15 Best iPad Apps for Designers in 2022

These apps will help you with every aspect of your workflow.

iPad Apps for Designers 2022

Take a look around and think that everything was once a digital design or on paper.

There’s also a notion that designers use heavy machinery, but that’s not the truth.

You can use an iPad and design clothes for your next fashion show or render a 3D CAD file without hiccups, thanks to technological innovations.

With the introduction of the Apple Pencil Gen 1 back in 2015, the possibilities of what an iPad could do just extended.

If you have an iPad and a Pencil (Gen 1 or Gen 2), you can use them to design to your heart’s content.

Now, include some superb apps and expand your creativity for sketching, designing clothes, or making your next house plan in 3D.

If you search for ‘design’ on the App Store, you’ll find hundreds of contenders, and choosing one or two amongst them could take forever.

So, I took it upon myself and found the 15 best iPad Apps for designers to give you an entire canvas to get creative.

15 Best iPad Apps for Designers

Everyone’s definition of designing could be different, which is why I have included a variety of apps.

1. Canva

iPad Apps for Designers

Canva is the perfect amalgamation for amateur and veteran designers looking for a service that doesn’t charge a bomb.

The user interface is fun and straightforward, which will please any designer.

I like Canva for its pre-designed templates that let me design a holiday card in minutes.

If you want to create something from scratch, you can make something from ground zero.

This app has several use cases that commoners take advantage of – YouTube thumbnails, Zoom virtual background, Instagram/Facebook/WhatsApp stories, etc.

Professionals can show their creativity by designing logos.

The app is cross-platform and can be used on the web as well.

Give this app a try; it’s the best iPad app for designers.

Main features

  • Fabulous templates
  • Blur photos, add texts, create collages, and photo grids
  • Library of free stock icons, pictures, and fonts


  • No local file storage
  • Great features require premium

Pricing: Free; $12.99 monthly, $119.99 annually

Apple Store rating: 4.9

Download Canva

2. Astropad Studio

iPad Apps for Designers

Astropad Studio has an exciting history.

It was created by Apple engineers who thought that people could use iPads as a graphics tablet when paired with their Macs.

It could be possible, but the app has grown more to its original reputation.

Add Apple Pencil in the mix, and you have got a whole creative studio on your desk. This can easily replace a Wacom display.

You can use this app with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Affinity Designer, and many more.

When you explore the app, you’ll be happy to know you can create your touch-pencil gestures with a feature known as ‘Magic Gestures.’

Oh yes, the app is super fast to use. So, no matter how complex a task you plan on doing, it will handle that.

Main features

  • Magic Gestures lets you create your gesture shortcuts with touch-pencil combinations
  • Super fast to use
  • Gesture shortcut customization


  • Must have two options for pressure curve setting – hard and soft
  • Users have reported glitches

Pricing: Free; $12 monthly, $79.99 annually

Apple Store rating: 4.7

Download Astropad Studio

3. Adobe Illustrator: Graphic Art

iPad Apps for Designers

When designers think of design, Illustrator is the first thing that pops into their heads. And it should as Adobe is the industry-leading program that churns out great designs.

With the introduction of this app for iPad, Adobe also added its vector art feature to let you design on the go.

You can easily create shapes, lines, gradients, types, and effects without hassle.

If you have an Apple Pencil, you can use it to cut and merge graphics coupled with quick gestures.

Have something complex in mind? You can add several effects – patterns, point gradients, radial repeats, symmetry, etc.

If you want to collaborate, you can invite other designers to edit the project.

With 20,000 fonts, it’s creativity galore.

Illustrator for iPad needs improvements, but it isn’t half-baked either.

Main features

  • Optimized for Apple Pencil
  • Works in tandem with Photoshop and Fresco
  • Supports various templates


  • Option-click is missing with Apple Pencil
  • Has a learning curve
  • Difficult to draw without selecting tools

Pricing: Free; $9.99 monthly, $79.99 annually

Apple Store rating: 4.6

Download Adobe Illustrator: Graphic Art

4. Inspire Pro

iPad Apps for Designers

Inspire Pro has a reputation of being one of the best iPad Pro and rightfully so.

It provides an authentic art experience that includes an impressive feature set delivering professional results.

The multiple blending options – chalk, pastels, oil, paint – give off the vibe of natural materials.

The software is easy to use and works seamlessly with Apple Pencil.

Canvas Playback is smooth, stroke by stroke.

Main features

  • Fast and responsive
  • Up to 10 redo and undo levels
  • Wide range of brushes


  • Lacks basic features like layers
  • New updates have some bugs

Pricing: $19.99

Apple Store rating: 4.5

Download Inspire Pro

5. Adobe Fresco: Sketch & Draw

iPad Apps for Designers

Another Adobe app on the list.

Fresco: Sketch & Draw is one of the finest art drawing apps.

When you use it, expect a natural painting experience on your iPad

The app has a tonne of robust features. An intuitive user interface, brushes, etc., are some of my favorites.

With Apple Pencil, you can use its powerful brush features and invite other designers to edit it.

There is just one flaw that I found – it entirely lacks in features compared to other apps on this list, but you can give it a try.

Main features

  • Seamless Photoshop integration
  • Extra creative cloud storage
  • Import ‘.abr’ files of all your Photoshop brushes (Premium)


  • Underwhelming compared to other software

Pricing: Free; $9.99 monthly, $79.99 annually

Apple Store rating: 4.7

Download Adobe Fresco: Sketch & Draw

6. Shapr 3D CAD modeling

iPad Apps for Designers

Shapr3D is the most intuitive professional-grade CAD modeling app in the world.

It is based on the Siemens Parasolid geometric engine and HOOPS Exchange translation software.

The thing is, translating CAD to a tablet format has been difficult, but the performance of iPad Pro and the inclusion of Apple Pencil’s 9ms latency makes it smooth.

Shapr3D performs all processing locally, and the files are stored on the iPad, not on the cloud.

The base version of Shapr3D is free but lets you export low-resolution files and up to two designs; you get access to all the tools.

You can try the free version and see if the premium subscription is worth it or not.

Main features

  • Create professional 3D models
  • Unlimited number of active workspaces
  • Preview and export for augmented reality


  • Online-only
  • Has learning curve
  • No mark-up tools

Pricing: Free; $29.99 annually, $239.99 yearly, Business Subscription:
$59.99 monthly, $499.99 yearly

Apple Store rating: 4.7

Download Shapr 3D CAD modeling

7. Procreate

iPad Apps for Designers

If you have an iPad and the Apple Pencil, Procreate is the third musketeer you need.

It transforms the experience of drawing on a screen.

You can also use your finger, but the Pencil support is a bonus.

The app’s user interface, iPad’s palm rejection, low latency, and double-speed sampling rate make Procreate almost flawless.

When you do sketch, you will feel like using the 6B pencil.

I like the wet paint option, the redesigned menus from Procreate 4, and updated features of the 5th version that include Animation Assist, floating color picker, clone tool, and the ability to import paintbrushes from Photoshop.

Main features

  • Create expressive sketches, rich paintings
  • Intuitive, creative tools
  • Simple user interface


  • Lacks vectors
  • Can’t invert a mask either or detach it from the layer

Pricing: $9.99

Apple Store rating: 4.5

Download Procreate

8. Adobe Photoshop

iPad Apps for Designers

If you don’t mind spending on the Creative Cloud subscriptions or have one, you couldn’t ask for a better app than Photoshop for iPad.

The app has been designed to accommodate the iPad’s form factor.

This means that this won’t replace desktop Photoshop, but it comes close.

It is a robust app that focuses on compositing and retouching. So your usual masking, making selections, painting, blend modes, adjusting layers, etc., are possible. And they feel smooth.

The app won’t break a sweat if you have a heavy workload.

You can invite others to edit the project, which is super convenient.

Main features

  • Swipe, pinch, tap, scribble, slide with Apple Pencil
  • Over 20,000 Adobe Fonts
  • Retouching, compositing, etc.


  • Requires learning new gestures
  • Several desktop Photoshop tools are missing
  • No raw camera file or 3D editing support

Pricing: Free; $9.99 monthly, $79.99 annually

Apple Store rating: 4.4

Download Adobe Photoshop

9. Affinity Designer

iPad Apps for Designers

Affinity Designer is one of the best iPad apps for designers on the go.

With complete support for Apple Pencil, you can draw and sketch as its precision, pressure sensitivity, and tilt functionality are unrivaled.

The app is robust and can handle heavy workloads, so you don’t have to worry about maintaining two apps.

If I had to describe this app in a line, I could confidently say it is a desktop app adapted for a tablet.

And yes, to use the app, you’ll have to pay a one-time fee, but sadly it lacks a free trial.

Main features

  • Supports layers (vector, text, image, and pixel)
  • Organize work with artboards
  • Seamless support for Apple Pencil


  • Has a processing limit of the iPad
  • Hard to handle complex vectors

Pricing: $21.99

Apple Store rating: 3.9

Download Affinity Designer

10. Concepts

iPad Apps for Designers

Concepts is the appropriate name for this award-winning designing app which is an infinite canvas with intuitive precision tools and more.

You can do advanced sketching with organic brushes, a responsive vector drawing engine, and an experience that will make you adore the app.

The app is perfect for designers – product designers, architects, visual thinkers, Illustrator, and more.

I say that because there’s a lot to explore. And when you do, you will regret not having tried it sooner.

The developer lets you choose what the double-tap on Apple Pencil does, which can be pretty handy.

Concepts provide a superb and natural design experience.

Main features

  • Access to the infinite canvas
  • Flexible sketching
  • Supports Basic Grids Dot-Grid, Graph Paper, Lined Paper, Isometric, Triangle


  • Many tools and features require in-app purchases
  • Choosing colors is a bit confusing

Pricing: Free; $3.99-$29.99

Apple Store rating: 4.7

Download Concepts

11. Autodesk SketchBook

iPad Apps for Designers

Even though Autodesk is known for 3D apps such as Maya and 3DS Max, its less-known app, SketchBook, is no slouch.

This strong sketching app lets you have a natural drawing experience.

Using this app on an iPad Pro with ProMotion will feel like a smooth canvas.

The app has 170+ customizable brushes, switchable predictive stroke that transforms hand-drawn shapes into precise forms, PSD layer, and blending support.

The best feature of SketchBook is that it’s free. Totally free!

Main features

  • Professional-grade drawing tools
  • Plush elegant interface
  • Use ‘Motion’ to add animation to an existing image


  • Random lags and freezes
  • Not made too complex tasks

Pricing: Completely free

Apple Store rating: 4.7

Download Autodesk SketchBook

12. Paper by WeTransfer

iPad Apps for Designers

Formerly known as Paper by FiftyThree, Paper by WeTransfer looks like a simple sketching and diagramming tool. It sure is, but its extra features make it a compelling app on your iPad.

The simple-looking yet poorly managed menus open a gate to tools that let you create org charts, graphs, Venn diagrams, link shapes and duplicate them, and much more.

You don’t necessarily need to use the Apple Pencil, but it is optimized to handle it should you choose to equip it.

But I can’t praise the app too much as it has some flaws, and its subscription costing is its major one.

You’ll need a premium subscription to use even the minutest tool, which is a lousy design principle. If you can’t stand the prices, choose other apps from this list.

Main features

  • Easy to use intuitive design
  • Has a variety of drawing tools
  • Brainstorm ideas, store notes and practice artistic skills


  • Full features are cost-prohibitive
  • Poor help menus

Pricing: Free; $1.99-$12.99

Apple Store rating: 4.6

Download Paper by WeTransfer

13. Affinity Photo

iPad Apps for Designers

Affinity Photo by Serif, who also developed Affinity Designer, makes a fabulous Photoshop alternative.

I say this by looking at its fantastic toolset and outstanding performance.

Major features make their way from the desktop version, making it one of the best iPad apps for designers.

Pair this app with Apple Pencil, and creativity will fly.

Like Affinity Designer, you’ll have to pay a one-off price to get this app.

You can do intense tasks – paint with a professional brush engine or light tasks – apply real-time lighting effects; the app will never slow down.

Affinity Photo is made for professionals and amateurs who want to enhance their work. The support for PSD and raw files support my statement.

Main features

  • PSD Smart Object Import
  • Customizable Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Support for CMYK, RGB8, RGB16, Grayscale, LAB, and RGB32


  • Common glitches
  • Sometimes buggy and unresponsive

Pricing: $21.99

Apple Store rating: 3.7

Download Affinity Photo

14. Pixelmator

iPad Apps for Designers

Pixelmator is an amazing image editing tool that is best for designers on the go.

I have used the words ‘on the go’ quite a lot, but this app makes them come to life, thanks to its super-fluid user interface and tools that will put any pro app to shame.

The Drag and Drop feature will spoil any designer as moving media between iPad and other apps is a cakewalk.

You can opt for iCloud to access your work from anywhere.

Use Apple Pencil for precision drawing and painting. This will make your workflow easier.

Oh yes, Pixelmator supports Photoshop files.

Main features

  • Super-fast Paint Engine
  • Double-texture brushes
  • Various pre-designed templates


  • A bit of a learning curve
  • Paint bucket tool is missing

Pricing: $4.99

Apple Store rating: 3.7

Download Pixelmator

15. Linea Sketch

iPad Apps for Designers

Last but not least, we have Linea Sketch.

The app aims to make everyone experience sketching, and its user interface speaks for itself.

You get drawing layers and fixed canvas that can be used to paint your next magnum opus.

Don’t expect too many tools, but the basic ones – colors palettes, background textures, automatic ruler, grid tool, transform tool, various pens – will get the work done.

Share your masterpiece by exporting in JPG, PNG, and PSD files.

You can get a lot more done with additional features that will cost you but won’t burn a hole in your wallet.

If you want something more than just a drawing pad and want to miss out on the complexities of pro apps, Linea Sketch is the best choice for you.

Main features

  • Edit Annotations with iOS Scribble
  • Adjust Annotation text alignment, color, rotation, and size
  • Includes a variety of fonts


  • Not for professionals
  • Cannot export to .PDF

Pricing: Free; $0.99 monthly, $9.99 yearly, $29.99 total purchase

Apple Store rating: 3.7

Download Linea Sketch


What is the best design app for iPad?

Canva, Astropad Studio, Adobe Illustrator: Graphic Art, etc., are some of the best designing apps.

Is iPad suitable for designers?

Yes, but it depends on your workflow. It’s better to have Apple Pencil to enhance your work, and all you need is the right software for a fast and efficient design process.

Can I get Adobe Illustrator on iPad?

Yes, Adobe Illustrator now supports the iPad, and it works efficiently.

Which iPad Pro is best for illustrators?

You can choose any of the following iPads for your workflow:

The best overall: 2021 M1 12.9-inch iPad Pro or iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2020.
The best for Screen Ratio: iPad Pro 11-inch 2020.
Best value: iPad Air 4.
Best budget: iPad 8th-Generation 2020.
The best portable: 2021 iPad Mini.

Is Wacom better than iPad?

My research suggests that Apple has a clear edge as it is more than a portable designing studio.


These are the 15 best iPad apps for designers.

The abilities of these apps rival the performance of computers, which allows creative professionals to enjoy their workflow on the go.

If you have the 2021 M1 12.9 inch iPad Pro, your work will pop out of the screen.

All the apps mentioned above will prove to be essential tools for your design work.

It doesn’t matter if you want to design a 3D building or draw your next set of clothes; you can bring your vision to reality with the app of your choice.

Add to the fact that most apps support the Apple Pencil, which means you can let your creativity flow.

I would suggest paid professionals opt for paid apps as they will get the job done, and you’ll be free from the subscription loop.


I am an ambivert, an avid reader, a movie buff, a tea connoisseur, and a staunch fan of Priyanka Chopra Jonas. I like to give my insights through words, which come naturally to me. They also help me to express the myriads of emotions I go through. When not working, I'm either watching the latest tech videos or flipping through pages.