If you have a stylus with your iPad and you use it to enter text, you will like iPadOS 14. The annual update of the system dedicated to tablets indeed integrates several new features only for Apple Pencil users, or still from Logitech Pencil. The most impressive is the “doodle” function, which allows you to enter text by writing it by hand. Here’s what it does in the Notes app:
You’ll notice the new tool in the bottom bar, which lets iPadOS 14 know that you’re writing text and will need to transcribe it live. If you use another virtual pencil, then your lines are kept as before. On the right side of this interface, a few buttons allow, in Notes, to modify the style of the text, to go to the line or even to insert a table. These options vary from app to app, but the miniature keyboard and line feed should be everywhere.
You don’t need to be in a text editor or note manager to use the doodle feature of iPadOS 14. It actually works in all text fields, including in a parameter field or in the system search field, for example. To activate this function, just start writing with the stylus and the system will understand that you want to scribble words.
In addition to handwriting recognition, Apple has added several gestures to manage text with the stylus. For example, quickly crossing out a word makes it possible to delete it quickly. Surrounding an item allows you to select it, and you can then write text to replace the selection. You can also place the stylus for a few seconds in the middle of a word or sentence and then insert text.
It all works very well in this first beta, even if you have to take the helping hand. Besides, Doodle is only officially available in English and even if the recognition also works in French, it is then much more difficult not to write anything. And if you write in any way (like the author of these lines), recognition will obviously be disrupted, even if Apple has made great strides in this area.
These advances also serve beyond the doodle function. If you write handwritten text with your Apple Pencil, iPadOS 14 can recognize it, analyze it, and treat it as text entered with a keyboard, without deleting the plots. In the Notes app, you can select the text thus detected with a double tap and then copy it as a drawing, or as text.
Again, this works much better in English than in French. And with good writing, it’s very fast and efficient: the title of the note is updated in real time. Nothing to do with the old system in the Notes app, which worked well when he wanted to.
The same data detection system found for several years in iOS is also applied to this handwritten text. If you quickly write down a phone number, for example, you can then touch it to initiate a call. Same for a postal address, an email or other.
Last major novelty for the stylus, you can now create “perfect” shapes. Draw a rough square or circle, leave the tip of the Apple Pencil or pencil on the screen for a second or two more and iPadOS 14 will convert the shape in stride. It works with ellipses, rectangles, triangles, lines and even more complex shapes like arrows, stars, clouds or comic bubbles. Note that this is not limited to Notes, all apps that use PencilKit will benefit.
The Doodle function is reserved for iPads, as is intelligent text selection. Geometric shapes, on the other hand, can also be created on an iPhone, just holding your finger on the screen for a second or two after drawing a shape by hand.