Recognizing the utility of Markup annotation tools, Apple has extended their availability in recent versions of iOS, but it's worth bearing in mind that you can access a similar and equally useful annotation toolset within several native Mac applications.

In macOS, accessing an application's Markup toolbar lets you draw on and annotate images or PDF documents within the app using arrows, shapes, and text. You can also use it to quickly sign a document with your digital signature.

macos markup tools
We've highlighted which native apps support Markup in this article. But before you can access the toolset in desktop apps, you'll need to check that the relevant extension is enabled on your Mac. Keep reading to learn how it's done.

How to Enable the Markup Extension in macOS

  1. Click the Apple () symbol in your Mac's menu bar and select System Preferences....
    macos extensions

  2. Click the Extensions preference pane.

  3. Click Actions in the left column of the Extension pane.
    macos Markup extension

  4. If it isn't already ticked, click on the box next to the Markup extension in the right column.

macos mail markup
One of the most useful Markup integrations can be found in Mail. Once you've dragged an image into your message, hover your mouse cursor over it, click the arrow button that appears in the upper right corner, and select Markup from the dropdown menu.

macos mail markup 2
Your attached image will be foregrounded with the Markup toolbar across the top, ready for you to apply your annotations.

Markup can be accessed in the same manner within TextEdit as well as some third-party document editors. To test whether it's available, simply hover your cursor over the image once it's inside your document and look for the arrow in the upper right corner.

macos preview markup
In Preview, the Markup toolbar has its own button next to the Search input field on the right of the taskbar. You also get a few extra Markup tools here, like Adjust Color, Adjust Size, and Crop, so if you can't annotate an image within your application of choice then Preview should be your next stop.

macos photos markup
Finally, the Markup toolset is also accessible in Apple's Photos application: Next time you're editing an image, click the Extensions icon (the three dots in a circle) and select Markup to enter annotation mode.

Top Rated Comments

syklee26 Avatar
62 months ago
Apple pencil support (on trackpad) with more expansive markup tools in macos would be awesome.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chucker23n1 Avatar
62 months ago
Having Markup available in many places (such as Mail and Notes) is cool, but in practice I find the annotation tools a bit baffling. Maybe I just need to get used to them. I want a highlight pen like in Windows Snipping Tool.

Is there a third-party extension that does this?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chucker23n1 Avatar
62 months ago
I browse the internet on an iPad docked to a keyboard/case. No reason this can't happen on a Macbook as well.
There are plenty of reasons. There's plenty Apple would need to do to change macOS to make it suitable for touch, such as adding a virtual keyboard, making the controls suitable in size for touch targets, changing the gestures, …. And you'd roughly end up with the touch experience of Windows 7, which wasn't great.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
satchmo Avatar
62 months ago
Apple pencil support (on trackpad) with more expansive markup tools in macos would be awesome.
I'll go further and suggest touch screens on all Apple products.
I don't understand the opposition.

No, you're not going to draw vertically on an iMac or laptop. But there are plenty of times where a quick finger touch to select a button is quicker than a cursor.

Make it optional. If you don't like using touch...guess what...don't touch the screen.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.3 With Security Keys for Apple ID, New HomePod Support, Bug Fixes and More

Monday January 23, 2023 10:10 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 16.3, the third major update to the iOS 16 operating system that first came out in September. iOS 16.3 comes over a month after the launch of iOS 16.2, an update that added the Freeform app, Apple Music Sing, Advanced Data Protection, and more. iOS 16‌.3 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update....
iOS 16

iOS 16.3 for iPhone Launching Next Week With These 4 New Features

Friday January 20, 2023 11:43 am PST by
In a recent press release, Apple confirmed that iOS 16.3 will be released to the public next week. The software update will be available for the iPhone 8 and newer and includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped bigger features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for Apple ID accounts, worldwide ...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Expected Later This Year With These 7 Exclusive Features

Tuesday January 24, 2023 4:53 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least seven exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the seven features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...
watchOS 9 Feature

Apple Releases watchOS 9.3 With New Watch Face, Bug Fixes

Monday January 23, 2023 10:06 am PST by
Apple today released watchOS 9.3, the third major update to the watchOS 9 operating system that first launched in September. watchOS 9.3 comes over a month after watchOS 9.2, an update that added new Workout functionality and Crash Detection optimizations. watchOS 9.3 can be downloaded for free through the Apple Watch app on the iPhone by opening it up and going to General > Software Update. ...
iPhone trade in

Apple Adjusts Trade-In Values for iPhones, Macs, and More

Wednesday January 25, 2023 9:40 am PST by
After announcing new Mac and HomePod models last week, Apple adjusted its trade-in values for select devices in the United States. iPhone trade-in values decreased by up to $80, and most Android smartphones also went down. Mac trade-in values remained unchanged or increased by up to $40 depending on the model, while some Apple Watch models increased in value and others decreased. Trade-in...
Ventura Macs Feature Blue

Apple Releases macOS Ventura 13.2

Monday January 23, 2023 10:09 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Ventura 13.2, the second major update to the macOS Ventura operating system initially released in October. macOS Ventura 13.2 comes more than a month after macOS Ventura 13.1, an update that added the Freeform app and other changes. The ‌macOS Ventura‌ 13.2 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
Mac mini M2 2023

New 256GB Mac Mini and 512GB MacBook Pro Have Slower SSD Speeds Than Previous Models

Tuesday January 24, 2023 1:11 pm PST by
While the new Mac mini with the M2 chip has a lower $599 starting price, the base model with 256GB of storage has slower SSD read and write speeds compared to the previous-generation model with the M1 chip and 256GB of storage. A teardown of the new Mac mini shared by YouTube channel Brandon Geekabit reveals that the 256GB model is equipped with only a single 256GB storage chip, while the...
apple tv 4k red image

Apple Releases tvOS 16.3

Tuesday January 24, 2023 10:10 am PST by
Apple today released tvOS 16.3, the third major point update to the tvOS 16 operating system that originally came out in September. Available for the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD, tvOS 16.3 comes six weeks after tvOS 16.2, an update that added Apple Music Sing. The tvOS 16.3 update can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the ‌‌‌‌Apple TV‌‌‌‌ by going to System > Software...