673: Apple's New Freeform App

I honestly don’t see what the point of this app is.

They should have focused on enhancing Notes and embedding these features in a transparent way for power users.


Its a 21st century whiteboard that allows you to argue with someone that’s not in the room with you - trying to grab the marker in your hand. :grinning:


I use it for my own notes and think it’s pretty great.

Apple has more than enough resources to work on Notes and this. That said, Apple doesn’t make free apps for power users.


Haven’t listened to the episode yet, but didn’t see Curio in the show notes.
Curio has a lot of similar functionality (and much more), save for the collaboration feature. It’s one of those sleeper apps that doesn’t get a lot of attention.


David and Stephen mentioned the distinction between collaborative and individual usages…that really resonated with me.

As an individual, I love having the digital “space” to drop images, notes, lines, shapes, etc. as part of my thinking. I spend a lot of time thinking about processes (e.g. functions, steps in a flow, decision points, outputs). Having the ability to grab my ipad and pencil, open Freeform, and jot handwritten notes with shapes and arrows is exactly the kind of app I’ve been looking for. It really aligns with some of my thinking styles.

My family and I are planning a big event next summer and we are dropping images, notes, colors palettes, map images onto a canvas as a brainstorming board. So far, my family I have enjoyed the expansive canvas.

That being said, it’s clearly a v1.0 product. For me, it’s a v1.0 that is scratching several of my itches.


2 cents: Apple is most likely following the same approach, with Freeform that they take with a lot of their other software which is to launch an initial version with the basic functionality that meets the needs of the widest spectrum of users. I suspect, if Freeform “sticks” they will eventually add more features over time and make the app more valuable to more people.

I’m already look at Freeform to replace apps like Miro, Omnigraffle, Pinboard, etc. It’s a great “visual inbox” for me. Fingers crossed they launch a Mac version.

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Thank you S&D: Great episode… Would LOVE to hear ongoing MPU update episodes on Apple NOTES, REMINDERS, FREEFORM and MINDNODE too as you both make progress ! Hopefully more frequently than a year ot two out.

It will always be a “tissue box” to me. Share arrow, arrow box is fine but it looks like a tissue box and anyone I am helping knows immediately what I am referring to.


One correction for @MacSparky who seems to be under the impression that connecting a object to another object with an arrow doesn’t stick when one of the objects is moved. When using a line, it’s important to use the third line option, which has the node in the middle. That line option will connect to objects together.


Fun episode. I agree with David’s assessment that the existence of Freeform feels like an act of goodwill, or a principled belief something like it should be widely available.

The four Fs from the More segment also resonate.


I don’t see how the core concept of this app, which for me is its infinite canvas that you can place text and other media on, fits at all well with the concept of notes which is, well, keeping notes.

I use Notes a lot for personal things, but the other day I just wanted to have a space to put some information and web links about mods for a game I’m playing. Doing it in Freeform was quick, simple, and looked good with the rich links the app added (small cards with the main page image).
It was really nice to use. It is also very clearly different from all Apple’s other apps. A lovely addition I think and something I’ll keep returning to when the need fits.


I am excited to see where this goes. I used to use a great web app (awwapp.com) before it was acquired by Miro. What I liked was it’s simple UX (FF accomplishes this) and it also gave templating and simple/uncomplicated private linking options that made it very appealing from an easy-implementation perspective. All other services have yet to be as satisfying for me. I hope (but am doubtful) that Apple will expand this outside of Messages/Mac applications.

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Created an EISENHOWER Matrix in Freeform :muscle:. LOVE :heart: it !
Still figuring out new ways to use this app. :blush:

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Thanks @Denny I’m adding this to the feedback list.

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I have tested Freeform a little and I am sure I will find uses in due course. It is intuitive and I think the ability to link files could be significant. My main concern is that infinite canvasses could grow to contain so much information that one could lose track.
I have used Literature and Latte’s “Scapple” for several years for planning and as a freeform information organiser. I have also used OmniGraffle on occasions, but Scapple is much simpler. I do not think Scapple gets the attention it deserves, but the lack of an iPad version is probably a downside. I can’t see myself swapping Scapple for Freeform at the moment for my needs.



Yes, another underrated application!
Its constraints ensure ones focus is on thinking, rather than window dressing.


@Poromies - welcome!

Hadn’t heard of Scapple before, this app looks amazing! Instabuy!

Thanks for sharing.

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I hope it was still on sale at Winterfest!

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