Pro Tip: Instant Markup gets way better in iOS 12

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This is how it feels to use iOS 12's new Markup tools
This is how it feels to use iOS 12's new Markup tools
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bug iOS 12 doesn’t really have any huge new standout features. It’s more a collection of really solid improvements to iOS 11. It sounds odd to say that my favorite new feature is Do Not Disturb during Bedtime, but it’s made a big difference in how I use my iPhone.

Likewise with today’s Pro Tip. Markup for screenshots, PDFs and Photos was already good, but new options for the pen tools make it great.

The best Apple Pencil apps that aren’t for drawing

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apple-pencil-jar
Don't leave your Apple Pencil in the jar.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You have a new iPad, and you have a new Apple Pencil. Time to learn how to draw, right? Not necessarily. Just like a regular pen or pencil, there are ton of other things you can do with an Apple Pencil. You can write, of course, but you can also play games, compose musical scores, do coloring in books, edit photos, and even play the Apple Pencil like a musical instrument.

Let’s take a look at the best non-drawing apps for Apple Pencil.

How to replace a paper notebook with your iPad

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lock screen notes
The iPad might finally be better than paper.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPad has replaced many things — it’s a TV, it’s a games console, it’s a book, it’s a (huge) camera, and it’s even a typewriter. But until recently, it hasn’t made a very good alternative to paper. But thanks to the Apple Pencil, and to iOS 11, that has changed. Now you can write and draw a note without even unlocking your iPad, and you can search for anything you write, just as if it were text. Let’s check out lock-screen notes.

How to add sketches and diagrams to emails in iOS 11

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Drawing
If you misspell your markups, you can even go back and edit them before sending.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel / Cult of Mac

If you’re explaining something to another human in person, you’ll often reach for a pencil and paper to make it easier. Perhaps you’re drawing a map, or a quick diagram of that chest of drawers you think would look great in the guest room.

And that’s in person, where gestures and feedback from the listener help communication. Given the limits of email, then, wouldn’t a sketch, chart, or diagram be even more useful? The answer is a resounding “probably,” and the best news you’ll hear today is that it is dead easy to add a drawing to your emails, even without an Apple pencil, and even on an iPhone.

Watch Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto draw Mario on an iPad Pro

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Mr. Miyamoto tries out a freehand sketch on the iPad Pro.
Mr. Miyamoto tries out a freehand sketch on the iPad Pro.
Photo: Apple

Apple and Nintendo have become a match made in heaven, thanks to the Super Mario Run game that debuted today for iPhone and iPad.

To celebrate the game’s launch, Super Mario Run creator Shigeru Miyamoto showed how he draws the iconic videogame character using an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

Watch him sketch below:

Astropad turns your iPad Pro into an amazing wireless drawing tablet

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Draw on your Mac via your iPad Pro. Slick!
Draw on your Mac via your iPad Pro. Slick!
Photo: Giovanni Donelli/Astropad

Digital artists know that there’s no substitution for a graphics tablet when trying to draw on your Mac, except maybe the iPad Pro and Pencil.

Astropad co-founder Matt Ronge thinks his company’s $20 app, when combined with an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, can match and even exceed the current champ of the tablet world, the Wacon Cintiq.

“iPad Pro is an amazing drawing platform but iOS is far too limited for the professional artist,” says Ronge. “So we wanted a way where we could get the best of both worlds, the power and flexibility of the Mac coupled with the touch interface of the iPad.”

Stress-busting app will engross your inner child

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recolor - 1
Who knew coloring could be so restful, even for adults?
Photo: Recolor

One way I can often determine if an app is worth my time is by putting it through a specific test. If I get so sucked into an app that I forget I’m actually supposed to be gathering thoughts to write up a review, it’s because that app is generally pretty awesome. I had this somewhat rare experience with Recolor, a new coloring book app for adults on iOS.