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5 Easy Methods to Put Words on Pictures Using Your iPhone

TLDR: Adding text to images on an iPhone is easy using built-in tools like Markup and Freeform, Apple’s Pages app, third-party apps, web apps, or a computer. Each method has its own advantages and limitations. Markup is the simplest, while Pages and computers offer more flexibility. Third-party apps and web apps provide additional features but may have usage restrictions.

Adding words to a picture on your iPhone is simple, whether you’re making notes on a screenshot or creating a funny meme. Here are five methods that work well.

Use the Markup Tool

The easiest way to put words on a picture is to use the iPhone’s Markup tool. You can find it in the Photos app under the Edit feature. This method is quick but has limits. You can pick a font, size, and colour, but there aren’t many fancy effects.

First, save the picture you want to the Photos library. You can usually do this from most apps by tapping and holding the picture and choosing “Save to Photos” from the menu that pops up. You can also find this under the “Share” menu.

Next, open the Photos app and find the picture you want to add words to. Tap “Edit” in the top-right corner of the screen. If you don’t see “Edit,” tap the picture once to show the Photos buttons.

Now tap the “Markup” button in the top-right corner. It looks like a pen tip and is next to the “…” icon.

If it’s a Live Photo, you’ll see a warning that this mode will be turned off if you keep going. Tap “OK” and the Markup screen will open.

At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see various pens, pencils, erasers, a ruler, a colour wheel, and a “+” button. Tap the “+” button and choose “Add Text” to put a text box on your picture.

You can now move the text box to where you want it. Tap (or double-tap) inside the box to edit the words and type your message using the keyboard.

Use the tools at the bottom of the screen to change the font, size, alignment, formatting, and colour of the text. When choosing a colour, you can also adjust the see-through level of your words.

When you’re done, tap “Done” in the top-right corner. You can edit your words later by going back to the Markup menu using the pen icon in the top-right corner. Share your picture as usual from the Photos app and the words will be included.

Try Freeform

Freeform is Apple’s tool for working together on a whiteboard. It’s made for adding pictures, shapes, words, handwriting, and more to a big canvas, so it’s great for mixing words and pictures in one place.

To start, get Freeform from the App Store (it’s free). Then start a new board using the “New” button in the top-right corner.

Tap the “Media” button in the bottom-right corner and choose “Photos or Videos” to pick a picture from your Photos library, or “Insert from…” to choose a picture from Files. You can also tap anywhere on the canvas and use “Paste” to add a picture from your clipboard.

With your picture in place, tap the “Text Box” button at the bottom of the screen. Move the text box where you want it, then double-tap inside it to edit your words. Use the text tools above the keyboard to change the size, colour, and alignment of your words.

Add more pictures and words if you like. When you’re ready to save, tap the “…” button and choose “Export as PDF,” then choose where to save it.

Finally, open the Shortcuts app and make a new Shortcut. Add the “Make Image from PDF Page” action to a new workflow. Change the “PNG Image” variable to whatever you want, and the “PDF” variable to “Shortcut Input.” Add a “Save to Photo Album” action, then tap the “i” button and make sure “Show in Share Sheet” is checked. Name your Shortcut something like “PDF Page to Image” and save it.

Now open the PDF, tap Share, and tap the “PDF Page to Image” Shortcut you just made. Your picture will be in Photos, where you can crop and trim it as needed.

Use Pages

Pages is Apple’s free word-processing app, similar to Microsoft Word. It has some interesting uses, even though using a word processor to edit pictures has some obvious drawbacks. With a few workarounds, you might find it works for you.

First, download Pages from the App Store (it’s free). Open it and make a new blank document using the “Start Writing” option, ignoring Apple’s templates.

With a new document open, tap the “+” button and select the media tab. You can choose “Photo or Video” to import from your Photos library, or use “Insert from…” to add from Files. You can also tap and hold, then choose “Paste” to add a picture from your clipboard.

Tap your picture to select it, then tap the “Formatting” paintbrush icon to show more options. Under “Arrange,” choose “More Options,” then set “Text Wrap” to “None.” This tells Pages not to move text around if it overlaps with the picture.

Now, tap the “+” button again and, on the diagrams tab, select “Text” to add a text box. Double-tap inside the box and edit the words as needed. When you’re done, tap the text box to select it, then use the “Formatting” paintbrush icon to edit the font, size, colour, and more on the “Text” tab.

Add more pictures, diagrams, or whatever else you want. Then tap the “…” button and choose “Export,” followed by “Images,” to export as a picture. Use the “Save Image” button to add the picture to your Photos library.

Lastly, find the picture in Photos and tap “Edit,” then crop out the white space. You can now share your picture.

Use Third-Party Apps

There are many apps that let you add words to pictures, but most of them cost money. This means you might run into limits like small export sizes, watermarks, and locked features.

On the plus side, these apps make it easy to add fancy text to a picture. Two options you could try that have decent free versions are Phonto and Add Text.

You could also use Instagram’s Story Creator for this, but it has limits too. The results will be tall and need cropping, and the quality isn’t great. The tools are basic, but they can look good, and you can add stickers and emojis if you want.

Open Instagram and tap “Compose” at the bottom of the screen. Select “Story” in the bottom-right corner.

Next, choose a picture you want to add words to using the media picker in the bottom-left corner.

Tap anywhere to add text, then use the tools at the top of the screen to change alignment, colour, background, and spacing.

Tap “Done,” then add anything else you want to your picture using the included tools. When you’re ready, tap the “…” button in the top-right corner, then select “Save.” The picture will be saved to your camera roll.

Now open Photos, find the picture, tap “Edit,” and crop it how you like. You can now share it like any other picture.

Use a Web App

Web apps also work for adding words to pictures. In my tests, Pixlr seemed like the best option. With the mobile-friendly fast editor Pixlr Express, you get three free saves per day before you have to pay.

To start, go to the Pixlr Express website and tap “Open Image,” then “Photo Library” or “Choose Files.” Find the picture you want to add words to. Pixlr may ask you to resize the picture. Tap Apply to start.

Use the toolbar at the bottom of the screen to select “Text,” then choose “Add new text” or one of the fancy text tools.

Scroll down and change the “Text” box to whatever you want the words to say. You can then adjust other things like size, color, and so on. You can add a curve, warp, background, outline, and shadow to the text if you want.

Move the text where you want it. Add more words or other effects to your picture, then tap “Save” at the top of the screen to export it when you’re done.

Choose a format, size, and quality level for the image, then use the “Download” button to save it.

Or, Use a Computer

Adding words to a picture on your iPhone can be tricky, and the options aren’t great. The small screen isn’t ideal for graphic design work. If you want to get creative, you’re better off using a computer instead.

There are many free and low-cost editors you can use for this, like Affinity Photo and other budget-friendly Photoshop alternatives, or totally free image editors like GIMP.


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