Many people who use an iPad wish they could write on it as easily as using a pen or pencil on paper. Some people get a stylus for just this reason. But the typical stylus can feel laggy, not slide smoothly over the screen, and leave much to be desired.
The Apple Pencil isn’t your typical stylus, though. It is a much improved version, with features you won’t find on many other styluses.
Special Features of the Apple Pencil
Palm Rejection Technology
With Palm-rejection, you no longer have to hold your hand above your iPad while writing or drawing. You can now rest your hand directly on your screen, like you would if using a sheet of paper.
The pressure-sensitivity lets you draw or write thick or thin lines based on the pressure you place on your Apple Pencil.
The pixel-perfect precision makes the Apple Pencil the most accurate stylus available. This allows you to write small or draw very fine lines and have it show up exactly where you intended.
With the tilt-sensitivity of the Apple Pencil, you can lay the stylus at an angle for shading or to get a wider line. This means the Apple Pencil works on your iPad like a real pencil would work on paper.
Have you ever written something with a stylus and have it lag behind you? The Apple Pencil gets rid of that almost completely, with a response time of less than 1/100th of a second from when you start writing.
With the second-generation Apple Pencil you now have wireless charging. Just attach it magnetically to the side of your iPad and make sure you have Bluetooth enabled.
Second-generation Apple Pencils connect to your iPad magnetically. This means no more digging around in your bag for your stylus. Not many competing styluses have a magnetic attachment, so you’re more likely to lose them or leave them behind.
Few other styluses can boast such features. Those that do are often inferior in their implementation.
Who Uses the Apple Pencil the Most?
The Apple Pencil is a great all-around stylus, which anyone can use in place of a lower quality option. A lot of apps use it in creative ways. It’s great for writing notes or doodling, but really shines when used by the right user.
If you use your iPad for digital art, the Apple Pencil is a great choice for you. With the palm-rejection technology, you can concentrate on your art, and no longer need to worry about accidentally touching the screen with your hand. Pressure sensitivity lets you create lines that taper to a point and vary the width of your lines as you draw. The tilt-sensitivity is great when you need to shade areas of your drawing.
A variety of apps, such as Procreate or Linea Sketch, allow you to create art that is limited only by your skill and imagination when you use the Apple Pencil. And there are apps available that will let you use your iPad as a graphics tablet for your Mac, meaning you don’t have to buy additional hardware if you use a combination of iPad and Mac for your art.
The Apple Pencil lets business users easily scribble down notes during meetings. This may be faster for some people and lets you avoid the distraction of a laptop screen poking up between you and the others in the meeting. In fact, taking notes at a meeting is a very common use of the Apple Pencil by business users. It even makes writing notes with figures a breeze, which can be difficult if you type out your notes.
You can also avoid a lot of paperwork by switching to a digital format. The Apple Pencil makes it easy to capture signatures on forms.
If you have a TV that works with AirPlay then you can hook your iPad up and use it as a digital whiteboard. This makes sharing information during a meeting a snap.
You can easily make notes in the margins and markup the text quickly. If you edit long documents and need to cross off some of the text, leave editing marks, or add hand-written notes, you can do that.
If you are a student and have a teacher who can talk faster than you can type, the Apple Pencil may work well for you to take notes during class. At times paying attention as a teacher talks is hard to do when you’re concentrating on typing, but a lot of people can jot notes without the same level of distraction.
Got a little one learning letters, numbers, or shapes? There are apps that can help, and using the Apple Pencil will make it much easier for them to practice and learn the fine motor control skills they need.
Even if all you do is poke around in apps, look up things on the internet, or view documents, many people find using the Apple Pencil better than using their finger. It gives you more precise control than you typically get with your finger or with other styluses.
Uses for the Apple Pencil Besides Drawing
Not everyone uses their iPad and Apple Pencil for drawing. Even those who do may want to know some of the other uses.
As mentioned above, the Apple Pencil makes taking note a breeze. Because of the pressure sensitivity, tilt sensitivity, and precision, your handwriting looks more like it would on paper than you usually get from a stylus.
The Apple Pencil makes it easy to touch up your photos. You’ll find that you have better control for finer work than you would if you used your fingers or another stylus.
Whether it’s a business document, a contract, or a list of household chores, an Apple Pencil makes marking things up easy. Cross laundry off your list, rewrite that troublesome paragraph in a contract, scribble notes in the margins, and much more.
Add Captions To Images
Have you ever wanted to place a note along the bottom of an image? How about thought bubbles to that picture of your uncle with the weird look on his face? The Apple Pencil makes it easy, and the iPad has built in support in its operating system to make this work right out of the box.
Some games require you to select a character, building, or item before performing an action. There are times when the image representing the object is very small on the screen, making it difficult to select. The Apple Pencil’s precision can make it much easier.
For iPad users with motor or visual impairments, the Apple Pencil makes a good choice. It can help them have more control than using their fingers alone.
Tips and Tricks
As discussed above, there are a great many uses and features for your Apple Pencil. But there are more tips you may find useful.
Which Generation Is My Apple Pencil?
Both the generation one Apple Pencil and Apple Pencil 2nd generation are similar looking, but there are a couple of easy ways to tell which you have.
If your Apple Pencil has a glossy finish, no flat sides, and a metal band all around its circumference, you have a first-generation.
If your Apple Pencil has a matte finish, a flat side, and no metal band around the circumference, you have a second-generation.
How Do I Connect My Apple Pencil?
First-Generation Apple Pencil Connection Instructions
You can use the first-generation Apple Pencil with these iPad models:
- 6th-generation through 9th-generation iPad
- 5th-generation iPad mini
- 3rd-generation iPad Air
- iPad Pro 9.7-inch
- iPad Pro 10.5-inch
- 1st & 2nd-generation iPad Pro 12.9-inch
To pair your first-generation Apple Pencil with your iPad, remove the cap from the end of your Apple Pencil and plug it into the Lightning connector on your iPad.
Second-Generation Apple Pencil Connection Instructions
- 6th-generation iPad mini
- 4th-generation iPad Air
- iPad Pro 11-inch
- 3rd-generation and later iPad Pro 12.9-inch
To pair your second-generation Apple Pencil to your iPad you attach the Apple Pencil to the magnetic connector on the side of your iPad.
Trouble Pairing Your Apple Pencil To Your iPad?
Every now and then things may not pair correctly. If you come across this, try the steps below to correct the issue.
- Make sure your version of Apple Pencil is compatible with the model of your iPad.
- Verify that your Apple Pencil is properly connected to either the magnetic connector or the Lightning port, depending on your version of Apple Pencil.
- Restart your iPad & try to pair it again.
- On your iPad, go to Settings>Bluetooth to make sure that you have Bluetooth turned on.
- Reset the connection for Apple Pencil by going into Settings>My Devices and tap Forget this Device for your Apple Pencil, if it appears. After this, try pairing your Apple Pencil again.
- It is possible that your Apple Pencil just needs to charge first. You can do this by connecting it the same way you do to pair it, but leave it connected to your iPad for about thirty minutes.
If none of these suggestions work to get your Apple Pencil paired, you may need to contact Apple Support.
How To Charge
The method of charging your Apple Pencil depends on whether yours is a first-generation or second-generation.
If you have a first-generation Apple Pencil, you charge it with either a USB power adapter or by connecting it to the Lightning connector on the iPad. To use the USB power adapter you need the Apple Pencil Charging Adapter, which comes with the first-generation Apple Pencil.
You charge your Second-generation Apple Pencil–sometimes called Apple Pencil 2–by attaching it to the magnetic connector on the side of the ipad, near the volume buttons. Bluetooth must be on for it to charge properly.
Your Apple Pencil should charge in about 20 minutes or less. If your Apple Pencil is not charging, make sure you have your Apple Pencil 1 connected to the Lightning port properly or that you’ve placed your Apple Pencil 2 onto the magnetic charging connector and Bluetooth is on.
How To Check Battery
Checking the battery on an Apple Pencil is a simple process. If you have an Apple Pencil second-generation, you will see the charge status on the screen for a short time when you first attach it to your iPad. With either generation you can swipe right from your Home screen to check the Today View on your iPad. You should see a battery indicator widget. It will show the battery status of your iPad and any paired devices.
You may need to swipe down if the battery indicator widget doesn’t appear on the screen. If you still don’t find it, you may need to add the widget. Do that by tapping Edit at the bottom of the Today View list of widgets, which will take you to the Add Widgets page.
How To Replace The Tips
Over time the tip of your Apple Pencil may become worn. When that happens, you can change out the tip for a new one by firmly gripping the tip of your Apple Pencil and rotating it in a counter-clockwise motion until the tip is free. Install the new tip by placing it onto your pencil and rotating it in a clockwise direction until snug.
The first-generation Apple Pencil comes with an extra tip, while the second-generation does not. Apple sells replacement packs of tips for these pencils.
You can add a new note without ever unlocking your iPad. All you do is press the Home button to activate the display and tap the screen with your Apple Pencil. That will open the Notes app, which will allow you to create a new note.
If you have a drawing you want to copy all or part of, you can lay it over your iPad and use your Apple Pencil to trace it. Your iPad will still pick up your Apple Pencil through the paper in most cases.
Apple Pencil Alternative
While there aren’t many styluses out there that have the full set of features the Apple Pencil has, there are a few worth mentioning.
The Logitech Crayon is a strong contender for the Apple Pencil in some ways. It automatically supports the same palm-rejection technology the Apple Pencil does, for one thing. It’s cheaper, typically costing $65-$70. While it doesn’t support the pressure sensitivity like the Apple Pencil, it does support the tilt-sensitivity, which is something many styluses can’t. It is flat on two sides, and chunkier than the Apple Pencil, which some people find produces less hand strain over time.
Wacom Bamboo Sketch
The Wacom Bamboo sketch has a pressure-sensitive tip, which is good for drawing and artwork of all kinds. It features two shortcut buttons, which you can customize to fit your needs. The design is an ergonomic triangular shape for a comfortable grip. While the $80 price tag is getting close to the price of a first-generation Apple Pencil, which is an overall more feature-packed stylus, the Bamboo Sketch will work on older iPads and iPhones, and the Apple Pencil will not.
Adonit Pro 4
The Adonit Pro 4 doesn’t have palm-rejection, pressure-sensitivity, tilt sensitivity, or pretty much any of the other fancy features the Apple Pencil has. What it does have is a very smooth disc tip that glides over the surface of nearly any touchscreen without scratching. It is a very accurate basic stylus. But it’s also just $30. If all you need is a basic stylus, the Apple Pencil may be overkill for you. The Adonit Pro 4 is probably a better choice, and it’s one of the most well-regarded basic styluses available.
Is the Aple Pencil a Worthy Purchase?
The big question is whether the Apple Pencil is worth the price tag. That’s going to depend on your uses. If you are an artist, mark up a lot of documents on your iPad, or like to take a lot of handwritten notes, you’ll likely find that it is a good investment, and will make using your iPad much easier. But if all you do with your iPad is stream videos or read books, you will be much happier with no stylus or with a more budget-friendly option.
But is the Apple Pencil Worth it Compared to it’s Competition?
Whether it is worth the extra price to get the added features and quality of the Apple Pencil when compared to the alternatives is a close call for many people.
If Palm-rejection is important to you, your main options are the Apple Pencil and the Logitech Crayon. The Logitech Crayon doesn’t support the same pressure sensitivity that the Apple Pencil does, though. If you do not have a strong preference for the chunkier design of the Logitech Crayon, you’ll probably find the Apple Pencil well worth the difference in the price.
For those who need the pressure sensitive tip and those who have an iPhone or older iPad that Apple Pencil does not support, then the Wacom Bamboo Sketch may be a better selection. If you fall into this subset of people, you can’t properly use the Apple Pencil. If, however, you can use an Apple Pencil on your device, you’ll likely find it worth the extra price to get the additional features it boasts over the Bamboo Sketch.
For those just wanting a basic stylus, it is not worth the cost. Sure, you’re getting the quality of an Apple product, but it’s just not worth paying this much to get that quality. Not when you do not plan to make use of all the advanced features it offers beyond your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Apple Pencils Work With Screen Protectors?
Yes, your Apple Pencil should work with a screen protector. Some people find that thicker, glass screen protectors can affect thin lines, causing them to appear wobbly. Matte screen protectors may also wear out the tip of your Apple Pencil more quickly, which may require you to change tips more frequently.
Can I Use My Apple Pencil With An iPhone?
The Apple Pencil is only compatible with Apple iPads. While there are some hacks out there that claim to let you use the Apple Pencil on an iPhone, they often don’t work. And in any case, these hacks will not let your Apple Pencil function properly or allow use of the advanced features it offers. You’re better off with a different stylus, even a low-quality one, if you want to use it with an iPhone, Apple Watch, or another touchscreen device.
How Do I Take A Screenshot With An Apple Pencil?
It is simple to take a screenshot with your Apple Pencil. Just touch the tip of your Apple Pencil to either of the lower corners of the screen, then swipe up at an angle toward the center of your screen. At that point, you can edit or save your screenshot and tap Done.
What Is The Battery Life Of An Apple Pencil?
The Apple Pencil has about twelve hours of battery life when in use. If not in use, the battery should maintain a partial charge for several days before you need to recharge it.
How Do I Turn On The Apple Pencil?
The Apple Pencil has no way to turn it on and off. Instead, it goes into standby mode when not in use, then active mode when you begin using it. To begin using it, just make sure it is charged and paired with your iPad. Instructions for pairing and charging your Apple Pencil are both discussed above.