The 5 Best Apps for iPad Pro Pencil

The pencil can do more than you ever imagined with the right app

Someone draws a skeletal hand using Apple Pencil.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Apple Pencil can do more than you've ever dreamed of with the right app. Here are some cool apps that use the Apple Pencil in combination with the iPad Pro.

01
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Best App for Casual Coloring: Pigment

A user drawing on the Pigment app.

Pixite Apps 

Multiple studies have shown that even adults benefit from coloring. Just a few minutes of coloring can have the same benefits as meditation, and Pigment is chock-full of features and patterns that let you color to your heart's content.

Choose from 24 different types of pencils and brushes, an unlimited number of colors, and three different modes (Freehand, Automatic, or Advanced) to completely customize your coloring experience. A shade slider lets you darken or lighten the color you're using so you can nail the shadowy parts of an image. While Pigment is great for beginners, it has enough features that a skilled artist can use to their full potential.

What we like:

  • Easy, casual options for coloring.

What we don't:

  • The "Premium" option is $59.99 for a year, which seems too high for an app like this.
02
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Best App for Serious Artists: Procreate

A user drawing on Procreate

Procreate

If your goal is to earn a living or create serious works of art with the iPad's Pencil, Procreate is what you're looking for. When it comes to creating art, Procreate has more than 136 brush types to choose from, as well as advanced layering options. You can also "do and undo" your work up to 250 times, so you should never be afraid to make a mistake.

Procreate is a complex tool that can have quite a learning curve to it, but the robust functionality makes it perfect for the graphic artist on the go. It takes full advantage of the Apple Pencil's pressure-sensitive strokes, so your own skill and dexterity will play a role in how the final piece turns out. However, at just $9.99, the app is inexpensive to start with and gives you the chance to learn as you work.

What we like:

  • Powerful functionality for in-depth works of art.
  • Both beginner and advanced features.

What we don't:

  • In-app purchases mean some tools are locked behind paywalls.
03
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Best App for On-the-Go Business: DocuSign

An image of the DocuSign app on iPad

DocuSign lets you electronically sign your signature to a document with the Apple Pencil. It's free to use, and there are no limits to how many documents you can sign each month. On the other hand, you also don't have to sign every single form. Once you create a signature, DocuSign will automatically apply it to the relevant lines if you tell it to do so.

What we like:

  • Document signing made easy.

What we don't:

  • Both parties must have DocuSign, so the recipient of a document will need to sign up if they haven't already.
04
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Best App for Mathematics: MyScript Calculator

Image of someone using MyScript Calculator with the Apple Pencil

MyScript 

Sometimes math is easier to do if you're working it out step-by-step, but you still want a calculator. That's where MyScript Calculator comes in. Just write out the problem like you would on a piece of paper, and the app translates your notes into a workable equation.

MyScript Calculator supports all basic operations, although more advanced symbols like limits and derivatives aren't compatible. You can write multiple calculations on a single page without erasing anything, which lets you handle complex math problems with ease.

What we like:

  • A calculator that feels like writing on a page.

What we don't:

  • More advanced math problems can't be done this way, which makes it less useful for higher level courses.
05
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Best App for Lyricists: Komp

Image of Komp App in Use

Komp

The iPad Pro has a number of useful apps for musicians, but songwriters are an underserved market. The creators of Komp realized this and combined the best parts of all the other apps on the market to create the ultimate music notation app around.

Komp recognizes rough sketches of notes and automatically converts them to proper notation. You don't need to worry about perfectionism when writing out your notes; just focus on getting the song down on the page.

You can also play back the song at any time to hear how it currently sounds, which makes it perfect for creating music on the fly. The app is designed from the ground up to take the complexity out of writing music so musicians can jot down random melodies and song ideas throughout the day.

What we like:

  • Easy, seamless music notation.

What we don't:

  • There's still plenty of room to grow, so using this app means believing in its potential.