Apple Keynote 2.6.1 for iPad & iPhone review

Welcome to our review of Apple Keynote 2.6.1 for iPad & iPhone, updated on 10 February 2016. Original review by Lou Hattersley.

One of the main improvements through Keynote for iOS 2.0 and 2.5 was the continued development of the software's features for sharing and collaborating on your presentations. There haven't been any major new sharing features in the latest version 2.6 - or in the bug fixes of 2.6.1 - but it's worth pointing out that the iCloud version of Keynote (available on www.icloud.com) has finally come out of its beta testing phase. The iCloud app can be used by anyone with a web browser, which means that Keynote can compete with online rivals such as Google Sheets.

Of course, Microsoft's PowerPoint remains much more focused on collaboration within a business environment, but having that additional online option for creating and editing presentations means that Keynote is at least a viable option for collaborating with the rest of the PC-owning business world. There's also a new option to preview shared presentations in a browser on both iOS and Android devices, so Apple is (somewhat grudgingly) acknowledging the need to share Keynote presentations with people outside the cosy Apple ecosystem.

Read more iWork reviews: Pages for Mac review | Numbers for Mac review | Keynote for Mac review | Pages for iOS review | Numbers for iOS review

Keynote for iCloud

Read next: How to get Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, GarageBand on iPad & iPhone for free

Apple Keynote Review: iOS 9 Updates

The rest of the features in Keynote 2.6.1 are primarily intended to bring the app up to date with iOS 9 and the latest iPhone and iPad models. However, Keynote will still run on iOS 8.4, so you don't need to have iOS 9 in order to continue using Keynote. Owners of iPads do particularly well with this update, gaining the ability to use Keynote with the new Split View, Slide Over and Picture In Picture modes in iOS 9 - although Split View is only available on the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 4

The larger screen of the iPad also provides room for a new Short Cut bar for the on-screen keyboard, which allows you to quickly format text and to use the cut, copy and paste commands. Oddly, though, Keynote doesn't provide the same alignment and font-selection options that are found in the Short Cut bar in the latest version of Pages. You can, however, view recently selected fonts in the main Font menu, just as you can in Pages.

You can also use Keynote in portrait orientation now as well, which makes it easier to use an iOS device as a remote control for a presentation that is running on a Mac. And, if you've got an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, you can use 3D Touch shortcuts to quickly create documents from the Home screen.

Split view on Keynote

There are a few new slide templates in this version, but the only major addition to Keynote's core design tools is a new Line Draw animation effect. This works like its counterpart on the Mac version of Keynote, allowing you to draw simple graphics using the app's pen tool, and then creating a build animation that looks as though the graphics are being drawn on-screen one stroke at a time.

Finally, there's also a new Version History command that allows you to view all previous saved versions of a presentation and to step back and restore any of those older versions at any time - but without losing the latest, current version, which remains in the Version History list in case you need it. 

Version History in Keynote for iOS

But, as we've mentioned before with Keynote, Apple has an annoying habit of listing new features without explaining where to find them or how to use them, and Apple really needs to provide more comprehensive and up-to-date documentation when it updates its apps.

Download Keynote for iOS from the App Store.

OUR VERDICT

Of all Apple's iWork apps, Keynote is the one that really has the potential to go head-to-head with rivals such as Microsoft PowerPoint: its main strength is the ease with which you can quickly create presentations containing slick, professional animations and effects. There's still room for improvement in terms of collaboration and sharing, but the official release of Keynote for iCloud is a welcome step forward and gives Keynote a bit more credibility among business users who own non-Apple kit.

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