Canva for iPhone – Design Like a Boss Wherever You Are

Canva for iPhone lets you design like a BOSS wherever you are – giving you design at your fingertips! 

In this post, I break down the features of the new Canva for iPhone App and how it will leverage your DIY Design for better Social Media Strategy.

In short, I'll tell you why it's awesome.

Canva for iPhone - Let's break down what it is, and why it's awesome!
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Boss Doggy by Shutterstock


You've heard me talk about visual content creation tools on Socially Sorted a LOT.   Here,  here and most of all here, … I love sharing new and time-saving visual design tools with you.

And it's no secret that I have been a huge fan and user of Canva since their first beta before launching (I was in the first couple of hundred users!).

I wrote about the iPad version here, and I know many of my readers love that too.

But something was missing and that was the ability to use our phones to access Canva.

So it's no surprise then that when I was approached to test Canva's new iPhone app earlier this year, keeping it a secret has not been easy!

I've been allowed to tease a little that something was coming out from Canva team but apart from that I've had to play in my toybox alone with Canva for iPhone for the past 3 months… in super secret beta.

Until now!

Canva for iPhone has been released in the app store!
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Canva for iPhone has been released in the app store!


Now YOU can join me and share in the awesomeness that is Canva's new iPhone App (and Androidians… don't worry…. Canva is working hard on an Android version so hang tight!).

Check out the video for a quick snapshot of this awesome new app, courtesy of Canva:


Here are a few of the features in summary, then we will jump into why I REALLY love it:

Key Features of Canva for iPhone

  1. You get access to hundreds of the professionally designed layouts you have come to know on Canva Desktop (at your fingertips)
  2. You can add text to photos, change colours, add advanced filter effects and even add transparency.. many of the photo-awesome things you usually do on desktop Canva.
  3. A fully stocked library of over 1 million images and elements – both free and paid. It works just like Big Daddy Canva on your Desktop does.
  4. Instant syncing between desktop and iPhone versions (I've tested it. It's awesome. Read on to find out why).
  5. Great User Experience, allowing you to press and hold a design to see it closer before choosing to edit it, seamlessly move between desktop and iPhone, and use the touchscreen (tapping and dragging with your fingers) to design intuitively.
  6. Instantly Undo mistakes!
  7. You can share your designs instantly to all the usual suspects (social media sites) as well as Whatsapp, Slack and Email.  I love that it integrates with Slack for our team, just sayin'.
  8. A suite of layouts that you already know and love – all the social media images and cover photos/banners, blog graphics, cards, flyers, invitations, posters and even Presentations, with more coming.  You can even create multi-page designs with more than one image at a time!
  9. An awesome live camera feature (see below).

Here's how some of my existing designs pull into the Canva iPhone app:

Canva for iPhone - how your designs pull into Canva
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Your existing designs sync seamlessly…

I can choose any of my own designs or a new layout design to start creating. There's even a presentation layout for slide displays which kind of blows my mind!

Canva for iphone - layouts to choose from including social media images, presentations, posters and more
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There are many layouts to choose from!


Let's jump into the 3 Ways Canva for iPhone will change your Visual Content Creation, and a closer look at my favourite features.

3 Ways Canva for iPhone will Change Your Visual Content Creation

1  Desktop-Meets-Smartphone Heaven

I like to batch my images and design on a desktop….but the idea of an iphone app that allows me to start and finish designs on the fly? That's the Holy Grail of Visual Content Creation.

Before this smartphone version of Canva, I had a “patched together” workflow between desktop and smartphone apps.  It worked, but it just wasn't seamless.

Now it is.

I can take my design from Desktop to iPhone and back again with a quick refresh.

For example, if I wanted to tweak the feature image you see at the top of this blog post… or change the title or colour… I can do it while out and about on my mobile:

Canva for Iphone - editing on iphone
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You can edit existing Canva designs on your iPhone!

In the above example, I have zoomed in on the image, changed the title and changed the colour of some of the text – all with my smartphone only.

Image not perfect on the phone? No problem, you can refresh your desktop version and finish it up when you get to the office.

Didn't quite get the image finished before you have to leave for the meeting? No problems – save it and then open it while you wait for the meeting to start and finish it there on your phone.

[excuse me while I let out a little squeal of delight]

Surprisingly, it's not that hard to edit and change elements on the phone despite the smaller size.

Take a look at the ease of image creation on Canva for iPhone:

Canva for iPhone in action
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Like the iPad app, your fingers become part of the design experience though there is more tapping action than swipping and pinching on the phone (there's only so much you can do in a small space, but Canva have added functionality that suits the iOS user experience very well).

2  The Live Camera Feature Made of Awesome

The live camera in Canva's iPhone app is all kinds of awesome.  It literally lets you snap images from within the app with a “live” viewfinder.

This means you can take the photo live and add the text.  Or you can even add the text and then take the photo while adjusting your background view to get the best layout.

All live! This way you can see how everything fits together all at once.

Check it out on Canva's video here.

Here's how it works. Firstly, I choose a layout that I like on the Canva iPhone app:

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Then I change the text to something that fits my plan:

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Now for the photo. I want to change the background photo and replace it with a photo of a painting I did.  All I have to do is click “Replace” and press the Camera icon to open up a live viewing screen to take my photo (steady as she goes):

Canva for iPhone - Camera in motion
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Camera in motion!


The beauty of “live” photos is that you can line up the text and start to zoom in…

Canva for iPhone - upload the image
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Start to line up text with the background live in the app


Move it until you have the  image you want and the background works with the text. Take the photo with one click as you normally would:


Canva for iPhone - zoom in with your live photo
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Zoom in live to match up the photo with the text


Then add a filter to finish it off:

Canva for iPhone - add a filter
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add effects, filters or even more text!


Here are the steps in action:

Using the live camera on Canva for iPhone
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I LOVE the live camera feature.  It has so many implications for:

  • creating professional images at live events
  • documenting your day as a team, or as a solopreneur on Instagram
  • creating batches of images on the fly
  • capturing real-time moments and marrying text with images.

What will YOU create with it now that your camera is a living, breathing part of the Canva for iPhone app?

3  Bend Time like a Time Lord with Time-Saving Features

We all know that Canva is a fabulous DIY Design Tool with a huge library of visually engaging elements, photos and designs.

But the ability to access them immediately when inspiration strikes, has been a challenge – especially when you are on the go.

As a marketer or business owner, you often need to react to real time events, and get something out quickly!

This is where Canva for iPhone comes in to save you time (in a Dr Who kind of Time Lord way).

It's now easier than ever to open the app and create something that suits your brand message, on the fly.

And here's where I truly love it. You can keep yourself organised and save time when batching and editing photos.  With Canva for iPhone you can access multiple images at once in a folder that you have created on Canva Desktop.

In the following example, I chose the design “Instagram Tip Images” in the top right hand corner.  Notice that it is actually a set of 22 individual Instagram designs in the one design “stream”. I created these designs on Canva for Desktop:

Canva for iPhone - folder of designs
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Access and edit a whole series of designs at once


When I open up that image series with Canva for iPhone, I can not only edit and tweak one of the images, but I can access all 22 – how cool is that!

I can edit existing text, or add text on any of the images, or I can even add a new layout:

Canva for iPhone - Multiple Image Series example
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Canva for iphone keeps you organised

It seems that, currently, you can't replace an image on one of your existing layouts but you can start a new one. From there, you can use most of the features you normally would use on a single image layout where you have multiple images.

Canva truly allows you to work from anywhere on your visual content.   HIS is something that has me very excited. You can batch images on your phone with extra copies or pages. Check it out:

But it is the following feature that has me very excited. You can batch images on your phone within the same layout, from scratch. Check it out:

Canva for iphone - multiple pages in a folder
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You can create multiple images in a batch. Squee!

Just hit the + sign to add more images to the series.

When you go back into the Desktop version of Canva immediately after creating images on your iPhone, the images you created are there waiting for you to keep working on them!

For an app that has just been launched, the iPhone version of Canva is surprisingly non-glitchy… but then again, maybe it's not such a surprise given the amount of time we have been playing with it in beta.

Canva's team have ensured that this tool is snappy, and that makes me smile!

Now go… and take your fonts, filters and design styles with you on the go.  Something strikes your fancy? Create it – like a boss – no matter where you are!


What about Canva for Work Features?

Obviously it's not that easy to add everything that Canva does on Desktop into the new app (though I think the team at Canva have done a great job).

And realistically, we probably don't need the iPhone app to do EVERYTHING. So yes, there are a few things that you currently can't do on your iPhone if you already use Canva for Work.

However, I have it on good authority that although these functions are not currently available, Canva is hard at work with their development team to add more features. This may include features like:

  • colour palette templates/preferences
  • your own brand fonts
  • folders
  • resizing designs.

If they never pull these off I will still love this app.

If they do pull them off, expect to see me doing a very happy dance.

Let's just say, that knowing the Canva team, anything is possible.

Canva for iPhone - Design like a Boss no matter where you are! I share 3 reasons why I am loving Canva's new iPhone app and why you should download it NOW and start creating visual content with it! (Image by Shutterstock)
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Like this post? Pin it for later! Image by Shutterstock

Over to You

Have you tried Canva for iPhone yet?  Do you love it? Tell me your favourite feature in the comments below!

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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About in 2019". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.
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