Do You Need a Computer to Use Cricut?

Posted by Delia Ivanoff on

One frequent question I have seen in Cricut Beginners Forums is: Do I need a computer or can I just use my phone to use Cricut? Cricut's web page says that you need a computer to use their Design Space, where you create patterns for the Cricut. However, since they include smart phones and tablets in their definition of "computer devices," you can use Cricut with your phone or your tablet. But keep on reading.

If you're serious about creating with Cricut, it would be better to use a computer (desktop or laptop). There are a few reasons:

1. A large display - It's a lot better to view your design, customize, or modify using a large screen. You can see the details more close-up with less need to scroll back and forth.

2. Desktop/Laptop Computer only features - You can't use the Cricut print and cut, knife blade, or curve text features using your phone or iPad. These features are available only if you're using the desktop/laptop version of Design Space.

3. Action and Edit functions - These are expanded into individual key functions in the computer version of Design Space. For example, you can see the font selection drop down menu, group/ungroup, attach/weld/contour/slice, duplicate, and more command functions right on your screen. For phones or tablets, you have a harder time finding these features because they are buried in sub menus on your mobile devices.

4. Templates - If you want to insert a template such as for shirts, banners, calendars, etc., you can only do this using a computer version of Design Space.

5. Offline use - You can only do this on the computer (desktop/laptop) version of Design Space.

These are just the main reasons, and just for Design Space. If you want to convert complex images, such as jpg or png format, to svg, you can do these on your phone or tablet, but then again, it's easier to do these things on a laptop or desktop machine with a bigger screen.

I often see people asking what type of computer or laptop they should use with a Cricut. That's really a loaded question. If you ask that type of question in the Cricut forums, you can get a wide range of recommendations, from very inexpensive computers all the way up to expensive Macintosh machines.

Here is what you should consider when deciding:

First, take a look at the full list of Cricut System Requirements.

1. Compatibility - Your Cricut will work with almost every type of modern computer. It does not work natively with the Chrome operating system though, so you should not think about buying a Chromebook for your Cricut. Even though there might be a workaround out there for using a Chromebook operating system with your Cricut, you may still run into problems with processor power, memory, and storage.

2. Your Budget - How much can you afford? If your budget is limited, consider buying a good used or refurbished computer. 

3. Anticipated Use - Will the computer be solely used for your Cricut? Will you be loading large files such as photos of your design, image files you downloaded, font files, project files, and design ideas? If yes, you need sufficient storage space. This could be your hard drive or cloud or a combination of both. Memory (RAM) is also an important consideration. When you use the computer for multiple applications, it takes a lot of memories, so you want to make sure you have sufficient memory for the anticipated use.

4. Laptop or Desktop - Do you need a system that is mobile (laptop) or is stationary (Desktop) sufficient?

Here are some useful videos about Design Space for beginners:

Connecting iPad or iPhone to Cricut 

Connecting Cricut via Bluetooth

Beginner Design Space Tutorial - Home Page Overview (Cricut)

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