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5 Apple Pencil Tips To Get the Most Out of Your iPad. Rubber tips for Apple pencil

Apple Pencil Tips To Get the Most Out of Your iPad

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The Apple Pencil enables you to do extraordinary things like digitizing your written notes or drawing images right on the newest iPad, iPad Mini, iPad Air, or iPad Pro. So, we’ve put together this list of handy Apple Pencil tips to help you unlock its full potential.

Check Apple Pencil Compatibility Before Buying

Apple Pencil is an outstanding tool for:

  • Budding artists
  • Businesspeople
  • Graphic designers
  • Illustrators
  • Serious notetakers
  • Students

But you should take some time to figure out what you need Apple Pencil for and which one would be best for you. Currently, there are two generations of Apple Pencil.

The first-generation Apple Pencil works with the following devices:

  • Eighth to sixth-generation iPads
  • Fifth-generation iPad Minis
  • Third-generation iPad Airs
  • First- and second-generation iPad Pro 12.9-inch
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch

Meanwhile, the second-generation Apple Pencil works with these devices:

  • Fourth-generation iPad Air
  • Third-generation and later iPad Pro 12.9-inch
  • First-generation and later iPad Pro 11-inch

Besides tablet compatibility, there are some features that are only available on one version. For example, only the second-generation Apple Pencil can attach magnetically to your device.

But whichever Apple Pencil you go for, there’s no doubt that this small tool can have a big impact on your iPad usage.

Switch Writing Drawing Tools With Ease Using Double-Tap

The second-generation Apple Pencil enables you to double-tap near the tip of the pencil to switch between tools. Imagine that you’re drawing or writing and you make a mistake. You don’t even have to change your grip, simply double tap your Apple Pencil with your index finger and it will change to the erase tool.

By default, the double-tap switches to the erase tool. But you can easily program the double-tap feature to switch between your present tool and an earlier tool of your choice.

Customize Your Double-Tap Experience

And how can you change the function of the double-tap to something other than the erase tool? You’re in luck because we have an Apple Pencil tip for that.

You only need to follow a few simple steps:

Then under “Double Tap” you’ll have four options:

  • Switch Between Current Tool and Eraser
  • Switch Between Current Tool and Last Used
  • Show Color Palette
  • Off

Hit “Switch Between Current Tool and Last Used” then all you have to do is select two tools in your Apple Pencil toolset, for example the pen and the highlighter. Now when you double tap, you’ll be switching between those two tools.

The tools you can choose from include:

  • Scribble
  • Pen
  • Highlighter
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Selector
  • Ruler

It’s important to remember that double-tap only works with supported programs such as the Notes app.

Change the Pencil Stroke With Ease

Drawing is where Apple Pencil shines. You may have thought you could use it to just draw lines. But you can also shade in drawings, too. All you need to do is tilt the pencil and use the flat side of the tip to shade in areas on your iPad.

There’s no button to press or anything to switch manually. Here’s all you need to do:

  • Tilt your Apple Pencil to the side.
  • Move the flat side of the tip across an area to shade it.

This intuitive action is just like shading an area with a regular pencil.

Apple Pencil is also pressure sensitive. You control the thickness of your lines by pressing down harder for darker lines or with less pressure for lighter lines.

Trace Through Paper With Your Apple Pencil

This is one of the Apple Pencil tips we were most excited about—the trace through paper option. With this cool feature, you can write on paper and create digital images right on your iPad at the same time. Simply put a piece of paper on top of your iPad and whatever you trace will appear on your screen. The Notes app can help with this feature, but there are other apps you can download that will enable this feature, too.

It’s essential to make sure that your paper isn’t too thick. For example, printer paper like TreeZero tree-free printer paper works perfectly fine.

You may also have trouble with this feature if you have a screen protector. So, you’ll want to remove it before you start tracing.

Still, the trace through paper feature is a fantastic way to digitize documents and images. Imagine that you need to trace the details of a map into your iPad. You can choose which elements to include and what to omit. You can also use this feature to draw images onto your tablet and make great digital art.

Draw Perfect Shapes With Shape Recognition

Artists create amazing drawings using Apple Pencil. The rest of us, however, may need a little assistance in the artistic area. The Apple Pencil shape recognition feature snaps your wobbly scribbles into perfectly shaped renderings.

As long as you’ve updated to iPadOS 14, your operating system will recognize shapes as you draw. As it does, it will convert your wonky forms to perfection and is an Apple Pencil tip you don’t need to enable yourself, the pencil automatically does it.

All you need to do is draw the shape. When you’re done, however, keep your pencil in contact with the screen, don’t lift the pencil. iPadOS 14 will recognize the shape and convert it to its perfect form.

Apple Pencil Tips Work Best With the Latest Operating System

Apple Pencil is a remarkable tool that has received rave reviews from users. Still, it gets even better with iPadOS 14, so make sure you update your tablet to get the most out of your Apple Pencil.

If you’re new to using Apple Pencil, start by familiarizing yourself with the functions of the Apple Pencil toolset. (The toolset pops up automatically when you open a compatible app, like Notes.)

You can also move the tool palette around on your screen so that you have more room to write or draw, or minimize it when desired. Now that you know a little more about Apple Pencil you can go create something great!

Signs it’s time to change your Apple Pencil Tip

Have you been using your Apple Pencil for a year or more? Regular use over time causes the tip to wear down and results in it becoming less responsive. Unlike a normal lead pencil, it’s not always obvious to tell when the time comes for a refresh! If you’re unsure, you can check against the following 5 key factors.

You will most likely experience a combination of most or all of these if you are due for a replacement.

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Create stunning calligraphy in Procreate with no experience or special tech skills (even if you have messy handwriting and don’t think you’re creative enough)

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You’ve been using the same tip for over a year Let’s start with the easiest one first! If you use your Apple Pencil reasonably often and have owned it for more than one year, there is a good chance you are ready for a replacement!

There is a large amount of friction Do you feel a lot of friction when you’re drawing strokes on your iPad? Even if you’re using a matte screen protector, the Apple Pencil should glide across your screen without too much drag.

Brushes aren’t working as expected in Procreate Do you notice little broken gaps in your brush strokes when using Procreate? As long as you’re not using a brush that is designed to do this of course, it could be another sign that it’s time to change your tip.

The pencil is less responsive The iPad is very responsive to the pencil. If you need to tap quite hard, or re-tap because the first time didn’t register, you will definitely benefit from replacing your tip.

The tip is worn down and feels rough to touch Run your finger along the tip of the Pencil to see how it feels. If it is rough to touch and the plastic is worn down, it is due for an update.

Where to Find Replacement Tips

If the above results in you needing a new tip, you most likely own a 1st Gen Apple Pencil (seeing the 2nd Gen Pencil is a pretty recent release!). A replacement tip was provided with the 1st Gen Pencils inside the original box. But don’t worry if you have lost yours. You can pick up a pack of 4 either online or in the Apple Store for less than 20. They are compatible with both the 1st and 2nd Gen Pencils, so they will be suitable even if you decide to upgrade to the 2nd Gen in the near future.

How to Replace your Apple Pencil Tip

If you’re feeling a little apprehensive about changing your tip rest assured, it’s an easy and straightforward process! Follow these simple steps below.

Step 1. In preparation for the job, have your replacement tip ready nearby so you won’t be fumbling around trying to find it with a naked pencil with no tip! Once you’re ready, unscrew the old tip by turning in it in an anti-clockwise motion.

How to tell when your Apple Pencil tip should be changed, and how to change it

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  • You should change your Apple Pencil’s tip if it starts to feel rough, uneven, or unresponsive.
  • If you need to press hard on your iPad to use the Apple Pencil, the tip is probably worn down.
  • You can change your Apple Pencil’s tip by gently unscrewing it.

When you first use an Apple Pencil, it might seem even smoother than a real pen. But like most gadgets, it’s not built to last forever. Its tip can get worn down pretty quickly, turning that smooth glide into a chunky drag.

Luckily, Apple sells replacement Pencil tips, and they’re pretty easy to switch out. But how can you tell when it’s time to buy a new tip for your Apple Pencil?

Here are three telltale signs that signal you need to change your Apple Pencil’s tip, along with a quick guide on how to do it.

How to tell when to change your Apple Pencil tip

It looks and feels jagged

A new Apple Pencil tip should be totally smooth. But as you draw or write with it, even if you’re not pressing hard, it’ll get worn down.

If your Apple Pencil’s tip has jagged and sharp edges or an irregular shape — or in extreme cases, you can see the metal inside — it’s probably time for a replacement. If you keep using the Pencil while it’s in this state, you’ll risk scratching up your iPad‘s screen.

Quick tip: Using your Apple Pencil on a screen protector, especially a matte one, will wear the tip out faster.

Your iPad won’t respond to it

Do you find yourself needing to tap your iPad’s screen multiple times before you get a response? When you’re drawing, do your lines have holes in them? If so, there’s probably an issue with your Pencil tip.

When your Apple Pencil’s tip is faulty, your iPad’s screen will have trouble sensing it. This means that you’ll need to press harder and tap more, and still won’t always get a response.

If your iPad consistently misses touch inputs from the Pencil, replace the tip.

Quick tip: This assumes that your Pencil and iPad can still pair and connect. If your iPad and Apple Pencil won’t even connect, then there’s likely an issue with the entire Pencil, not just the tip.

You’ve used your Apple Pencil for a long time without replacing the tip

There’s no set amount of time that it takes to wear out an Apple Pencil. If you barely ever use your Pencil, the tip might last for years; if you’re a Procreate whiz who draws every day, it might not make it six months.

But in general, the average Apple Pencil user should replace the tip at least once every two years. This is more than enough time to wear down a Pencil tip. Even if your current Pencil tip doesn’t look worn out, consider changing it anyway — you’ll be saving yourself headaches in the future.

How to change your Apple Pencil tip

You can buy new Apple Pencil tips from a variety of sites online. Apple sells a four-pack of their own official replacements — they’re compatible with both versions of the Pencil.

To take off your Apple Pencil’s current tip, squeeze it between two fingers and turn it counterclockwise to unscrew it. It should come off within seconds.

Once it’s off, place your new Pencil tip on the metal prong and screw it clockwise until it’s tight. Once it stops turning easily, you can let go.

William Antonelli (he/she/they) is a writer, editor, and organizer based in New York City. As a founding member of the Reference team, he helped grow Tech Reference (now part of Insider Reviews) from humble beginnings into a juggernaut that attracts over 20 million visits a month. Outside of Insider, his writing has appeared in publications like Polygon, The Outline, Kotaku, and more. He’s also a go-to source for tech analysis on channels like Newsy, Cheddar, and NewsNation. You can find him on @DubsRewatcher, or reach him by email at wantonelli@insider.com.

We may receive a commission when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

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Why is my Apple Pencil not working? Here’s how to fix it

Get to the root of why your Apple Pencil isn’t working.

The Apple Pencil is the best stylus you can use with your iPad but alas, nothing is perfect – not even the Apple Pencil. Perhaps you’ve found yourself in the middle of sketching or taking notes when all of a sudden, your pen strokes aren’t appearing on-screen. You lament: “Why is my Apple Pencil not working?”

We’ve put together a list of four reasons why your Apple Pencil may have stopped working along with the steps you can take to fix the issue. Some of these reasons may seem painfully obvious, but others less so. Fortunately, most Apple Pencil issues can be resolved without having to make a trip to the Genius Bar.

We believe the iPad Pro is one of the best drawing tablets you can buy. The sublime experience of drawing with an Apple Pencil is one of the myriad reasons why we think so. Thus, getting your Apple Pencil to work once again is crucial, and we’re here to help with that.

Is your major problem with the Apple Pencil the fact that you keep misplacing it? Learn how to avoid losing your Apple Pencil and avoid shelling out money for a replacement. Meanwhile, if you want to use the Apple Pencil to its fullest potential, have a look at the best iPad Pro apps that work beautifully with the Apple Pencil.

Why is my Apple Pencil not working: Charging problems

Your Apple Pencil may have stopped working because it ran out of juice. Fortunately, this is very easy to deduce – check the Today View on your iPad to see how much of a charge your Apple Pencil has left.

How you charge your Apple Pencil varies between models. If you have a first-generation Apple Pencil, plug it into your iPad’s Lightning connector or via USB with the Apple Pencil Charging Adapter. A second-generation Apple Pencil, meanwhile, can charge when you attach it to the magnetic connector on your iPad.

Why is my Apple Pencil not working: Pairing problems

There’s a chance your Apple Pencil unpaired from your iPad. Check your iPad’s Bluetooth settings to confirm this. If your iPad’s Bluetooth is enabled, go ahead and re-pair your Apple Pencil.

To pair a first-generation Apple Pencil (see our Apple Pencil 1 review), simply plug it into your iPad via the Lightning connector, which will then generate a prompt asking if you’d like to pair. If you have a second-generation Apple Pencil, just attach it to the magnetic connector on your iPad to pair it.

Why is my Apple Pencil not working: Nib problems

The quality of the tip of your Apple Pencil (also known as the nib) can hinder your ability to draw properly on your iPad. The Apple Pencil’s nib is loose – which means you’ll just have to tighten it. However, if the Apple Pencil nib feels rough to the touch, or it doesn’t glide smoothly on your iPad screen, it’s time to replace it with a new one. (Another way to tell: your Apple Pencil tip has exposed metal.)

The first-generation Apple Pencil comes with one replacement tip, but the second-generation Apple Pencil doesn’t include any spare nibs at all. Fortunately, you can purchase a replacement pack of Apple Pencil tips so you’ll always be ready to replace the nib when needed. (You’ll find some deals for those below.)

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