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How to use an Apple Pencil? | 2021 Guide

I have been an avid iPad user and I have always felt the experience was near perfect. I didn’t realize how much better it could be with the Apple Pencil. I’ve had my doubts regarding the device but boy was it a game-changer. The reason I bought one because I constantly take notes for my other articles and I sketch a lot in my free time. Check out my guide on “How to use an Apple Pencil?” for more details.

I was pleasantly delighted by the experience. Along with helping me take notes and in my sketching sessions, it improved on the way I use my iPad. I love using the Apple Pencil for general navigation too, it’s sleek and slender and feels good in my hands. It is one of the best purchases that I made to improve an already excellent experience with the iPad.  

After having used both generations of Apple Pencils for almost 4 years and having put it through a series of stress tests. We found that:

The process of using an Apple Pencil is easy and convenient. The user has to start by pairing the Apple Pencil to the iPad. Once, this step is completed and the battery is charged; The user can draw, write, sketch or navigate in your iPad. It can be used as a replacement for the user’s finger. The nib essentially functions like a fingertip, but niftier in certain use cases.

How to use an Apple Pencil?

Table of Contents

How to connect Apple Pencil

To use your Apple Pencil with your iPad, you’ll have to pair them both together first. Having a compatible version of both products is a requirement. Both versions have different methods of pairing the Apple Pencil to your iPad. 

Pairing 1st gen Apple Pencil 

To pair the first generation of Apple Pencil to your iPad:

  • Remove the cap at the end of the Apple Pencil to reveal the lightning connector at the end. 
  • You have to plug the lightning connector into the iPad you want to pair with.  
  • This will prompt a Bluetooth pairing request, accept it by selecting the ‘Pair’ option. 

Pairing 2nd gen Apple Pencil 

To pair the second generation of Apple Pencil to your iPad: 

  • You need to make sure your iPad is powered on and unlocked. 
  • Place the Apple Pencil on the magnetic stripe on the side of your iPad. 
  • You will be asked to Pair your iPad and your Apple Pencil, accept it to pair them. 

You can pair your Apple Pencil to other compatible iPads the same way.

How to check the Battery level 

Apple Pencils don’t have a battery indicator on them so you have to use your paired iPads to check their battery level. Both generations of Apple Pencils share the same method to check their battery levels. To check them, you have to: 

  • Open the notification centre on your iPad. 
  • Swipe right to the widgets screen. 
  • You can view the charge of your Apple pencil under the batteries section. 

(You need to have the battery widget in use to see it. You can add the battery widget by tapping on the green add button at the end of the widgets screen).

The second generation of Apple Pencil has another method through which you can check its battery life. Placing the Pencil on the magnetic strip of the iPad will pop up a notification displaying the charge left in the Pencil. 

How to charge your Apple Pencil

Both generations of Apple Pencil use tiny batteries to keep them powered and to be connected to your iPad. They also have various special mechanisms like pressure sensitivity which require it to use power. Therefore, you have to charge them to use them. Both generations have different charging mechanisms.  

1st Gen

The first-gen Apple Pencils have lightning connectors. This connector is used to charge the pencil too apart from being used in the pairing process. To charge your first-gen Apple Pencil, follow these steps:

  • Remove the cap to reveal the lightning connector at the end of the pencil. 
  • Plug the lightning connector into your iPad’s lightning port to charge it. You can attach the cap magnetically near the power button in case of risk of losing it. 

Charging using the above method one with risks. Since the pencil is connected to the lightning port on your iPad to charge, you can accidentally break it off. I would recommend you to keep the iPad and the Pencil on a flat surface o make sure it is safe. Or you can check the alternative way to charge your Apple Pencil.

You can also charge your Apple Pencil using the include the lightning adapter that comes with the Pencil. For this method, remove the cap on your Apple Pencil and connect it to the lightning cable adapter. You can now charge it using your iPad’s charger. 

2nd Gen

The second generation of Apple Pencils doesn’t have lightning connector so they rely on getting charged wirelessly. There is only one way but it is easier and more convenient to charge. Just place your Apple Pencil on the magnetic strip of your iPads and they will charge on their own. 

Apple Pencils have quick charge technology, so with a 15-second charge, you can get up to 30 minutes of use from them. Charging them for 5-10 minutes gives extended usage time and saves you the trouble of not needing to charge it every once in a while. 

How to un-pair your Apple Pencil from your iPad

Apple Pencils will automatically unpair from one iPad when you pair them to a different iPad. But if you want to manually unpair them, follow these steps:

  • Open the setting app on your iPad. 
  • Go to Bluetooth. 
  • Tap on the info button near your Apple Pencil under My Devices. 
  • Tap on forget to unpair your Apple Pencil. 

How to use Apple Pencil with your iPad or iPad Pro

Apple Pencil is pressure and tilt-sensitive. This gives it a lot of functionality as you can press harder to draw thicker lines. When taking notes, it is recommended to use the Pencil lightly so that you can avoid the risk of damaging the screen over time.

The pressure sensitivity feature is useful when drawing and sketching, so you don’t have press hard on the screen all the time. You can tilt the Apple Pencil to shade on the screen, the way you would do with a traditional pencil on a paper. You can also use the tilt function to draw calligraphic letters. 

 Apple Pencil also has a double-tap function. It is up to the app developers to decide on what the double-tap function does. This function triggers the eraser in most apps except for the Notes app. The Notes app allows you to change the function to different ones. They are:

  • You can switch between the current and last used tool to show the color palate. 
  • You can switch from the current tool to the eraser. 
  • Or you can use double tap to switch off the pencil. 

You can use the Apple Pencil to navigate your iPad 

You can use your Apple pencil to do most of the tasks you do with your finger including navigation. You can use it in between drawing or writing sessions to open, move through apps and browse your iPad. All the basic navigation controls like tapping, swiping etc., works with the Apple Pencil. 

The only functions that the Apple Pencil doesn’t support are multi-touch or multi-finger gestures. In iOS multi-touch gestures and the Pencil are recognized separately so they don’t work together.

But some app manufacturers can implement to use both your finger and pencil at the same time if they want to.

Astropad studio allows this, you can use both your finder and Pencil at the same time. The Notes also allows this, you can touch two fingers on the screen to get a ruler and you can draw straight lines with the pencil while doing this. 

Some gestures don’t work with the Apple Pencil. Gestures like swiping from the bottom to bring up recent apps and swiping down to bring the notification centre. This helps you to use drawing and sketching apps without accidentally opening them when working close to the edges.  

How to use an Apple Pencil? – Takeaway

Apple Pencil is a simple tool with multiple use cases that make your experience and life easier when using it with an iPad. Creative artists can take full advantage of it and I recommend picking one up.

There are other styluses that you can use, but in my opinion, Apple just does it best. Apple Pencil comes with a soft tip, compared to other styluses on the market.

It includes pressure and tilt-sensitivity to give precise and better control over your task. The use cases are many and I hope this guide helped you to know how to use the Apple Pencil.

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