape you like with as many iOS powered touch surfaces, you have modular UI expansion on the GO!...DJ's might like this, for live mixing but that's really narrow and obvious usages scenarios.

In my view if the right apps come along harmonising multiple iOS powered surfaces it will open up incredible new modes of working and interacting and including games and AR!

This WWDC to me feels like APPLE have finally caught up with any loss of time and drag caused by managing the APPLE HQ build and move, it's like they're more focused than we've seen in a long time - so I'm going to call this the pipeline delivered! ;)
Rating: 8 Votes
24 weeks ago

Because digital signatures are used everywhere, of course.

[Dude, do some research before replying misguided opinion.]

Digital signatures are visible and when applied to a physical document, their appearance is similar to an analog signature, except they are indisputable.

Visible Digital Signatures
Allow a single user or multiple users to digitally sign a single document. The signatures appear on the document in the same way as signatures are applied on a physical document

Rating: 6 Votes
24 weeks ago

I still don’t understand why Apple is so afraid of touchscreens on Macs when they are so good with them on mobile devices. It’s so much easier just to sign on the screen. Goofy workarounds like this should be unnecessary for the prices Apple charges.

Try it.

Sit at your desk, start typing and then lift one arm and touch the screen, swipe etc as if it’s for real. Move your arm back to the keyboard for more typing etc.

Now report back what you think of a vertically aligned touchscreen surface two feet or so in front of you.

Touchscreens works best when they are very close and your arm isn’t perpendicular to your body.
[doublepost=1559861777][/doublepost]

[Dude, do some research before replying misguided opinion.]

Digital signatures are visible and when applied to a physical document, their appearance is similar to an analog signature, except they are indisputable.

Visible Digital Signatures
Allow a single user or multiple users to digitally sign a single document. The signatures appear on the document in the same way as signatures are applied on a physical document

There is a difference between a visible digital signature and a truly digital signature with certified keys etc. From the context of the post, it seemed like the latter, dude.
Rating: 6 Votes
24 weeks ago
iOS 13 just keeps getting better and better. I’m really looking forward to it.
Rating: 5 Votes

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