Apple’s big 12.9-inch iPad Pro works great as a laptop replacement, but many want it for the Apple Pencil alone. The Apple Pencil has some significant problems, but it can also do some pretty cool things. We’ve collected 10 things that you didn’t know the Apple Pencil could do.
Charge Apple Pencil Using iPad Pro Lightning Connector
When Apple Pencil owners first open the box, they need to pair the Apple Pencil with the iPad Pro by connecting it to the iPad Pro’s Lightning connector. Leave it plugged in for a while to charge up the Pencil.
Tap Pair when it pops up after connecting Apple Pencil to iPad Pro
Apple promises 30 minutes of use after connecting the Pencil for 15 seconds. Leave it plugged in for more than fifteen minutes and it will likely hit 100%.
To replace the Apple Pencil tip, unscrew it. Hold the tip and twist the Pencil.
Apple put a replacement tip in the box with the Apple Pencil, but how do you change it? It’s simple. Just unscrew the tip that comes installed and it will come off. Then, attach the replacement tip and screw it on.
Draw Thicker Lines by Pressing Harder
Press harder and the Pencil will respond in apps like Procreate that support it.
The Apple Pencil includes pressure sensitivity in supported apps. Procreate 3 supports the Apple Pencil pressure sensitivity. Press harder and you’ll get thicker lines as demonstrated in the image above. Press lightly and it will respond. This helps artists create some beautiful things.
Tilt the Pencil for Pencil Shading in Drawings
Hold the pencil normally and get regular lines. Hold it at an extremely low angle and draw using the side of the tip and you get shading.
Below you’ll see how to hold the Pencil to get this shading effect. Adobe Sketch supports the shading feature as does Apple’s iOS 9 Notes app.
Tap the new note icon to add a new note. Tap the drawing icon to add a drawing.
The Notes and Mail apps on iOS can add drawings and inking as of iOS 9. In notes create a new note by tapping the new note button in the upper right corner. It looks like a square with a pencil on it at a 45-degree angle. If the onscreen keyboard shows up, hide it by tapping the button on the lower right corner of the onscreen keyboard with the down arrow under a keyboard icon.
The drawing interface on iOS 9 Notes app.
Tap on the icon in the lower right that looks like a squiggly line. This brings up the drawing interface. A drawing toolbar shows up at the bottom of the screen.
Create Straight Lines and Perfect Shapes
While we’re looking at Notes, users can use the Pencil to create a straight line by taping on the ruler icon. Use two fingers to place it where you want the straight line. Rotate it with the two fingers. Now use the Pencil to draw a line along the edge of the ruler. It automatically straightens the line perfectly.
Paper by FiftyThree will let Apple Pencil users create perfect shapes.
The Paper by FiftyThree app now supports Apple Pencil and includes a feature that helps people draw perfect shapes like circles, squares and triangles.
Open a drawing and tap on the toolbar button that shows a ruler behind the pen. The app will start to recognize shapes and lines and make them perfect.
Don’t forget that the Apple Pencil does a great job of just tapping the screen. Users can scroll pages, select small buttons, hunt and peck on the onscreen keyboard or use a third-party keyboard like Swype or Swiftkey. These keyboards let you type by moving from key to key without lifting the Pencil.
Take Notes in Your Handwriting
The best app for handwritten note taking on iOS is Notability.
Most people will think of the Apple Pencil as a drawing or art tool. However, it’s a great handwriting tool. You can use the Apple Notes app from iOS 9. But a few better options include the following:
Penultimate – connects with Evernote for great drawing and handwriting
Notability – uses iCloud to sync between iPad, iPhone, and Mac with great organization and will export to Evernote.
OneNote – the best solution for Windows users who also use the desktop version of OneNote
Evernote – the company added handwriting and drawing tools to the app, but we still prefer Penultimate or Notability
MetaMoji Note – Almost as good as Notability, but offers cross-platform syncing of notes so it’s the best option for people who use an iPad with an Android phone and a Windows computer.
Trace Through Paper
Thanks to Apple Insider for this tip. Put a piece of paper on the iPad Pro screen and use the Apple Pencil to trace the image on the page. The iPad Pro display still recognize the Pencil’s input through most 20 lb. bond paper.
If someone hands you a page in a meeting or school, you can trace things like pictures, charts or graphs.
Draw on Mail Attachment Images and Files
As we pointed out in our 51 New iOS 9 Tips, Tricks & Hidden Features, iOS 9 added the ability to draw on Mail attachments like picture files or PDF files. To do so, open up a message with an attachment. Tap and hold on the attachment till the pop-up shows (see below). Choose Markup and Reply.
Press and hold on a Mail attachment and choose Markup and Reply.
The attachment image or PDF file will open and there’s a toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Use the tools to make notes, highlight things or sign a PDF. The Apple Pencil will do a great job of marking up files.