How to quickly and easily solve common problems with the Apple Pen

Like any other electronic gadget, Apple Pencil can sometimes have problems that prevent it from working as intended. The good news is that it is quick and easy to solve almost any problem with the Apple Pen.

Try these simple tricks to eliminate connectivity issues, stuttering and more when your Apple Pencil starts working.

You may have noticed that there is no reset button on the Apple Pencil, nor a removable battery. So you can’t just restart the pen when it’s not working properly… unless you’re waiting for the battery to discharge.

Fortunately, restarting the pen is probably not necessary. Instead, use the updates below, which will also work with first- and second-generation Apple Pencils.

Turn on the power

In most cases, the Apple Pencil stops working as intended because its battery is empty or completely empty. So, the first thing you need to do when you run into problems with Apple Pencil is to make sure your pen is charged.

You can monitor Pencil battery levels with Battery widget in Information Center. If yours doesn’t show up there, wait for it to fill up a bit, then look for it again.

If you have a first-generation Apple Pencil, refill it by removing the cover from the back of the pen, revealing the lighting connector. Plug it into your iPad. If you have an Apple Pencil 2, place it on the charging port built into your iPad.

Check out your Apple Pencil top

If your pen seems to be well connected, but it is not working properly, it is possible that its tip has loosened. Make sure it is securely fastened by squeezing the tip firmly and turning it clockwise. You could also try replacing the top with a new one.

Restart the iPad

Sometimes it’s not your Apple Pencil that behaves – it’s your iPad. If you still have problems after Pencil is refilled, try restarting your tablet. You can do this in the usual way by holding down the iPad power button and then dragging the slider that appears on the screen. Or you can perform a “hard reset” by following the steps below:

Hard reset iPad with Touch ID

  1. Keep pressed power button i Start button at the same time.
  2. Release both buttons when the Apple logo appears.

Hard reset iPad with Face ID

  1. Press and release volume up button.
  2. Press and release volume down button.
  3. Press and hold power button.
  4. Release the button when the Apple logo appears.

Pair the Apple Pencil again

If none of the above tricks solve the problems with Apple Pencil, the last step is to re-pair the device. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Open up Settings app on your iPad and tap bluetooth.
  2. Find Apple Pencil in the list of connected devices and tap blue info button next to its name.
  3. Touch Forget this device and then confirm by touching office.
  4. Re-pair your Apple Pencil or plug it into your iPad (first generation models) or by placing it on the iPad Pro charging bar (second generation models).

Use the right version of Apple Pencil

If Apple Pencil is new (or new to you) and won’t work with your iPad, it may be because it’s incompatible. There are two versions and each works with one group of iPads, but not the other. Or, if you have an older iPad, it may not be compatible with any Apple pen.

The original Apple Pencil debuted in 2015, and works with some basic iPad and iPad mini models, as well as older iPad Pro versions. In 2018, the Apple Pencil 2 came out, which works with iPad Pro models made since then, as well as with the latest iPad Air and iPad mini.

Quick tip: if your iPad has USB-C instead of backlight, it can only use Apple Pencil 2. Look for a wireless pen charging connector on the edge of the tablet.

Apple Pencil: iPad (6th, 7th, 8th and 9th generation), iPad Air (3rd generation), iPad mini
(5th generation), iPad Pro 12.9 inches (1st and 2nd generation), iPad Pro 10.5 inches, iPad Pro 9.7 inches

Apple Pencil 2: iPad Pro 12.9 inches (3rd, 4th and 5th generation), iPad Pro 11 inches (1st, 2nd and 3rd generation), iPad Air (4th generation) and iPad mini (6th generation)

Seek help from Apple

If you’ve tried everything listed here, and your Apple Pencil still doesn’t work properly, there may have been a hardware failure of some sort. The only solution to this is to return it to Apple for a replacement (home repairs are not possible).

Genius Bars are not currently open in many Apple retail locations, but you can get support through Apple’s website.

Note: Ed Hardy updated this article in January 2021.

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Naveen Kumar

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