Pages for iOS review: Great on iOS, unfinished on the Mac

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.9
  • Installation and Setup: 8.0
  • Features and Support: 8.0
  • Interface: 9.0
  • Performance: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Pages has new useful features, a more efficient interface, and is a free upgrade to people with new iOS devices or older versions of the app.

The Bad Using the app on the iPhone feels very cramped.

The Bottom Line With more templates and a streamlined interface, the latest version of Pages is an improvement on iOS, but the Mac version is going to need time to catch up.

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Editors' note This review was updated November 6 with new information about the Mac version of Pages from Apple.

Pages, Apple's word processing app for iOS, got a complete redesign for iOS 7, but the new look isn't the only change from the old version. Apple has added several more templates, moved font style and formatting tools to the top of the keyboard, and added the capability to collaborate with others on multiple devices. The only drawback is that in remaking iWork from the ground up with feature parity in the iOS and Mac versions, Mac users lose out on features they had in iWork '09.

Before I start, know that I did most of my testing on the iPad. You can get Pages for your iPhone (just like the rest of the iWork apps), but the smaller screen makes it much harder to create and edit documents. You don't lose functionality when moving from the iPad to the iPhone, and it will come in handy in a pinch, but using it on the iPad is a much better experience.

A more welcome change is that iWork is now free to anyone who buys a new Apple device. And when you add in the collaboration tools across all three iWork apps, Apple's productivity suite is getting closer to competing with what Google has to offer. Taken as a whole, though, Apple's solution feels rather unfinished, making Google Docs the better solution for now.

Pages for iOS
The buttons have been flattened to fit in with iOS 7, and many of the tools are now just above the keyboard. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

New look and layout
The skeuemorphic real-world interface design elements of past versions are gone, replaced with a flat black-on-white look that more closely resembles iOS 7. Instead of using buttons at the top for fonts, style, and formatting like you did with the older version, Apple has moved these buttons to the top of the keyboard. Having the tools at the top of the page was something I always found awkward in the older version, so I like this small, but more convenient, change.

If you want to change Web standard heading and text sizes, highlight the text in question, touch the paintbrush button at the top of the screen, then scroll through the available options. This particular set of menus is where you'll find text alignment options as well as useful tools for creating lists and other layout options. As an alternative to the font and format settings on top of the keyboard, fonts can be changed at the top of this same menu. Somewhat strangely, it has one addition over the keyboard interface with a strike-through option. Obviously it's not a big deal, but I'm not sure why it wouldn't be included in keyboard interface (the font selection area takes up way more space than needed).

Like the previous version of Pages, you also have the ability to add charts, graphs, images, and more to your documents. When you know where you want to place an object, you can touch the plus sign in the upper right and choose an image from your photo library, or select from tons of pre-made charts, graphs, and shapes in several colors. When you've made your selection, it will show up in your document, and you can then touch and drag it to position it, while the text automatically wraps around it. It's a really neat feature that will allow you to be creative with your documents, giving you almost limitless possibilities.

Pages for iOS
You can notify people that your document is available to collaborate on via several channels. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Collaboration and iCloud syncing
Collaboration features are something that's been around a long time in other office suites like Microsoft Office and Google Docs, but iWork is only just now getting them. With all three iWork apps, you can invite up to 20 people to work on the same document simultaneously and you'll see other users interacting with the document in real time. The app color codes each user so you know who is working on a particular section. People also can make comments on sections, which then show up for all people sharing the document. These are things that other productivity software already does, but it's nice to see it added for Apple devices.

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Where to Buy

Pages (iOS)

Part Number: id361309726

$9.99

Quick Specifications See All

  • Category Office and productivity
  • Compatibility iOS