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How to Check Stylus and Tablet Compatibility

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How to Check Stylus and Tablet Compatibility

Key Points

  • Tablets provide a variety of ways to consume content, but choosing a compatible stylus can be challenging.
  • The best way to check stylus and tablet compatibility is through the tablet itself or the manufacturer’s website.
  • Third-party styluses that work on Samsung tablets will often work with Google or Amazon tablets as well.
  • For iPads, the Apple Pencil is the best and most obvious choice, but compatibility can vary depending on the generation.
  • The original Apple Pencil is compatible with various iPad models, while the second generation is only compatible with specific models.
  • The newest Apple stylus, with a USB-C port, is compatible with the same iPads as the second generation Apple Pencil.
  • Windows tablets also have compatible stylus options, including branded devices like the Surface Pen.
  • Accuracy can vary when using cheaper stylus alternatives.

Tablets provide people with a variety of ways to consume content, but a stylus can take things to a whole new level. Unfortunately, figuring out stylus and tablet compatibility is easier said than done. Unless your slate comes with a stylus, you’ll want to know how to choose one compatible with your tablet, whether it runs Android or iOS.

How Do I Check My Stylus and Tablet Compatibility?

The best and fastest way to check stylus and tablet compatibility is through the tablet itself. If you know what type of tablet you own, you can sometimes find suggestions from the manufacturers’ official website.

They can often point users toward a compatible stylus if they don’t have their own brand available. If your tablet has a capacitive or conductive touchscreen, there is a solution for your needs, regardless of the operating system.

Android Stylus and Tablet Compatibility

In most cases, a third-party stylus that works on a tablet from Samsung will also work with a slate from Google or Amazon. I can speak to this from personal experience, although how well they actually work will vary.

I can use the same stylus to sign documents on my laptop or Fire tablet, and it also works on my smartphone. You just have to make sure the tablet has stylus support. An off-brand stylus with the USI standard will work on USI-compatible devices.

With that in mind, companies with a branded solution, like the Samsung S Pen, are often the best choice. You can check S-Pen compatibility here. Branded styluses were tested for use with specific tablets and typically come with additional features. With any stylus from a third-party manufacturer, you simply need to check their list of compatible devices to know if it will work.

samsung galaxy tab s7 vs ipad pro
The Samsung S Pen works with the Galaxy Tab S7, among other tablets.

iPad Stylus Compatibility

If you’re familiar with Apple’s ecosystem, you already know compatibility can be an issue. While you can still use and pair devices from other manufacturers, features are usually limited. If you have an iPad, the best and most obvious choice for a stylus is the Apple Pencil.

As with Android, the same rules apply if you want to use an Apple Pencil alternative on your iPad. Check with the stylus manufacturer to ensure their stylus is compatible with your iPad. You’ll want to check by generation and don’t rely on “universal” options. As for the Apple Pencil, compatibility is hit or miss with that stylus, depending on your iPad.

Original Apple Pencil Compatibility

The original Apple Pencil rolled out in 2015 alongside the original iPad Pro. It was a big selling point for the device, but it can work with other slates. The 1st generation Apple Pencil is compatible with the following iPad models.

  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch 1st gen
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2nd gen
  • iPad 6th through 9th gen
  • iPad Air 3rd gen
  • iPad mini 5th gen

Apple Pencil Gen 2 Compatibility

The second generation Apple Pencil came out in 2018, roughly three years after the original. It brought a new design and features to the table, which rules out certain iPads except for these models.

  • iPad Pro 11-inch (all models)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd gen or later)
  • iPad Air (4th gen or later)
  • iPad mini 6th gen
Logitech Crayon vs Apple Pencil
Check compatibility closely, as only one Apple Pencil version is compatible with a given iPad model

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USB-C Apple Pencil Compatibility

The newest stylus from Apple arrived in late 2023 as an affordable alternative to the Apple Pencil 2. While it doesn’t have zones like the 2nd gen pencil, it does have a new USB-C port hidden behind the cap. It’s compatible with the same iPads as the second Apple Pencil and the 10th-generation iPad through a USB adapter.

Other Types of Tablets

While we just touched on tablets that run Android and iPads, there are plenty of slates that rely on Windows. Windows-based phones went out with a whimper, but you can pick up Windows tablets from Lenovo, Dell, Microsoft, and other manufacturers.

Follow the process we covered in our guide to check stylus and tablet compatibility with any Windows tablet. You can choose from branded devices like the Surface Pen for specific tablets or turn to a variety of third-party options as well.

The Wrap-Up

There’s no big mystery behind figuring out which stylus works with a tablet; you just need to check compatibility beforehand. It’s also important to remember that accuracy can vary wildly from one tablet to the next when using cheaper alternatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will an Apple Pencil charge when an iPad is asleep?

Yes, the stylus will continue to charge with your iPad if the cover is closed or the screen is off.

Do third-party pens work on touchscreen laptops?

As long as the laptop’s screen is suitable for a stylus, you can use third-party alternatives.

Will an Apple Pencil charge when an iPad is asleep?

Yes, the stylus will continue to charge with your iPad if the cover is closed or the screen is off.

Do third-party pens work on touchscreen laptops?

As long as the laptop’s screen is suitable for a stylus, you can use third-party alternatives.

Is a Bluetooth stylus good?

Yes, they are highly compatible with a range of devices, although more expensive than a capacitive pen.

Is an active pen a stylus?

Yes, an active pen refers to an active stylus, which has more features, including electronics inside the pen.

Do you need an iPad to charge the Apple Pencil?

You can charge the Apple Pencil with a USB power adapter.

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