If you like to sketch or draw either professionally or as a hobby, an Apple Pencil is one of those accessories for your kit you can and must buy for your iPad, this pencil makes all the difference and will help you make the most out of the iPad by allowing you to sketch, doodle, annotate, handwrite, and much more.
The first Apple Pencil was launched in 2015 and the Apple Pencil 2 was released in 2018. This marks a significant change for artists and workers as well because until the first Apple Pencil users had only their fingers as an option and the sleek more accurate stylus was a much welcomed change.
Since March 2019 all iPad models support either the first generation or the second of the Apple Pencil, and if you do not have one for your iPad already consider getting one to make the most out of your iPad.
From running a professional program to just simply scrolling through the news the Apple Pencil makes everything smoother and easier.
If you’re considering buying an Apple Pencil or have one already, and want to know how to take full advantage of everything you can do with the Apple Pencil, just browse this simple guide as it includes everything you need to know about the Apple Pencil.
You can buy your new Apple Pencil from Apple’s website directly as well as from many third-party retailers such as Amazon, but note if you buy directly from Apple you can get the Apple Pencil engraved there for free.
When you are ready to purchase your new Apple Pencil there are a few things to keep in mind, mainly what version of iPad you use and which of the Apple Pencils it will support. All iPad models do not have support for both Pencils.
It is important to remember that there is a difference between both generations of the Apple Pencil and neither is supported by all iPad devices. The second-generation Apple Pencil only works with certain iPad Pro models (and the first-generation Apple Pencil does not work on newer iPad Pro models).
To help make it easier for you to pick the right one, just go through the lists below.
- The first generation of the Apple Pencil is compatible with
iPad Air (3rd generation)
iPad mini (5th generation)
iPad (6th generation)
10.2-inch iPad (7th generation)
10.2-inch iPad (8th generation)
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation)
iPad Pro 10.5-inch
iPad Pro 9.7-inch
- The second generation of the Apple Pencil is compatible with
iPad Air 4
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation)
iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation)
iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation)
How you can tell the difference between the Apple Pencil first and the second generation.
The main and most noticeable difference is the silver band around the top of the first generation pencil, the newer second generation one does not have this.
The Apple Pencil 2 has a matte finish and one flat side whereas the Apple Pencil 1 has a smooth, shiny finish and is completely round. The second generation Apple Pencil has the word “Apple Pencil” written on its flat side.
The Apple Pencil 2 locks onto the side of your iPad magnetically, and charges wirelessly when it’s in position, making it easy for you to have it charged and close. Alternatively, the Apple Pencil 1 needs to be plugged in.
The Apple Pencil 2 also comes with a double-tap function, so for certain apps all you need to do is quickly tap the lower part of the stylus twice to switch back to a previous tool you were using. This double-tap feature is customizable and can be set to show the color palette or activate the eraser.
When you are ready to start using your Pencil, the first thing is to pair it.
How to pair the Apple Pencil 1
- First, make sure the iPad you are using is on and unlocked, then uncap your Pencil.
- Plug in your Pencil to the new iPad.
- Once plugged in, A Bluetooth pairing request appears, select Pair.
How to pair the Apple Pencil 2
- First, make sure your iPad you want to use is on and unlocked.
- Next, place the Apple Pencil on the wide side of the iPad Pro where the magnetic strip is located.
- Select Pair when the Bluetooth pairing request appears.
Now your Apple Pencil is connected and ready to use.
Charging your Apple Pencil
Once your Apple Pencil reaches 20%, 10%, and 5%, respectively, you will receive a charge warning. Note that you can also check your current battery levels at any time by bringing up Notification Center.
Charging your Apple Pencil 1 using your iPad Pro and lightning adapter
Take off the cap from your Apple Pencil.
Insert your Apple Pencil’s Lightning connector into your iPad or iPad Pro’s Lightning port.
With the adapter insert your Apple Pencil’s Lightning connector into the lightning adapter and then plug the Lightning adapter into your Lightning cable.
Charging of the Apple Pencil 2 has been made a lot easier but the is only one way unlike before.
To charge just place the Apple Pencil on the wide side of the iPad Pro with the magnetic strip and you’re done.
The Apple Pencil’s quick-charge technology provides users up to 30 minutes of use after a 15-second charge, but it is recommended to charge your Pencil for at least 5-10 minutes to avoid constant recharging.
All primary interactions the Pencil has with the iPad’s screen happens through the Pencils white nib on the Apple Pencil 1 and with the nib or a double-tap on the flat side of the Apple Pencil 2.
Apple Pencils are fully pressure sensitive, so when you need to draw a thicker, darker line all you need to do is press harder against the screen.
If you want to shade in a particular area just tilt your pencil to the desired angle and start shading. This works for writing calligraphic letters as well.
Another amazing feature is being able to trace off a paper. Simply place the paper over the iPad and the painting app and start going over the lines with your Apple pencil.
With the Apple Pencil you can perform basic navigational tapping and swiping within iOS. Multitouch gestures and the Pencil are recognized separately by the iPad’s operating system.
With the launch of the second generation of the Apple Pencil, Apple incorporated a new feature, when you double tap on the flat side of the Pencil, you will be able to switch between tools and different modes. For example, when drawing and an error occurs, just double tap to switch to the eraser.
Below are instructions on how to change the functions of the double tap to what suits you best.
- First, open the Settings tab on your iPad.
- Next, select Apple Pencil.
- And finally, choose the option you would like to use from, switch between current tool and eraser, switch between current tool and last used, show color palette, or Off.
Apple Pencil tips and tricks
To help protect the screen don’t press too hard with the stylus onto the screen, inputs will be picked up anyway, in fact, the iPad understands how hard you’re pressing and many drawing apps will therefore adjust the mark left depending on the amount of pressure.
If you have the first generation pencil, it sticks out at an angle when you charge it with just the connector attached. So it is recommended to leave the iPad on a flat surface, out of the way when charging the Pencil to avoid breaking the connector.
You can also replace the white nib of your Apple Pencil once it’s worn out. It is easy to replace too. Just unscrew the old nib from the Pencil and replace it with a new one. New tips from Apple are 19 USD for a pack of 4.
Once you have got your Apple Pencil going, you will need a good app to go with it in order to get the best sketching or drawing experience. Some of the best you can get out there right now are Sketchbook, Pixelmator, Tayasui Sketches, and Krita.
If you have not got an Apple Pencil for your iPad yet and are looking to get one, the link for both generations of the Apple Pencil is given below. Keep in mind that if you have a 2015, 2016, or 2017 iPad Pro, or a 2018 9.7-inch iPad, you will need to pick up the first generation Pencil. If you have a 2018 iPad Pro or newer you will need the second generation Pencil.
The current price for the Apple Pencil first generation is 99 USD, and 129 USD for the second generation Apple Pencil.