How To: Use Instant Markup on iOS 11

In the course of my day-to-day writing, I find myself taking a lot of screenshots on my iOS devices. A LOT! It’s not just for writing though - when friends or family ask me how to perform a certain action on their iPhone, the ability to take screenshots and mark them up on the fly is extremely handy. 

This is a quick guide on how to use the Instant Markup feature on iOS 11. 


When you take a screenshot in iOS 11, you’ll see a PiP (Picture in Picture) window appear in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. Tapping on this PiP takes you into the Instant Markup window, offering a variety of annotation tools for your screenshot. You CAN take multiple screenshots if you wish. These are stored in a PiP drawer however you can’t hang around. After five seconds, the Instant Markup PiP will disappear. 

The PiP appears by default and currently, there is no ability to disable this in iOS 11. Hopefully, this will change soon as this functionality certainly isn’t for everyone.



When you are in the Instant Markup window, you’ll see some tools at the bottom. There is a marker, highlighter, pencil, eraser and magic rope. You can change the colour of each of these tools as well. Currently, there are six to choose from: red, yellow, green, blue, black and white.

There is a More button that offers some other annotations:

  • Text - adding a text field is a commonly used feature when annotating. Tap once to add the field, then again to bring up the keyboard and type your text. 
  • Signature - if you have a signature saved in Preview, then you can access this here. 
  • Magnifier - you may wish to enlarge a portion of the screen. Tap the Magnifier option to drop a magnifying glass onto the screenshot and then manoeuvre into position. You can adjust the size using the sizing bars on the circle. 
  • Shapes - there are several shapes you can add - square, circle, speech bubble and arrow. These can be filled, or outline only and like the magnifier, they are easily resized. 

You can also crop the screenshot as a whole. Touch and hold an edge, or a corner and you can cut out the unwanted portion.



When you have finished your edits, press Done and you’ll have the option of either saving your screenshot to Photos, or deleting as appropriate.

Adding Photos to Contacts on iOS

It’s a feature that not many people utilise but adding pictures to the contacts in your iPhone or iPad is a great way to add a touch of you to your iOS device. 

There are many ways you can assign pictures - lets start with the Photosapp. 

1) Start by launching the Photos app on your iOS device

2) Find the photo you would like to use 

3) Tap the Share icon in the bottom left hand corner

4) Select Assign to Contact

5) Find the contact you wish to assign it to then tap on them. 

6) Move and Scale the picture to suit and tap Choose

Job done!


You can use the Contacts application directly for this as well:

1) Launch the Contacts app and find the contact you wish to modify.

2) Click Edit in the top right hand corner.

3) You’ll see that on the left hand side, you have the circular placeholder for the image. Tap on edit below. 

4) You’ll see a pop up menu, allowing you to either Take a Photo or Choose a Photo from the camera roll. Choose your option. 

5) Move and scale the picture to suit and you’re done!

My Photos Workflow - thanks to CameraSync

Since acquiring my iPhone 5S, my camera usage has gone up. Now I've never been into photography and never will. It's not my bag. I mean I enjoy snapping the kids and preserving some special memories but I've never been into the whole photography gig, using DSLR's and whatnot - not my thing. 

I do, however, want to be sure that the few photos that I take are dealt with efficiently, always available and by using as little effort as possible. 

Thankfully, I've been able to develop a workflow that achieves this. 

1) CameraSync

CameraSync is a superb app for the iPhone and I recommend it wholeheartedly. I know that Dropbox uploading is free, as opposed to CameraSync being £1.99, however the features that CameraSync comes with elevate it above the competition. Thanks to CameraSync, I can:

  • Automatically upload my photos to Google Drive
  • Decide which folder(s) will be uploaded - Camera Roll, My Photo Stream, any individual streams etc. 
  • Stop syncing screenshots - something that's been a constant annoyance to me. 
  • Sync Videos together with photos
  • Sync over 3G/4G if I like, or only when I'm on a WiFi connection
  • Set reminders to Sync at certain times. 
  • Only sync in certain locations, such as at home, in the office etc

That's a good feature list as I'm sure you will agree. 

So what I do is set it to automatically sync My Photo Stream. I've set my iPhone to NOT save Burst Photos to my Photo Stream to help trim the amount of photos being uploaded. 

Once these are synced and I have a folder on Google Drive with all of my photos, the next piece of magic happens on my MacBook Pro when I login

2) Hazel

Has to be Hazel really doesn't it! Hazel watches the photo/video upload folder in Google Drive and performs the following rules:

I used to rename my media and video files when they synced across, however one of the great things about CameraSync is the filenames used include the date the photo was taken - so I'm keeping the filenames as they are. 

What Hazel is doing above is taking the media files and sorting them into Subfolders based on the date they were added to Google Drive. The folder will be along the lines of 2014 - 8 - Photos. This ensures they are in sequence in Finder.

 Seeing as I have an OmniFocus reminder set to run every day to remind me to run CameraSync, this isn't a problem for me at all to have the folders setup like this and the times I'll have a file slip into the wrong folder are very few and far between. Mainly if I take a photo towards the end of the month, late at night. Not a problem for me at all. If I was that worried, I could set up another Hazel rule on the subfolder to ensure that any files with '- 09' in the filename are moved to the appropriate folder. It's all do-able. 

So that's how my photos are managed. Precious little effort really other than paying £1.99 for a wicked app and running Camera Sync every so often.