How to Use Apple Scribble in iOS 14

Convert your handwriting to text with an Apple Pencil and an iPad

What to Know

  • To enable Scribble, go to Settings on your iPad, select Apple Pencil, and toggle on Scribble.
  • Scribble automatically converts your handwriting to text.
  • You can also edit and delete text using Scribble.

This article explains how to enable and use Scribble to write and edit text and use the shortcut palette on an iPad running iPadOS 14 or later.

How to Enable Scribble

You can enable Scribble in just a few steps.

  1. Open the Settings on your iPad.

  2. Select Apple Pencil.

  3. Turn on the toggle for Scribble.

    iPad Settings for Apple Pencil Scribble enabled

You’ll notice a link for Try Scribble on this screen. If you tap this, you’ll see a few handy tips for using the feature. It's a great way to get started or use as a reference later.

Try Scribble Tutorial on iPad

The Try Scribble option only appears when you have Scribble enabled.

How to Handwrite in Text Boxes

You use text boxes all the time. When you type in a search field in Safari, address box in Mail, or message field in Messages, you’re using a text box. And with Scribble, you can write what you need in these fields, and it will convert to typed text.

There aren’t any special steps you need to take to convert your handwriting to text because it happens automatically. 

So, open an app that has a text box and give it a try! After you write inside of the box, you’ll see your word(s) magically change to typed text right before your eyes.

Handwriting in Google Search on Safari

The better your handwriting, the better Scribble works. So do your best to write clearly.

How to Edit Text With Scribble

If you are used to scratching out words you don’t need or drawing a line to separate characters, you’ll love the way you can do this with Scribble. Plus, Scribble lets you do things you can’t do with a physical paper and pencil, like join characters or add space.

Circle a Word to Select it with Scribble on iPad
  • Select text: Make a circle around a word or phrase or underline it. Once it’s highlighted, you can take the action you need.
  • Select a word: Double-tap a word to select it if you prefer it over circling or underlining.
  • Select a sentence or paragraph: Triple-tap a word in the sentence or paragraph to select it. Or, drag your Apple Pencil through a sentence or paragraph.
  • Join or separate text: Draw a vertical line between characters to separate or join them.
  • Add space to insert text: Tap and hold between words to add some space and then insert your text. 
  • Delete text: Scratch out one or more words by scribbling through them. You’ll see it disappear in seconds.
Scratched Out Word to Delete it With Scribble

How to Use the Scribble Shortcut Palette

If you use one of the actions above to select text, you can take advantage of the Scribble shortcut palette. The options vary based on the app you’re using. For example, in Pages, you can change the alignment, and in Notes, you can insert a table.

  1. To access the Scribble toolbar, tap the Apple Pencil icon.

  2. To move the toolbar to a different spot on the screen, tap and drag it.

  3. To close the toolbar, drag it to a corner on your screen. It will change back to the Apple Pencil icon.

  4. You can also shrink the toolbar when you don’t need it by minimizing it automatically. Tap More (three dots) and enable Auto-minimize.

    Scribble Shortcut Palette in Notes on iPad

What Is Scribble?

Scribble is a smart feature for iPad that lets you jot down notes, reply to messages, and use search boxes using handwritten text. Using an Apple Pencil, you can put away your keyboard and write just like you would with a physical paper and pencil.

You’ll also enjoy features like scratching out mistakes, circling or underlining words to select them, and joining or separating characters with simple lines.

Scribble Supported Devices

You need to have one of these supported devices to use Scribble with Apple Pencil.

First-generation Apple Pencil with these iPad models:

  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation or later)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch

Second-generation Apple Pencil with these iPad models

  • iPad Air (4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later)
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