macOS Catalina will let you sign documents using iPhone or iPad

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iPhone-signature
It beats using a trackpad.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

The updated Preview app in macOS Catalina will let you sign documents using your iPhone or iPad. The process takes just a few clicks and works with any device running iOS 13 or iPadOS.

It’s easy to sign PDFs and other documents on an iPhone or iPad — especially if you use the latter with an Apple Pencil. But it’s not so simply on a Mac, where trying to sign with a mouse or trackpad never really works out well.

That’s going to change with Preview in macOS Catalina, which will let you upload a signature using a touchscreen.

Preview plays nicely with iPhone and iPad

You will see three options for uploading a signature in Preview. The trackpad and camera options that were there before still remain, alongside “iPhone or iPad.”

If you choose iPhone or iPad, you’ll be prompted to select one of your devices. Anything running iOS 12 or later will show up, but only those running iOS 13 will actually work, MacRumors reports.

Once you’ve selected your device, a simple signature interface will pop up on its screen and you’ll be able to use your finger or Apple Pencil (on iPad) to make your mark.

Your signature will be immediately available in Preview on your Mac as soon as you tap the “Done” button on your iOS device.

It’s not quite perfect yet

Preview should hold onto your signature for future use. You can add another by going into the Tools menu, selecting Annotate then Signature, then choosing Manage Signatures followed by Create Signatures.

It seems there are some teething troubles Apple still has to iron out — which isn’t surprising given that these are the first beta releases of iOS 13, iPadOS, and macOS Catalina. One is that the signature UI won’t appear on your iOS device unless you unlock it first.

macOS Catalina, iOS 13, and iPad OS will be available for free this fall. The first public betas will go live next month.