Freeform Not Working? How-to Fix

It’s not all that often that Apple creates and releases a new app for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The most recent example, before iOS 16.2, was Shortcuts, but even that was already available as an app called Workflow before Apple acquired it and turned it into the app that we know and use today.

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Productivity apps are a dime-a-dozen, with so many new apps being released onto the App Store on a regular basis. But just like the iWorks suite, there are also a suite of productivity-focused tools pre-installed on every iPhone. Apple continues to make improvements to the likes of Reminders and Notes, and with iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, and macOS Ventura 13.1, Freeform is the latest productivity tool to come from Cupertino.

What Is Freeform?

Collaboration has been a big theme for Apple this year, and it continues with iPadOS 16. Freeform is an upcoming productivity App that allows you and others to work together using a single blank canvas. You can jot down notes using the Apple Pencil, or go down the traditional route of just sharing files, web links, videos, and more.

You’ll be able to invite multiple collaborators, share a link, and get started. Plus, all of the changes happen in real-time, so you can see what ideas are happening, as they happen. The feature finally arrived with the release of iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, and macOS Ventura 13.1.

Freeform Not Working? Delete and Reinstall

It should come as little surprise that you might run into a few issues here and there when trying to use Freeform for the first time. Even with a company as massive as Apple, with a plethora of developers working on different teams at any given time, there are sure to be bugs and kinks that need to be worked out. This even extends to Freeform, as some users have found that the app simply won’t work after updating to iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, or macOS Ventura 13.1.

If this happens to you, the easiest way to fix Freeform not working is to simply delete and reinstall the app. As is the case with most of the pre-installed apps on your iPhone or iPad, Apple makes these available on the App Store just in case.

  1. Locate the Freeform app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Long-press the app icon until your Home Screen enters “jiggle” mode.
  3. Tap the  icon in the top left corner.
  4. From the prompt, tap Delete App button.
  5. Open the App Store.
  6. Tap the Search button in the bottom right of the toolbar.
  7. Enter Freeform in the search box.
  8. Tap the Redownload icon (looks like a cloud with an arrow pointing down).

Can’t Download Freeform? How to Fix

One issue that arose following the release of Freeform with iOS 16.2 is that the app was supposedly available on the iPhone, but it wouldn’t load. This likely has something to do with the files that are being stored, especially if you tried using the app on the Mac or iPad before doing so on your iPhone. In order to get things back in working order, you’ll need to delete Freeform from your iPhone’s storage manually, instead of just deleting it like you did in the steps above.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap iPhone Storage.
  4. Scroll through the list of apps and tap Freeform when you locate it.
  5. Tap the Delete App button at the bottom of the page.
  6. Tap Delete App again to confirm.
  7. Restart your iPhone or iPad.
  8. Open the App Store.
  9. Tap the Search button in the bottom right of the toolbar.
  10. Enter Freeform in the search box.
  11. Tap the Redownload icon (looks like a cloud with an arrow pointing down).

Once you’ve deleted the Freeform app from your iPhone Storage settings, you’ll be able to jump into the App Store and redownload Freeform. Just make sure you restart your iPhone first in order to knock out any of the cobwebs.

Can’t Share Freeform Projects?

Along with providing a blank canvas to map out and work on any of your projects, the main goal of Freeform is to easily collaborate with others. Each Freeform “Board” acts as a separate project, allowing you to share the Board with another iPhone, iPad, or Mac user, and have multiple people adding things or making changes. But what if you can’t share Freeform projects? Well, we’ve found a fix that might work for you.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap [your name] at the top of the page.
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Under the Apps Using iCloud section, tap the Show All button.
  5. Locate Freeform from the list of apps.
  6. Tap the toggle next to Freeform to the On position.
  7. When prompted, tap the Merge button.
  8. Open the Freeform app.
  9. Select the Board that you want to share.
  10. Tap the Share icon in the top right corner.
  11. Select how you want to share the invitation to the Freeform board.

Surprisingly, despite one of the goals being collaboration, iCloud for Freeform is not enabled by default. You’ll need to enable this functionality, and “merge” your local Freeform Boards with iCloud in order to share them with others.

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