Hands-On With the New Scribble Feature in iPadOS 14

Apple's upcoming iPadOS 14 update has many of the same features that are available in iOS 14, but there are a handful of functions that are designed specifically for the larger display and the Apple Pencil, such as Scribble.


Scribble is one of the most notable new features in iPadOS 14, and we checked it out in our latest YouTube video. With Scribble, you can use an ‌Apple Pencil‌ to write in any text field on the iPad, with the written text then converted to typed text.

The functionality lets you use the ‌Apple Pencil‌ throughout the operating system without having to swap over to a keyboard when you need to compose an email, write a Calendar event, visit a URL, send an iMessage, or conduct a search. You can, for example, go to Safari and write in MacRumors.com, and it'll convert to the proper URL so you can get to the site.

Scribble is decent at recognizing all kinds of handwriting, even when it's messy, but it does not work well with cursive. It interprets capitals and proper spacing, so once you get the hang of handwriting in text fields, it's a fairly seamless experience.

If you make a mistake when you're writing something, you can just scribble it out with the ‌Apple Pencil‌ and it deletes, which is a handy feature. If you need to select text, you can just circle it.

Scribble works in any text field as mentioned, but it's also been built into the Notes app. Just tap on the toolbar and select the pen that has the little "A" on it. This tool will convert all your handwritten text in notes to typed text.

To go along with Scribble, there are a few other useful tools. Smart Selection lets you select all of your handwritten text as if it was typed text, and if you copy it and paste it into an app that doesn't support handwriting, it will be converted into typed text.

You can also select handwritten text and paste it into other notes, or make changes to the style and the color of the written text. Handwritten phone numbers, links, addresses, and more also turn into clickable links like they do when typed. So if you write out a phone number, you can tap it to call it because the ‌iPad‌ is able to detect the numbers and convert them on the fly.

With a Shape Recognition tool, if you clumsily draw a standard shape like a circle or a star, iPadOS 14 will recognize the shape you're trying to make and convert it into a perfect version, which is useful for note taking and diagrams.

With iPadOS 14, the ‌iPad‌ can be used almost entirely with touch and tools, and there's little need to type. If you're someone who prefers writing by hand, iPadOS 14 introduces tools that enhance the experience.

What do you think of Scribble and the other features in iPadOS 14? Let us know in the comments, and for more on iPadOS 14, make sure to check out our roundup.

Related Forum: iOS 14

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Top Rated Comments

gravityeyelids Avatar
51 months ago
So they resurrected old code from the Newton? ;)
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmaier Avatar
51 months ago
They finally perfect the newton.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Awesome Avatar
51 months ago

Does this work with iMessage?
Yep, it does. In fact, it works in pretty much any text field in the system, even in third-party apps.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chris4565 Avatar
51 months ago
One less necessity to switch from the Apple Pencil to finger input when using it ? Now please let me invoke the notification and control center with the pencil, Apple.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nitramluap Avatar
51 months ago
Now I just need to upgrade my handwriting... ?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrism_scotland Avatar
51 months ago

Cool, I've been doing it for ages in my surface Pro, but this looks good cool and probably a more seamless integration.
I quite like the fact that the iPadOS implementation seems to allow you to write anywhere; I also use the Microsoft implementation and its sometimes annoying that the keyboard bar is still needed when your "handwriting" an input
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)