Even though Apple heavily focuses on and takes pride in making accessories that almost always work, just like every piece of technology, sometimes things stop working. And now that iPads have support for both the Apple Pencil 1 and 2, there is more of a likelihood that you might run into problems. Not because they are bad products — quite the opposite actually — but just because that is sometimes the reality with any tech device.
Regardless of which version of the pencil you are using, from time to time, you might run into some issues. Luckily, we have put together this guide to help you troubleshoot your Apple Pencil. Hopefully, with these 5 ways to fix an apple pencil that’s not working, you won’t have to contact Apple Support.
Let’s get into the troubleshooting!
Is Your Bluetooth Turned On?
For your Apple Pencil to work, you must have Bluetooth turned on. Even though it might seem like it’s too simple of a solution, there have been so many times we have forgotten to turn on Bluetooth before. To see if your Bluetooth is turned on, swipe down from the top right corner to open the Control Center.
In the Control Center, look for the Bluetooth symbol; if it is blue, it is on, and if it is not, that means it is off. If it is off, tap once on the icon to turn it on, making it blue.
Now with the Bluetooth on, tap and hold on the icon to bring up a list of paired Bluetooth devices. The device will show up here if you have previously had this Apple Pencil connected. You will see it pop up on this list, and if it is connected, under the name, you will see small text that reads Connected.
If it doesn’t say Connected, tap on the option that says Bluetooth Settings. If it is not in the My Devices list, there is a good chance it will be showing in Other Devices. Tap on the device to add it to My Devices and the device will automatically pair with it and connect.
Make Sure Both Components are Compatible
With the Apple Pencil having two generations and the multitude of iPad generations and models available, there is a chance the two components are not compatible with each other. Fortunately, we have put together two lists below for both the Apple Pencils and what iPads they work with.
Apple Pencil 2
- iPad mini (6th generation 2021)
- iPad Air (4th generation 2022 and later)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation 2018 and later)
- iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation 2015and later)
Apple Pencil 1
- iPad mini (5th generation 2019)
- iPad (6th generation 2018 and later)
- iPad Air (3rd generation 2019)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st 2015 and 2nd generation 2017)
- iPad Pro 10.5-inch 2017
- iPad Pro 9.7-inch 2015
If you do not see your specific iPad model in this list, to make sure it is compatible or not, check out Apple’s support page and enter in your particular specs. This page also has a guide to help identify which model of iPad you are using if you don’t know.
Charge Your Apple Pencil
One of the most common issues we have seen with Apple Pencils is people forgetting to charge them. To check on your Apple Pencil’s battery life, open Settings. Then, tap and scroll down to Apple Pencil, and at the top of the page, it will display the battery life. Note that this will only show up if your Apple Pencil is connected. If your pencil is dead, luckily for both the first and second generation, it is an easy process to charge them.
For the first-generation pencil, take off the cap on the “eraser” side of the pencil and plug the lighting port into the charging port of the iPad. Alternatively, if you have the lighting-to-lighting adapter that came with the pencil, you can use a lighting cable to charge it instead of using the iPad.
Second-generation pencils are even easier to charge. Place the pencil on the right side of the iPad where the magnetic connector is to start charging. Make sure the flat side of the pencil is facing toward the iPad, and it should snap into place. If it doesn’t, move the pencil up and down along the side of the iPad until it snaps into place. It is worth noting that second-generation pencils exclusively charge off of the iPad’s battery, so if it is low, plug it in for the most effective charge.
Check the Tip of the Pencil
If you have been using your pencil for a while, there is a chance that the tip is worn out or has gotten slightly unscrewed. If the tip or nib of the pencil is loose at all, it will not behave correctly and sometimes not work entirely. Make sure it is tight by spinning the tip clockwise until it gives you resistance.
Nibs are also known to wear out over time and use. While it will not fully break the pencil, it will make the experience of using it not super pleasant. If you want to get some replacements, Apple has a very reasonable 4-pack on Amazon for $19.00 right here.
To replace the tip, unscrew the nib by spinning it counterclockwise. Then, put the new nib on by rotating it clockwise. Remember to make sure it is on there all the way.
Turn It On and Off Again
If you have ever interacted with any tech support in the past, you have probably heard this troubleshooting tip. At this point, it is basically seen as a joke, but the amount of times this has actually fixed problems for us is pretty surprising. So, if you have made it through the 4 other troubleshooting tips and your Apple Pencil is still not working, try a restart. It might just surprise you.
Check out this video for some helpful hints:
For those of you who have made it through this article and your Apple Pencil is still not working, it is probably time to reach out to Apple Support. Luckily, compared to many tech companies, Apple has some of the best support as long as you have coverage. If you have coverage, you can contact Apple and bring it in for diagnosis and, hopefully, repair.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©blackzheep/Shutterstock.com.