How to use your iPhone or iPad to sketch in Mac documents with your Apple Pencil or finger

sketch Mac documents

With the new iOS 13, iPadOS and macOS Catalina feature called Continuity Sketch, you can use your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to sketch in Mac documents with your Apple Pencil or finger.

Continuity is Apple’s umbrella term for a set of technologies that allow different devices that are in close proximity of one another to work better together. Continuity is what makes it possible for you to pick up on one device right where you left off from another. Your Mac can receive cellular phone calls through your nearby iPhone using Continuity.

TUTORIAL: How to use Continuity Camera

Continuity is available for other system features. As of iOS 13 and iPadOS, it even lets you draw with pressure in Mac apps with an Apple Pencil (or finger) on your iPad (or iPhone).

Basically, Continuity turns your tablet into a professional graphics tablet for the Mac.

Continuity Sketch system requirements

Continuity Sketch requires iOS 13, iPadOS and macOS Catalina or later. The feature is supported by the following Apple device models:

iPhone and iPod touch

  • iPhone 6s or newer
  • iPhone SE
  • iPod touch (7th generation) or newer


  • iPad Pro (all models)
  • iPad (5th generation) or newer
  • iPad Air 2 or newer
  • iPad mini 4 or newer


  • MacBook introduced in 2015 or later
  • MacBook Air introduced in 2012 or later
  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2012 or later
  • Mac mini introduced in 2012 or later
  • iMac introduced in 2012 or later
  • iMac Pro (all models)
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2013 or later

Your Mac and iOS device must have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on and be signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID using two-factor authentication.

Continuity Sketch Mac documents

Follow along with us as we show you how to sketch a quick drawing for a document on your Mac with your iPad and Apple Pencil thanks to Continuity Sketch.

How to sketch in Mac documents on iOS

Follow the steps below in order to request a new sketch from your iOS device and insert it into the document you’re working on on your Mac.

1) Open a document on your Mac.

2) Request a sketch from your iOS device by clicking either the File or the Insert menu, then choose Insert from [device] → Add Sketch. Alternatively, Control-click within the document and choose the option Add Sketch from the shortcut menu.

Whether you click the File or Insert menu depends on the specific app. In Apple apps like Pages or Keynote, for example, you must click the Insert menu instead of the File menu.

sketch Mac documents
Change pens, select color, add text or vector objects and more while sketching.

3) Your Mac should open a sketch window.Now hit the rightmost icon that resembles a graphics tablet and a pencil and choose the iOS device to use for sketching. The sketch window will get transferred to the selected iOS device, even if it was sleeping.

TUTORIAL: How to sign a PDF on your Mac notebook using its trackpad

You only need to select your preferred iOS device the first time you use Continuity Sketch. From that point on, the sketch will open automatically on your last-used iOS device.

4) Create your sketch now! Take full advantage of pressure drawing to create a more natural sketch with line width and style reacting to stroke pressure.

5) When satisfied with the results, tap Done to finish sketching and send your drawing wirelessly to the computer and have it automatically inserted into the document.

sketch Mac documents
The sketch appears in your Mac document.

And just like that, you’re created a vector drawing on your iPad using your pressure-sensing Apple Pencil stylus! As mentioned, it gets automatically inserted where you want it without you having to do anything, no apps needed, no setup required, no nothing — it just works.

Continue Sketch works with any Apple or third-party app designed to support the feature, including Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Mail, Messages, Notes and TextEdit.

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