Apple pencil not working? Here’s how to fix it.

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Is your Apple Pencil not working? There are a few reasons why your stylus may be malfunctioning, and since all iPads now work with Apple Pencil 1 or 2, there’s a higher chance than ever that you’ll be faced with this.

Apple pencil not working? Here's how to fix it.

Is your Apple Pencil not working? There are a few reasons why your stylus may be malfunctioning, and since all iPads now work with Apple Pencil 1 or 2, there’s a higher chance than ever that you’ll be faced with this.

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Possible causes will differ depending on which pen you have, as both offer their own connection and charging methods. However, we have both covered in this guide, so have no fear.

Apple pencil not working? Here’s how to fix it.

1. Check that it is compatible

If you just bought your iPad or Apple Pencil and don’t know why it’s not working, you may have the wrong Pencil for your iPad, or vice versa. Check out the list below to see which pens work with which iPad, or view the list on Apple’s support page (opens in a new tab) .

apple pencil 2

  • iPad mini (6th generation)
  • iPad Air (4th generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later)

apple pencil 1

  • iPad mini (fifth generation)
  • iPad (6th generation and later)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st and 2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch

If you already had your pen working, but it no longer works, then let’s try some other options.

2. Check that your Bluetooth is activated

Your Apple Pencil needs a Bluetooth connection to work, so if Bluetooth on your iPad is turned off, you won’t be able to doodle or take notes with it.

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Double check that your Pen is connected by tapping and holding the Bluetooth logo to open the connectivity widget and then tapping and holding it again to see your currently connected devices.

Go to the Settings app and check if Bluetooth says “On” (one of the first options in the menu list). If not, tap that title and then tap the slider to make it green. Your Apple Pencil should be listed below, showing that it’s currently connected.

3. Make sure it’s charged

One of the most common issues that cause an Apple Pencil to stop working is a lack of battery. That Bluetooth connection needs power, and your pen only has a limited battery capacity. To see how much power your Pen has, you can check in one of two ways:

Apple pencil not working? Here's how to fix it.
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Use a battery widget to give you an at-a-glance update on your Apple Pencil and other device batteries. To achieve this, tap and hold on your home screen until you enter “jiggle mode,” the state where you can edit the locations of apps on your home screen or remove them. Tap the More button in the top left corner to bring up the widget menu. Find the Batteries section and then select a widget size by swiping left and right .

Drag the widget to your home page or press the Add Widget button to place it on your home screen wherever you want.

There is an additional way to check the battery on the Apple Pencil 2. Attach it to your iPad via its magnetic connection. A battery indicator will appear at the top of the screen.

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If your pencil needs some juice, just plug it into your iPad . For a first generation pencil, remove the cap to expose the Lightning connector, and insert it into your iPad .

Alternatively, you can use the Lightning to Lightning adapter that came in the Apple Pencil box to charge the Pencil with a regular Lightning cable.

Plug the pen into the adapter specifically the end marked by the circle and then a Lightning cable into the other end.

For a second generation Pencil, place it on the right side of your iPad where the magnetic connector is, about half the length of the edge, with the flat side of the Pencil facing the iPad. It should click into place and start charging.

If not, try pushing the Pen so that it is centrally aligned with the connector . It doesn’t matter which way you point the pen tip. Your Pencil will be charged by your iPad’s battery, so make sure you’re also charging the tablet if it’s low on juice.

4. Check that your nib is positioned correctly

The end of your Apple Pencil can be unscrewed for replacement when worn, and can sometimes come loose on its own or while in use. Check that it is firmly attached by turning the tip clockwise .

6. Disconnect and reconnect your Pen

If the other methods fail, you may want to try disconnecting and then reconnecting the Apple Pencil to your iPad. How you re-pair an Apple Pencil depends on whether you’re using the original or second-generation Pencil.

The process starts the same either way. Go to the Settings app and then tap Bluetooth . Select the Apple pencil and then « Forget this device «

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Re-pair the pencil by connecting your first-generation Apple Pencil through its Lightning connector, or by attaching your second-generation Apple Pencil to the magnetic connector . When the pairing message appears, Approve it . If it doesn’t appear, wait a bit in case the pen needs to charge more, and then try again .

6. Try turning your iPad off and on again

It’s always worth seeing if restarting your iPad could help resolve the issue. If you don’t know how to do this, check out the how to turn off an iPad and iPad Pro section of our iPad Mega Guide or how to hard reset an iPad, specifically the soft reset and hard reset options. You don’t have to factory reset your iPad!

If none of these work, then something more important is going on with your Apple Pencil or iPad. You will need to contact Apple support or take it to Apple or another repair shop to see if they can diagnose the problem.

How about some more iPad tips before you go? Knowing how to screenshot a full page on iPhone and iPad is helpful, as is how to copy and paste with Universal Clipboard between your iPad and iPhone. Also, here is how to enable hidden touchpad on iPhone or iPad to navigate text more easily. We also have a complete guide to the hidden iPhone features that everyone should know about. And if an Apple tablet upgrade is waiting for you soon, there is how to transfer data from iPad to iPad.

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