Apple Pencil Guide: Tips & Tricks for Everyday Users

Apple Pencils and iPads are designed work together seamlessly to bring you a more streamlined workflow. Knowing how to use your Apple Pencil will allow you to get the most out of it. If you’re looking for Apple Pencil tips, you’ve come to the right place.

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Best Uses for an Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil may seem like a tool from the past, but it can improve your iPad experience considerably. When you use your Apple Pencil to navigate your iPad, you'll enjoy faster and more accurate navigation. You'll also be able to take notes, doodle, mark up documents, and highlight with ease. 

Unfortunately, it's not easy to find thorough how-to resources for pairing, charging, and basic use of the Apple Pencil. This guide should answer your questions and maybe even provide you with some tips you didn't already know!

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Apple Pencil Tips & Tricks

Here are some great features of the Apple Pencil you may not know about:

  • Writing has been perfected on the Apple Pencil. When writing with this tool, the tip detects the pressure you are applying, along with your speed. The iPad then adjusts the line thickness of your pen strokes, just as if you were using a real pencil.
  • Your iPad detects when you are using your hand and when you are using your Apple Pencil, making everyday tasks simpler.
  • The iPad can detect your handwriting as words, allowing you to search for phrases you have written down using your Apple Pencil.
  • The Apple Pencil has a great battery, and should it run out, a brief charge will give you many minutes of use.

Using an Apple Pencil was intended to feel like using a regular pencil, and it achieves that goal with distinction. You can switch between using your finger and using the Apple Pencil as many times as you want without unpairing the Apple Pencil or changing settings. The iPad recognizes the change automatically, and adjusts its responses accordingly!

Continue reading to learn some need-to-know details about your Apple Pencil, along with a few tips.

How to Pair an Apple Pencil with an iPad

Pairing an Apple Pencil is simple, and is designed to be almost automatic.

Pair an Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) with Your iPad

  1. Bring the Apple Pencil close to the side of the iPad that has the volume buttons on it. It will magnetically attach to the iPad.

    Apple pencil second generation magnetic charging
    Image courtesy of Apple
  2. A prompt to connect will pop up on top of the iPad screen.
  3. Tap the prompt.

Now your second-generation Apple Pencil is paired with your iPad!

Pair an Apple Pencil (1st Generation) with Your iPad

  1. Remove the Apple Pencil cap and plug it in to the Lightning port on your iPad.

    Apple Pencil first generation remove cap to pair and charge
    Image courtesy of Apple
  2. A Pair button will appear. 
  3. Tap the Pair button.

This will pair your first-generation Apple Pencil with your iPad.

How to Check Apple Pencil Battery Levels

iPad Control Center will show your Apple Pencil battery life

Once you have paired your Apple Pencil, each time you connect it, a prompt will appear showing your Apple Pencil battery level. Alternatively, you can swipe down from the top of your iPad to see the Control Center, where the battery levels of your various connected devices will be displayed.

How to Charge Your Apple Pencil

Charge Your Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)

Apple Pencil battery at a glance

Connect the pencil to the side of your iPad that has the volume buttons on it. It should snap on, and a prompt at the top of your iPad screen will show you that your Apple Pencil is now charging.

Charge Your Apple Pencil (1st Generation)

Apple Pencil first generation charging adapter
Image courtesy of Apple

With a first-generation Apple Pencil, you can either plug it in using the Lightning port on your iPad or use the charging adapter that came with your Apple Pencil.

Open the Notes App with Your Apple Pencil

On iPad models that support Tap to Wake, you can simply tap the screen of your iPad using the Apple Pencil and then begin drawing or taking notes. This can even be done from the Lock screen.

How to Use & Customize Double Tap for Apple Pencil

If you have a second-generation Apple Pencil, you can take advantage of the Apple Pencil Double Tap feature to switch back to the tool you used last while writing, drawing, and more. Simply use your finger to tap twice near the tip of the Apple Pencil to switch to the previous tool, and then tap twice again to switch back when you're ready.

You can customize the Double Tap feature, allowing you to show the color palette and switch between the current or the last tool used on Apple Pencil. To do this:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPad.
  2. Tap on Apple Pencil.
  3. Select the Double Tap option you prefer.

    Apple Pencil Double Tap options

With these Apple Pencil tips, you'll be well on your way to using your tool like a pro.

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Author Details

Erin MacPherson's picture

Author Details

Erin MacPherson

Erin is a Web Editor for iPhone Life and has been a writer, editor, and researcher for many years. She has a degree in communication with an emphasis on psychology and communication, and has spent many of her professional years as a coach in various business and specialty fields. Erin officially joined the ranks of iPhone and Apple users everywhere around nine years ago, and has since enjoyed the unique and customized feel of Apple technology and its many gadgets. When she’s not working, Erin and her son enjoy outdoor adventures, camping, and spending time with their eclectic collection of pets.