Apple pencil not working- How to fix

Ever fumbled for your Apple Pencil, freshly brewed coffee in hand and the morning sun lighting up your workspace, only to be greeted with the dreaded issue of your Apple Pencil not working? Your heart sinks a bit, right? Ah, technology – a fantastic aid when it cooperates, an absolute nightmare when it rebels. I’m sure many of us have had this exact scenario play out, or something similarly frustrating. One moment, your digital stylus is smoothly navigating across the iPad’s glass surface, the next, it’s as responsive as a piece of chalk on a touchscreen. That stylus has become an essential tool, as vital as a painter’s brush or a musician’s instrument, and when it decides to stop cooperating, it can feel like the universe itself is against you.

The good news is that it’s not an uncommon problem, and more importantly, it’s typically not a terminal one. Before you start thinking about purchasing a new one or give up drawing and note-taking on your iPad altogether, remember that troubleshooting can often work wonders. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and help is at hand. Here are the steps to follow to hopefully get your Apple Pencil up and running again.

Apple pencil not working

Is Your Apple Pencil Really Not Working?

First things first: don’t jump to conclusions. The problem might be simpler than you think. Your Apple Pencil could merely be unpaired from your iPad. A simple check in your device’s Bluetooth settings can confirm this. If the pencil’s name doesn’t appear, you’ve found your culprit. Just re-pair and you’re good to go.

Preparing for the Process

Ensure that the Apple Pencil model you have is compatible with your iPad before you begin the pairing process.

If you’re aiming to pair an Apple Pencil with a 10th generation iPad, it’s essential to have the necessary USB-C to Apple Pencil Adapter along with a suitable cable, like the USB-C Charge Cable.

Additionally, you might need to charge your Apple Pencil prior to use. It’s a good idea to ensure it has enough power before you start pairing it with your iPad.

Pairing your Apple Pencil (2nd generation) with your iPad

Pairing your second-generation Apple Pencil with your iPad is a seamless process. Here’s how:

  1. Ensure compatibility. The second-generation Apple Pencil is compatible with iPad Pro 11-inch, iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd, 4th, and 5th generations), and iPad Air (4th generation).
  2. Attach the Apple Pencil. Place the Apple Pencil on the flat side of your iPad, where the magnetic strip is located. It should stick to the side and begin pairing.
  3. Wait for a pop-up. A pop-up will appear on the screen asking you to ‘Pair’ the device. Tap ‘Pair’ to complete the process. Your second-generation Apple Pencil is now ready to use.

Pairing your Apple Pencil (1st generation) with your iPad (10th generation)

Here’s how to pair your first-generation Apple Pencil with a 10th generation iPad:

  1. Check your iPad’s Bluetooth: Ensure your iPad’s Bluetooth is on. If not, go to Settings > Bluetooth and switch it on.
  2. Connect the Apple Pencil: Insert the Apple Pencil’s Lightning connector into the iPad’s Lightning port.
  3. Wait for the pairing request: A pop-up will appear on the iPad’s screen asking if you’d like to pair the two devices.
  4. Complete the pairing: Tap ‘Pair’ on the pop-up to complete the process. Your first-generation Apple Pencil is now ready to use with your 10th generation iPad.

Pairing your Apple Pencil (1st generation) with your iPad (6th through 9th generations)

The process for pairing your first-generation Apple Pencil with an iPad from the 6th to the 9th generation is similar to the above:

  1. Turn on Bluetooth: Check that your iPad’s Bluetooth is switched on. You can do this in Settings > Bluetooth.
  2. Connect the devices: Plug your Apple Pencil into your iPad’s Lightning port.
  3. Approve the pairing request: A pop-up should appear on your iPad’s screen, asking you to pair the devices.
  4. Confirm the pairing: Tap ‘Pair’ on the pop-up to finish the process. Your first-generation Apple Pencil is now ready to use with your 6th to 9th generation iPad.

Remember, it’s crucial to ensure that your devices are compatible and that their software is up to date for the best performance. Happy sketching!

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Troubleshooting an Apple Pencil That Won’t Pair with Your iPad

Should your Apple Pencil refuse to pair with your iPad, you can follow these steps:

First, connect your Apple Pencil to your iPad in the appropriate way:

  1. For the 2nd generation Apple Pencil: Align your Pencil with the magnetic connector, which is found on the side of your iPad near the volume buttons.
  2. For the 1st generation Apple Pencil with a 6th to 9th generation iPad: Take off the cap and insert your Apple Pencil into the Lightning port on your iPad.
  3. For the 1st generation Apple Pencil with a 10th generation iPad: Remove the cap and connect your Apple Pencil and a USB-C cable to the USB-C to Apple Pencil Adapter. Then, plug the other end of the cable into your iPad.

If the Apple Pencil is still not pairing, restart your iPad and attempt to pair again.

  • Check your Bluetooth settings. Navigate to Settings > Bluetooth and ensure that Bluetooth is activated.
  • In the same Bluetooth settings, find your Apple Pencil listed under ‘My Devices‘. If it’s there, tap on the Information icon next to it and then select ‘Forget this Device‘.
  • Now, try connecting your Apple Pencil to your iPad once more and look for the ‘Pair’ button that should pop up after a few seconds.
  • If the ‘Pair’ button doesn’t show up, give your Apple Pencil a minute to charge, then attempt the connection again, waiting for the ‘Pair’ button to appear.
  • Finally, if the ‘Pair’ button remains elusive, it’s time to seek help from Apple Support. They can provide further assistance to resolve the issue.

1. Reboot Your iPad

One of the simpler solutions when encountering the ‘Apple Pencil not working’ dilemma is to reboot your iPad. Yes, it’s old school advice, but it often works. By rebooting, you essentially give your device a fresh start, and any minor glitches causing the pencil to misbehave might be rectified.

To do this, hold down the power button and either volume button until the power off slider appears. Then, drag the slider, and after your iPad turns off, hold the power button again until you see the Apple logo. Now, check if your Apple Pencil is working.

2. Inspect Your Apple Pencil Tip

Sometimes, the issue is purely physical. You might be facing problems due to a loose or worn-out Apple Pencil tip. A loose tip can cause inconsistent or nonexistent lines when you’re drawing or writing. So, unscrew the tip and screw it back in, ensuring it’s secure but not overtightened.

If your Pencil’s tip is worn-out, replacing it can solve the issue. Apple provides an extra tip with the Pencil, and replacements are readily available online or in stores.

3. Forget Device and Reconnect

If you’re still facing issues, try unpairing your Apple Pencil from your iPad and then pairing it again. This is somewhat like hitting the refresh button on the connection between your iPad and Pencil.

Go to your iPad’s Bluetooth settings, find your Apple Pencil under ‘My Devices’, and hit ‘Forget this Device’. To pair it again, plug your Apple Pencil into your iPad, and when the ‘Bluetooth Pairing Request’ appears, tap ‘Pair’.

4. Reset All Settings

If none of the above steps work, you might need to resort to a more extreme measure: resetting all settings on your iPad. This will revert your device back to its default settings. Please note, this does not erase any data, but you’ll need to reconfigure your settings manually.

To do this, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings. Enter your passcode and tap ‘Reset All Settings’ again. After your iPad restarts, reconnect your Apple Pencil.

5. Try Another App

When your Apple Pencil isn’t working, you might want to verify if the issue is with the app you’re using. Certain apps may not support the Apple Pencil, or a software glitch within the app may cause issues.

To confirm, open a native Apple app like Notes, and try using your Apple Pencil there. If it works smoothly, the problem likely lies with the original app you were using.

6. Check Apple Pencil Compatibility

Is your Apple Pencil compatible with your iPad? It’s a fundamental check, but one that’s often overlooked. The first-generation Apple Pencil works with older iPads, while the second generation is compatible with newer models.

So, ensure your devices are compatible. If you’ve got the wrong Pencil for your iPad model, it simply won’t work.

7. Disable ‘Only Draw with Apple Pencil’ Option

Your iPad has a feature that allows you to only draw with your Apple Pencil. If it’s activated, your fingers will not draw, and this could make you think the Pencil isn’t working. Check this by going to Settings > Notes > Only Draw with Apple Pencil. If it’s on, try turning it off and see if this solves your issue.

8. Inspect the Charging Source

The solution to your Apple Pencil woes might be as simple as checking your charging source. The pencil needs a proper power source to charge. So, if it’s not working, you might want to check whether the charging source itself is functioning correctly.

Plug another device into your charging source to ensure it’s delivering power. If the other device doesn’t charge, then you know the problem lies there, and not with your Pencil.

9. Update Your Apps

If your Apple Pencil isn’t working in specific apps, they might need an update. Developers constantly release updates to fix bugs and improve compatibility with devices like the Apple Pencil.

Open the App Store on your iPad, tap your profile at the top right, and scroll down to see your app updates. Hit “Update All” or select individual apps that need updating.

10. Check for Physical Damage

Physical damage can often lead to your Apple Pencil not functioning correctly. Inspect your Pencil thoroughly. Look for any visible dents, scratches, or signs of physical damage.

A particularly important area to check is the lightning connector on the first-generation Pencil, or the flat edge that attaches magnetically in the second-generation. Any damage here could affect charging and, consequently, its operation.

11. Test with Another iPad

If possible, try pairing and using your Apple Pencil with another iPad. This is an excellent way to determine if the issue is with the Pencil itself or your iPad.

If the Pencil works fine with another device, the problem likely lies with your iPad. If it doesn’t, then the issue is probably with the Apple Pencil itself.

12. Restore iPad to Factory Settings

This is the nuclear option. If all else fails, and you’ve tested everything else, restoring your iPad to factory settings might be the only solution left.

Before you proceed, remember to back up all your data, as this process will erase everything. Go to Settings > General > Reset, then tap ‘Erase All Content and Settings’. Follow the steps that come up next.

Facing technical issues can be incredibly frustrating. However, with patience, logical thinking, and a systematic approach to problem-solving, you’ll find that even the most perplexing issues often have solutions. Keep this guide handy for those challenging moments when your Apple Pencil decides to take a breather. With these tips, it’ll be back in action in no time.

13. Reaching Out to Apple Support

When you’ve exhausted all the troubleshooting options and your Apple Pencil still isn’t working, it’s time to turn to the experts for help. Apple Support is a great resource and they’re prepared to assist with a wide variety of issues.

  • To start the process, navigate to the Apple Support website. Here, you’ll find a range of options, including a robust FAQ section, device-specific troubleshooting guides, and even live chat services.
  • If you can’t find the answers you need on the website, contact Apple Support directly. You can do this through the website, over the phone, or by visiting an Apple Store.
  • When preparing to speak with a support agent, ensure you have all relevant information handy. This includes the model of your iPad and Apple Pencil, as well as a detailed explanation of the problem and the steps you’ve already taken to try to resolve it.
  • Remember, patience is key. The support process can sometimes be time-consuming, but the goal is to resolve your issue and get your Apple Pencil working again.
  • Also, be open to the possibility of having to replace your Apple Pencil. If it’s determined to be faulty, you might need a new one. If it’s still under warranty, you may be eligible for a free replacement.

The bottom line is, don’t be afraid to seek help when you’re faced with technical difficulties. It might be frustrating when your Apple Pencil isn’t working, but with the right support, you’ll be back to sketching and note-taking in no time.


Encountering technical issues such as an Apple Pencil not working can be a daunting experience. However, with resilience and methodical troubleshooting, these hurdles can be surmounted effectively. Always start with the basic steps, checking for compatibility, battery life, and software updates, as these foundational checks can often resolve many issues.

If your Apple Pencil refuses to pair, remain patient. Restart your iPad, review your Bluetooth settings, and attempt reconnection. Don’t rush the process, as this can lead to missed steps and a longer path to resolution. Remember that technology, even from leading brands like Apple, is not flawless. It’s natural to encounter some bumps along the way. The key is to remain calm, follow the advised steps, and seek expert assistance when necessary.

If all else fails, Apple Support is your final port of call. Don’t hesitate to contact them, as their expert guidance can help resolve your issue, leading you back to the joy of creativity and productivity with your Apple Pencil and iPad.


Why won’t my Apple Pencil respond to touch inputs?

There could be a connectivity issue between your Apple Pencil and your device. Try re-pairing them or check for software updates.

What should I do if my Apple Pencil fails to charge?

Ensure that the charging cable is securely connected and try charging it with a different power source. If the issue persists, contact Apple support.

How can I reset my Apple Pencil to factory settings?

Go to the Bluetooth settings on your device, locate your Apple Pencil, and tap on “Forget this device.” Then, reconnect your Apple Pencil following the pairing instructions.

Why does my Apple Pencil disconnect frequently while in use?

This issue can occur due to a low battery, interference, or distance between your Apple Pencil and your device. Make sure your Apple Pencil is charged and closer to your device.

Can I return or exchange my Apple Pencil if it’s not working properly?

If your Apple Pencil is within the warranty period and meets the criteria for return or exchange, you can contact Apple support or visit an Apple Store for assistance.

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