Apple Pencil Not Working? Try These Fixes

When your pencil acts up, the fix is often easy to handle

hand holding Apple Pencil against an iPad screen

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You’re just about to sit down with your iPad and do some brainstorming on your next brilliant idea when the Apple Pencil starts acting up. There are several possible causes behind your Apple Pencil not working. Below are several troubleshooting ideas to get that Apple Pencil back in working order.

Check the Battery

Is your Apple Pencil not charging? Could the battery on your Apple Pencil be dead? To verify if your Pencil is charged, do the following:

  1. Check the Widgets view on your iPad for the battery status. You can find widgets in the Today View. To get there, swipe right from the Home screen, the Lock screen, or while you’re looking at your Notifications.

  2. You should see a Batteries widget. If not, make sure you have your Pencil setup with Bluetooth.

    iPad screen showing widgets
  3. If the battery shows 0%, then plug in, recharge, and try again.

Bluetooth is off

As mentioned under the battery check, if your Apple Pencil doesn’t show up in the list of devices under the Battery widget, or there isn’t a Battery widget at all, it's most likely the Bluetooth is turned off. To check this, do the following:

  1. On your iPad, tap Settings.

  2. Tap Bluetooth.

  3. Tap the toggle switch to turn on Bluetooth.

  4. If you can’t get it to turn on, or you see the spinning/loading icon, restart your iPad, then try again.

    iPad Bluetooth setting screenshot

    This is also a great way to troubleshoot Bluetooth malfunctioning issues.

  5. That's it.

Bluetooth Not Paired

If your Apple Pencil's not pairing, or your iPad has lost the pairing, redoing the Bluetooth pairing process could resolve your Apple Pencil issues.

  1. Ensure the iPad is on, unlocked, and Bluetooth is enabled.

  2. If you see your Apple Pencil listed, you may need to re-pair.

  3. Tap the Apple Pencil, then select Forget This Device.

  4. Uncap your Apple Pencil and plug it into the lightning port of the iPad.

  5. A Bluetooth Pairing Request dialog should appear. Tap Pair to begin the pairing process.

    iPad screen showing Bluetooth dialog box
  6. If the dialog box from above does not appear, continue additional troubleshooting.

Pencil Tip Is Worn

If your Apple Pencil behaves erratically or not at all, the Pencil tip could be worn out. Replacing the tip is simple.

Although there isn’t an exact length of time the Pencil tip should last, many owners replace them when the feel, finish, or functionality starts to diminish. If the finish or feel is rough or sandpaper-like, you should replace the Pencil tip, as it could scratch the surface of your iPad.

  1. Unscrew the tip in a counter-clockwise direction until it comes off.

  2. Replace the new tip by screwing the tip clockwise until it feels secure in your Pencil.

The App Doesn’t Support Apple Pencil

Not all apps fully support the Pencil. To verify your Apple Pencil is working, open up a known supported app. The Notes app is a reliable and excellent choice to test your Pencil, and it should be on your home screen. If it isn’t, you’ll need to download and reinstall it.

Not a Supported iPad Model

If your Apple Pencil still doesn’t work, verify that your iPad supports it. The Apple Pencil works with the 2018 9.7-inch iPad and with all iPad Pro models. If your iPad isn’t one of those models, your iPad doesn't support the Apple Pencil and will not work.

Time to Contact AppleCare

If you’ve tried all of the above troubleshooting steps, it may be time to contact AppleCare; the Apple Pencil has a one-year limited warranty. If your Pencil is no longer covered by the warranty, per Apple the cost for battery service is $29. You can either take it to your local Apple Retail Store or call AppleCare at 1-800-MY-APPLE. You can also visit the Apple website for a mail-in repair or replacement.