Apple Pencil 2 Made Me Love My iPad Even More

Notetaking, journaling... I might even try drawing

Key Takeaways

  • The fully wireless and magnetic capabilities make it easy to pair and charge with iPads. 
  • The pencil makes notetaking easier, whether digitally handwritten or converted to type. 
  • The complimentary engraving adds a nice personal touch.
A closeup of the Apple Pencil sitting on a Magic Keyboard with the iPad mounted behind it.
Michelai Graham / Lifewire

The second-generation Apple Pencil is more than just a digital stylus; it's a necessity if you are itching for a better iPad experience. 

When I purchased my first iPad in 2013, I snagged the iPad mini. But when I decided to upgrade my mini for a second-generation, 11-inch iPad Pro, the addition of the Apple Pencil was an exceptional touch.

I love having an Apple Pencil handy because my iPad Pro sits upon a Magic Keyboard, so having the space to write and move things with the pencil has been much easier and more comfortable. 

Now, it's possible to function without an Apple Pencil, but you won't regret buying one. Many believe Apple Pencils are mainly for artists, but that's not true. You can also take handwritten notes, edit photos, and mark up PDFs. 

Some Brief History

The first-generation Apple Pencil came out in November 2015, and that version paired with iPads and charged using a lightning cable. The product's charging port rested under a small cap on the bottom of the pencil, which I saw most of my peers lose, leaving the port exposed.

That version of the Pencil remains compatible with all of the iPads that Apple currently has for purchase. 

"All in all, buying an Apple Pencil was a good investment. Maybe one day, it'll inspire me to take up some very beginner drawing lessons."

The second-generation Apple Pencil hit the market in November 2018, and is the most up-to-date version in Apple's digital stylus collection. This version is wireless, and pairs and charges via a magnetic connection with iPads. You also can double-tap on the action button, hidden on the sleek side of the pencil, to change tools.

Unlike its predecessor, the second-generation Apple Pencil only is compatible with the fourth-generation iPad Air, third and fourth generations of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and the first and second generations of the 11-inch iPad Pro. 

Both versions of the Apple Pencil have some lag-control capabilities and tilt and pressure sensitivity, to resemble pencil use as much as possible. 

The Main Perks  

Am I the only one who tries to flip my Apple Pencil over to use the eraser that's not there? That's how engaged I get with the Apple Pencil. I often forget it's not a "real" pencil.

I hate seeing fingerprints all over the iPad screen, so I use my Apple Pencil to take handwritten notes, journal, and play way too much Mahjong. I have my Apple Pencil double-tap settings set to switch between a simple pencil head and the eraser.

I also have the Scribble capability when taking notes, which allows me to handwrite notes and convert them into text. I usually turn this capability off when journaling in Evernote, which allows me more freedom to doodle a little.  

The Apple Pncil 2 atop an iPad Pro.
Michelai Graham / Lifewire

With the magnetic connection, my Apple Pencil stays charged up to 100% most of the time, and when I attach my pencil to my iPad, I'm able to see exactly how much battery remains.

When switching between tools, I like how my iPad displays a small image at the bottom of the screen that shows what I'm using. Even with this, I still have accidentally tried writing with the eraser instead of the pencil. 

Unfortunately, I'm no artist, so I haven't used my Apple Pencil for any drawing beyond basic doodles. I have, however, used it to indulge in some digital adult coloring books like the Pigment app.

Closeup of the engraving on an Apple Pencil 2.
Michelai Graham / Lifewire

Another nice perk about the second-generation Apple Pencil is that a purchase of one of these comes with complimentary engraving. I decided to brand mine with my social-media handle.

Some Things Apple Pencil Doesn't Do

Even though I'm mainly satisfied with the second-generation Apple Pencil, there still are some things I have to remind myself while using it.

The Apple Pencil does not function as a finger on the iPad; it can't touch as fingers can, so while I can use my pencil to scroll, I can't use it to swipe away from screens.

It's also not compatible with every app. I was kind of heartbroken when I found out it wouldn't work with the Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery game

All in all, buying an Apple Pencil was a good investment. Maybe one day, it'll inspire me to take up some very beginner drawing lessons.

Was this page helpful?