How to sign PDFs on your iPhone or iPad

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Apple Pencil vs dumb stylus: This old Wacom Bamboo is more than enough
Signing and returning PDFs on your iPhone is easier than doing it on paper.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Scenario: Your divorce papers finally came through, and you can’t wait to sign the things. The trouble is, your spouse already took your office and your home, and you have no way to print or fax the documents.  Or perhaps you need to stick your autograph on some other document, but all you have is your iPhone or iPad.

No worries. With recent versions of iOS, it’s easier than ever to sign a PDF form and return it to the sender. In fact, you don’t even need to leave the Mail app to do it.

Take control of your Apple Pencil 2

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Like everything else, the new Apple Pencil is better.
Like everything else, the new Apple Pencil is better.
Photo: Andrea Nepori

The Apple Pencil 2 is way better than version 1.0. It’s always charged. It’s always there on the side of your iPad, ready to use. And now that it supports tap gestures, it’s also a lot more powerful. But it doesn’t stop there.

Check out these excellent Apple Pencil 2 tips and tricks to take your Apple stylus usage to the next level.

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. iOS markup for screenshots, PDFs and Photos was already good, but new options for the pen tools make it great.

ShotBox brings instant screenshot markup to the Mac

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shotbox
If you've used screenshot markup on iOS, you already know how ShotBox works.
Photo: Josh Parnham

If you like Instant Markup on iOS, then you’re going to love ShotBox. It’s a free app, available from the Mac App Store, that automatically pops up a panel of markup tools whenever you take a screenshot. It’s almost exactly like the Instant Markup tools built into iOS 11.

How to use Instant Notes and Instant Markup in iOS 11

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instant markup and notes
Instant Markup and Instant Notes are designed with a touchscreen in mind.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The Apple Pencil is way more useful in iOS 11 than it ever was before. That’s down to three new features. One is inline drawing in the Notes app, which lets you just start drawing anywhere in the middle of a text note. The other two, which we’ll cover today, are Instant Notes and Instant Markup, only one of which is actually instant.

Instant Notes lets you tap the lock screen of your iPad Pro, and have the iPad launch into a note, ready to draw or jot. It makes the iPad almost as convenient as a piece of paper in terms of just writing. Instant Markup, which is the least “instant” of the two, is a persistent, system-wide way to turn the screen into a PDF and mark it up.