Use Apple Pencil with your iPad

You can use Apple Pencil to write, mark up, and draw.

Before you begin

Draw with Apple Pencil

Open an app, like the Notes app. With iPadOS, move the tool palette around the screen or minimize it so you have more space to draw and sketch. The tool palette has different tools, depending on the app you're using. Use the ruler tool to create straight lines, then rotate them with your fingers. Made a mistake? You can erase by object or even by pixel.

To draw in the Notes app:

  1. Open Notes.
  2. Tap  to start a new note.
  3. Start drawing with your Apple Pencil. 

You can also start by tapping  to open the tool palette. Choose from several drawing tools and colors, and switch to the eraser if you make a mistake. Double-tap the eraser to view erasing options on your iPad. When you draw, you can tilt your Apple Pencil to shade a line and press more firmly to darken the line. You can drag the tool palette to a different edge of the screen. Tap  to auto-minimize the tool palette and see more options.

Learn more about drawing with the Notes app.

Drawing near the edge of the screen with your Apple Pencil won't activate Control Center, Notification Center, or Multitasking. You can draw anywhere on the screen without getting interrupted.

Write with Apple Pencil

You can write a note with your Apple Pencil in Notes and other apps. With iOS 14 and later, you can write with your Apple Pencil in any text field.* You can convert your handwriting to text. And you can use a handwritten phone number, date, or address as if you had typed it.

Write in any text field with Scribble

You can use your iPad and Apple Pencil to write by hand in any text field, like the search field in Safari or a text field in Mail.* All handwriting and conversion to text happens on your iPad, keeping your writing private and secure.

You can learn how to delete, select, insert, and join words using Scribble by going to Settings > Apple Pencil and tapping Try Scribble.

Convert your handwritten notes to text

You can convert your handwriting* in two ways:

  • You can write with the pen farthest from the ruler, which has an "A" on it. Your handwriting will convert automatically to text as you write. 
  • If you already have some handwritten notes, you can select the notes and convert them to text:
    1. Double-tap or touch and hold a word you want to select. Select more words by sweeping your finger over them. You can triple-tap to select an entire line of words.
    2. Tap the selected words. 
    3. In the menu that appears, tap Copy as Text.
    4. Paste the text elsewhere in the same document or in another app.

Use handwritten phone numbers, dates, addresses, and more

  1. Tap a number, date, address, or other recognized data that you've written. It will have an underline.*
  2. Choose what you want to do, like call the number or create an event.

Draw perfect shapes

You can perfect a lopsided circle or leaning square. Here's how:

  1. Draw a shape by hand, like a circle, square, or star, using a single stroke.
  2. When you finish the shape, pause with the tip of your Apple Pencil on the screen. The shape you drew will be replaced by a perfect one.

Apple Pencil hover

Apple Pencil hover allows you to mark, sketch, and illustrate with even greater precision.

iPad Pro 11-inch (4th generation) and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th generation) support Apple Pencil hover and can detect the position of your Apple Pencil (2nd generation) as it hovers up to 12 mm above the display.

Apple Pencil hover works throughout iPadOS, such as navigating the Home Screen, within apps like Notes and Safari, and across many apps available on the App Store. As you hover above a link, button, or icon, see it expand, change color, or otherwise alter. When drawing or illustrating, see a preview of your pen or brush, before you make your mark.

Apple Pencil hover is on by default. You can turn the feature off by going to Settings > Apple Pencil and turning off Show Effects when using Pencil.

Also in Settings > Apple Pencil, you can turn on Allow Double Tap only with Pencil Hover. This setting causes double-tap to work only while your Apple Pencil is in hover range of the display.

Double-tap Apple Pencil (2nd generation)

On an Apple Pencil (2nd generation), you can double-tap near the tip of your Apple Pencil to quickly switch back to the tool you used last. To change your settings for double-tap, go to Settings > Apple Pencil, then choose:

  • Switch between current tool and eraser
  • Switch between current tool and last used
  • Show color palette
  • Off

Double-tap works only in supported apps, like Notes.

Learn more

  • If your Apple Pencil isn't drawing as expected, make sure that its tip isn't loose. If it is, twist it to the right to tighten it.
  • Use Markup in apps like Mail, Messages, and Photos to add drawings, text, and shapes with your iPad and Apple Pencil. For example, you can add a signature to a PDF.
  • Learn how to create an instant note from the Lock screen or pick up where you left off on your last note.

* Find out if this feature is available in your country or region with iPadOS 14 or later.

Published Date: