What iPads Are Compatible With the Apple Pencil?

Find out which iPads support Apple's stylus

If you want to take digital notes or create beautiful art with an iPad, then you can’t go wrong with an Apple Pencil. This sleek, pencil-shaped stylus has great app support for artists, and the new Scribble feature in iPadOS 14 allows you to handwrite in any text box and have your handwriting converted to plain text.

There are several iPads on the market, and they aren’t all compatible with Apple Pencils. To complicate matters further, there are two different Apple Pencils, and they aren’t always compatible with the same devices.

But whether you’re buying an iPad for the first time or just looking for the right Apple Pencil to pair with your device, we’ve written a guide to simplify the process.

iPad works with...  Apple Pencil 1 Apple Pencil 2
iPad Pro 11-inch (2018 and later)    X
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2018 and later)    X
iPad Pro (all models pre-2018) X
iPad Air 4 (2020) X
iPad Air 3 (2019) X
iPad Mini (2019) X
iPad (2018 and later) X

Everything About the Apple Pencil

There are two generations of the Apple Pencil. They look a little different, but they both function as styluses. They’re more precise than a typical stylus, with pressure and tilt sensors that can recreate your handwriting or draw complex shapes.

The Apple Pencil has excellent app support. With iPadOS 14 and later, you can handwrite in any text field and have your handwriting converted into text, so you don’t need a keyboard to switch between writing notes, messaging, and drawing.

What’s the Difference Between Apple Pencils?

As long as you choose the Apple Pencil compatible with your iPad, you'll probably be satisfied. Here are the differences between the two generations of Apple Pencil.

Apple Pencil 1

The Apple Pencil 1 is made of shiny white plastic. It’s completely round, so it’s prone to rolling off desks and tables. A cap on the “eraser” end of the Pencil covers a Lightning connector. To charge this Pencil, you pull the cap off and plug it into your iPad’s charging connector.

Charging

It takes approximately 15 minutes to fully charge the Apple Pencil.

Apple Pencil 2

The Apple Pencil 2 is made of matte white plastic with a flat side to prevent rolling. It charges wirelessly by snapping onto the magnetic connector on the side of the iPad. This generation of the Apple Pencil has a feature called Double-Tap. By double-tapping near the tip of your Apple Pencil, you can switch back to the tool you used last, switch between the current tool and the eraser, or show the color palette. You can change how Double-Tap functions in the Settings app.

Do Apple Pencils Work on All iPads?

The two generations of Apple Pencil are each compatible with different devices, so it’s important to choose the one that works with your device. While most iPads on the market are compatible with one of the Apple Pencils, some older devices are not.

Which iPads Are Compatible With the New Apple Pencil?

If you want to use the new Double-Tap feature, you’ll need an iPad compatible with the Apple Pencil 2. The second-generation Pencil is compatible with the following devices: the iPad Air (4th generation), the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later), and the iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later).

Which iPads Are Compatible With the Old Apple Pencil?

The first-generation Apple Pencil is compatible with several of the older iPad models, including the iPad (6th, 7th, and 8th generation), iPad mini (5th generation), the iPad Air (3rd generation), the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st and 2nd generation), the iPad Pro 10.5-inch, and the iPad Pro 9.7-inch.

Which iPads Are Not Compatible With the Apple Pencil?

The following iPads are not compatible with either of the Apple Pencils: iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, the iPad (5th generation), the iPad Air (1st generation), and iPad Air 2.

How Can I Tell Which iPad I Have?

Before you buy an Apple Pencil, make sure to check which model your iPad is. You can check this in the Settings app by going to the General menu. Under “About,” find your Model Name. Compare it with the lists above to choose the right Apple Pencil for your model.

What Is the Cheapest iPad That Works With Apple Pencil?

If you want to switch to digital note-taking this semester, there’s no need to spend a fortune on an iPad Pro. You’ll be well-served by the 8th-generation iPad. This iPad, as of publication, costs $329 for the base model, and it has a 10.2-inch display which provides enough space for writing or drawing. It’s compatible with the 1st-generation Apple Pencil, which costs $99.

FAQ
  • How do you connect an Apple Pencil to an iPad?

    To connect a first-generation Apple Pencil to a compatible iPad, plug the Apple Pencil into the lightning port of your iPad and tap Pair on the screen. To connect a second-generation Apple Pencil to a compatible iPad, attach the Apple Pencil to the side of the iPad and tap Connect on the screen.

  • How do you charge an Apple Pencil 2 without an iPad?

    You can only charge a second-generation Apple Pencil by attaching it to a compatible iPad. Unfortunately, there is no way to charge it externally.

  • How do I check an Apple Pencil's battery charge level?

    If you have a second-generation Apple Pencil, attach the Apple Pencil to the paired iPad and view the battery status via the pop-up indicator. If you have a first-generation Apple Pencil, swipe down to reveal the Notifications center, swipe right to access the Widgets screen, then check the Battery widget to see your Pencil's charge status.

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