Working productively on an iPad

I recently purchased an iPad Pro with a keyboard and a pencil purely on a whim after reading glowing reports about SketchUp for iPad. I have to confess I did zero research beforehand but I had a vision of being able to work productively on my models while away from my desk.

I love the software but I have to say I find the lack of the Outliner very limiting and I haven’t really found the iPad very useful for doing anything productive as yet. Also I find the pencil difficult to use and wonder if I should buy an iPad mouse.

Maybe I need to spend a lot more time getting used to it but I would be interested to hear if anybody else has been able to develop their desktop SketchUp projects on an iPad or whether thats not really its intended use.

I actually do ALL of my modeling on the iPad using only the pencil. It’s different, I’ll give it that, but I don’t find it all that limiting. I will admit to coming into it fresh, without knowing how the desktop version worked. I think the thing that makes iPad SketchUp work for me is treating it like a portable sketchbook. It doesn’t have the functionality of a full blown art studio, but it has the portability. And (in my humble opinion) the pencil is everything. For me it has been very intuitive and easy to figure out. I also LOVE the ability to move the model around using just a finger or a pinch or a swipe. I can’t stand sitting in front of the computer, having to use two hands to feel productive, when I can lounge on my sofa, sandwich in one hand pencil in the other.

That being said… I may have a secret love affair with Joint push/pull which is strictly a desktop thing.

The best news really, is that this app is brand-new. There’s going to be new stuff coming for it all the time. From earlier posts and questions, I can safely say that I think outliner is on the way. They said it would be a little different than the outliner on the desktop, but would house functionality for a components menu and other things.

Thanks for your reply @Danimaupin

Ive seen some of your work which is absolutely superb and was actually part of the reason for my impulse purchase.

I need to spend a lot more time on the iPad, but I fear its so different to the desktop version, and my desktop workflow is so engrained that the iPad may become an expensive plaything for my grandchildren :smile:

See, I’m actually having the opposite issue. I am so habitual on iPad (trying to orbit in other apps) that I am having trouble with the desktop. Took me forever to find the views in pro last night, which is super dumb. They’re just not where I habitually thought they would be.

Back when procreate first came out, I was so much a photoshop artist, I thought I could never get used to it. But now I use both easily without thinking about it. Still have that “stomp the imaginary clutch in my automatic” moment, but I think the time taken to learn both has been very beneficial.

1 Like

I guess thats the thing. If I practice on the iPad enough I will eventually become proficient with it - a bit like learning another program to manipulate .skp files. This may have major advantages on the go which I haven’t discovered yet.

Thanks again.

That might be the ideal thing right there. Don’t think of it as SketchUp. Think of it as a sketchbook version. Not the same program. Maybe that will help.

So far I’ve found working with the pencil to be fairly tricky, so I don’t do a ton of that, but I have a bluetooth mouse and a keyboard that I hook up to my Ipad and then the useage is very much like normal SketchUp.

1 Like

Hi Justin.

Could you let me know which mouse you use.

Does the scroll wheel work the same as the desktop?

Just following up on my question above.

Does anybody use a mouse with their iPad and does the scroll wheel work like the desktop version? If so can you let me know the make and model of your mouse please?

I’m confused because every wireless mouse I’ve ever seen has a USB receiver and my iPad doesn’t have a USB port - only an Apple Lightning Port?


I think that any Bluetooth mouse should work. I have the Logitech Pebble and the MX Anywhere 3 Mac mouse, and those both work. Scroll wheel zooms, pressing the scroll wheel orbits, and if shift is held down on the iPad keyboard (if you have one) then it pans.

About the USB receiver, those are so you can use the mouse with a computer that doesn’t have Bluetooth. It won’t be needed with an iPad.

1 Like

Yep, you can connect a Bluetooth mouse to SU for iPad and the scroll wheel should work the way it does in desktop.

The right mouse button does not function the same as it does in Desktop. Since SU for iPad offers a context menu toolbar that is always visible, right-clicking a Bluetooth mouse doesn’t do anything.

FWIW, I’ve been using the Logitech M535 Bluetooth mouse for a few years and love it.

1 Like

Thanks Guys :+1:

Me, too, but for different reasons. I first got a Wacom tablet in 1993, and mostly gave up using a mouse since then, so years before first using SketchUp all I did was draw with a stylus. I didn’t find SU to be very friendly to the Wacom, but I hung in with it to make it work. I’m surprised how many other users here have them.

I do have a Logitech MX Master (mostly bought for teaching SU) and tried it with iPad just to test how it works, but I didn’t care for it. I feel like if I prop up the screen and use a mouse, it might as well be a laptop, but I’m glad @MikeTadros has seen to cover all the bases and satisfy different working styles of different users.

1 Like

I got a little notecard sized tablet in 99, and I immediately broke the pen in half. Used that with duct tape on it for two years and then broke down and bought the intous2. About three years ago I upgraded to the xp-pen 24 inch for my illustrations… I never thought to try moving Pro window over there! I should try that.

The mouse info is helpful too because I was thinking of getting one for my iPad just because.

1 Like

Updating the thread here, in response to Kevin’s OP…

Today’s launch of SketchUp for iPad v6.1 includes our first pass at the Outliner panel!

We’ve also introduced what we think will be a significant productivity enhancement that’s the result of some of the feedback we’re received about drawing in SketchUp with Apple Pencil. Specifically, it’s now possible while drawing with Apple Pencil, and with the pencil mode set to Just Draw, to navigate using multitouch gestures.

For example, you can start drawing a rectangle, and then, while drawing that rectangle (with the pencil on the screen), you can Orbit/Zoom/Pan with your other hand using multi-touch gestures.


Im still hoping that the object snaps get some improvement soon. Been modeling in Shapr3D and the snapping is great using apple pencil.

1 Like