Comparing Ideas with Audio on iPhone with Live Sketchpad

There are many apps available for the iPhone that help you compare notes with coworkers or friends, but Live Sketchpad is unique in that it allows you to add voice notes to images or sketches and also allows you to place calls to those you are conferring with. If you're looking for an app to help you simply compare notes, this isn't the one, but it is if you would like to actually hear what your coworker or friend thinks and compare ideas.

Note: It should be noted that this app was advertised as working with iPad. It does, but it's native to the iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus, and it only works in portrait mode. Many times iPads are used in a case or with a keyboard that keeps it in landscape mode. Because of this, the app was only reviewed on the iPhone.


Live Sketchpad can be downloaded for free from the App Store.


Opening the app, it asks you to sign in. Do this by choosing the country you reside in along with your mobile phone number. Once you provide your number, it will send you a verification code via a text to your phone. Once signed in, you remain signed in, and there is no option to log out. Because I wanted to go back and check some of my details for review, I needed to delete the app and reinstall it in order to go back to the login screen.

Additionally, as was noted earlier, I did try the app on the iPad and found it not as useful since it only works in portrait mode. Even though I signed in both my iPad and my iPhone with the same phone number, the two didn't connect. Documents created on my iPhone did not show up on my iPad.

Creating a Document

Live Sketchpad allows you to either create your own drawing or import a photo and sketch notes on that. If choosing to draw your own image, they have a grid function to help. It provides both cell and line grids.


I find it a little difficult to sketch on the small screen of my iPhone 5, grid or no grid, so I chose to import a photo. They have construction going on all over our area, complicating transportation. After first choosing to "Start New Book," I imported a map showing home and my daughter's work location to help show her an alternate way to get to work. I clicked on "File" to import it which also gave me the options of taking an image or importing PDF, DOC, or XLS.


I then set about drawing the pathway to my daughter's work. I chose the pen color in the "Color" option and stuck with the basic line thickness, but could have broadened it with the "Pixel" option. There is also an "Eraser" option to delete mistakes made when drawing. One annoying thing was that when I would zoom in on the image to draw the pathway, then set my color to red, it would automatically zoom me out. I had to choose the color, then zoom it, and then it was hard to move the image around and not accidentally draw.

Adding Voice Notes


This is a great option. While I could draw all I wanted on the screen, I couldn't tell my daughter what I wanted to tell her other than through voice. So I created a voice note to explain this was a different way for her to get to work. I used the option "Voice" and recorded my note to her. After it's recorded, you can drag it around the screen to place it where you want it.

Sending Documents

To send this document, you just need to click on the envelope icon on the bottom of the screen. You can choose from your list of friends or coworkers that you have added to the app. To add friends, use the back arrow at the top left of the screen, then click on the "Users" icon in the upper right of the subsequent screen. This brings you to a page with a list of the people you have already linked up with and an "Invite" button on the top. If the user isn't currently using the app, you can send them an invite to, and if they already are, you can search for them by phone number with the "Add" icon in the upper right.

Calling Other Users


Once both you and the other user are looking at the same image or drawing, you can call each other and talk live. If you hit the "phone" icon on the bottom right of the document screen, it will call the other user, and you can converse through the app.


There are multiple uses for this app. Again, if you're just looking for a drawing app to share with colleagues or friends, this isn't the one for you. But if you're looking for an app to aid you in working something out visually and verbally along with a coworker or friend, it could be of great help.

How do you share visual ideas with your friends? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker - Contributor

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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