How to markup and annotate your photos on iPhone or iPad

Markup is a nimble annotation tool first introduced to iPhone and iPad in late 2015, which has since been showing up in more and more places throughout the OS. Here at iDB, Markup’s strengths have been illustrated widely (read on to learn about Markup in emails, or to find out about Markup in Messages), this being said there is always a little tidbit almost slipping through the cracks when Apple quietly update their software.

With the next one, it is a particularly useful tip because it essentially supplants (basic) third-party apps stored on your iPhone to do editing work in your own Camera Roll. Markup is mostly understood to be only at your disposal whenever you are sending media, but meanwhile it has also become a well hidden tool available for your personal use inside the Photos app. Once you know where to find it, you might quickly grow fond of doodling on your very own snapshots. Here’s the shortest path to the feature in Photos:

It is all but certain that future versions of iOS are going to herald in plenty of interface changes and I am confident the Markup icon in Photos will be displayed more prominently in the future, but for now we will have to work with what we’re given. Locating it inside the Photos app is definitely not impossible if you know what you are looking for – but that’s the crux of it, because who is going to if they’re oblivious to its existence in the first place. Friends and family of mine were unanimously unaware, so here’s the trick.

How to Markup your own pictures in iOS 10

1) Launch Photos and pick the snapshot of yours that you want to annotate or doodle on.

2) I have been handed a cup that really offers itself for some sketching. 
To get to the Markup tool, I first click the edit icon located in the upper right corner of the screen.

3) From here, we need to go deeper another layer. Again sitting at the bottom of the screen, find and touch the white circle with the three dots in its center. Does not look like the most intuitive place for Markup, does it?

annotate photos on iphone

4) One more extra step and we’re there. The dotted circle summons another option tab, at long last presenting us with the Markup icon. Click it and you’re good.

Launch Markup in iOS Photos app

5) You will be familiar with the Markup interface by now, so go ahead and sketch or write on your photo. When you are content with your work, find the Done command in the top right corner.

Markup photos iPhone

6) The operating system takes you back to the previous editing layer, where you will have to confirm your final work one more time, this time in the bottom right corner (Done). Don’t worry, your annotations are never irreversible and you can always launch Photos again and rid your snaps of the sketches.

Save your marked up photo

Your work is done. If you ever second-guess your doodles whilst browsing your gallery, rest assured that reverting the photo back to its original state is only three clicks away:

1) As pictured in Step 2 above, hit the edit icon first.

2) The editing options will now include a red Revert button, ready to salvage your original photo. If that’s what you need, click it.

markup tutorial revert photos111

3) A text field will pop up warning you that Reverting to original will remove all edits and cannot be undone. Click Revert to Original one final time and the photo is wiped clean again.

Keep in mind that an edited photo does not only appear altered in your own albums, but it will also be fully marked-up when shared with friends. While I have chosen to document this tutorial on iPhone, the same steps of course also apply for the iPad owners among you.