5 Apple Pencil Tips To Get the Most Out of Your iPad

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Apple Pencil enables you to do extraordinary things like digitizing your written notes or drawing images right on the newest iPad, iPad Mini, iPad Air, or iPad Pro. So, we’ve put together this list of handy Apple Pencil tips to help you unlock its full potential.

Check Apple Pencil Compatibility Before Buying

Apple Pencil is an outstanding tool for:

  • Budding artists
  • Businesspeople
  • Graphic designers
  • Illustrators
  • Serious notetakers
  • Students

But you should take some time to figure out what you need Apple Pencil for and which one would be best for you. Currently, there are two generations of Apple Pencil.

The first-generation Apple Pencil works with the following devices:

  • Eighth to sixth-generation iPads
  • Fifth-generation iPad Minis
  • Third-generation iPad Airs
  • First- and second-generation iPad Pro 12.9-inch
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch

Meanwhile, the second-generation Apple Pencil works with these devices:

  • Fourth-generation iPad Air
  • Third-generation and later iPad Pro 12.9-inch
  • First-generation and later iPad Pro 11-inch

Besides tablet compatibility, there are some features that are only available on one version. For example, only the second-generation Apple Pencil can attach magnetically to your device.

But whichever Apple Pencil you go for, there’s no doubt that this small tool can have a big impact on your iPad usage.

1. Switch Writing & Drawing Tools With Ease Using Double-Tap

The second-generation Apple Pencil enables you to double-tap near the tip of the pencil to switch between tools. Imagine that you’re drawing or writing and you make a mistake. You don’t even have to change your grip, simply double tap your Apple Pencil with your index finger and it will change to the erase tool.

By default, the double-tap switches to the erase tool. But you can easily program the double-tap feature to switch between your present tool and an earlier tool of your choice.

2. Customize Your Double-Tap Experience

And how can you change the function of the double-tap to something other than the erase tool? You’re in luck because we have an Apple Pencil tip for that.

You only need to follow a few simple steps:

  1. Open “Settings” on your iPad.
  2. Select “Apple Pencil.”

Then under “Double Tap” you’ll have four options:

  • Switch Between Current Tool and Eraser
  • Switch Between Current Tool and Last Used
  • Show Color Palette
  • Off

Hit “Switch Between Current Tool and Last Used” then all you have to do is select two tools in your Apple Pencil toolset, for example the pen and the highlighter. Now when you double tap, you’ll be switching between those two tools.

The tools you can choose from include:

  • Scribble
  • Pen
  • Highlighter
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Selector
  • Ruler

It’s important to remember that double-tap only works with supported programs such as the Notes app.

3. Change the Pencil Stroke With Ease

Drawing is where Apple Pencil shines. You may have thought you could use it to just draw lines. But you can also shade in drawings, too. All you need to do is tilt the pencil and use the flat side of the tip to shade in areas on your iPad.

There’s no button to press or anything to switch manually. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Tilt your Apple Pencil to the side.
  2. Move the flat side of the tip across an area to shade it.

This intuitive action is just like shading an area with a regular pencil.

Apple Pencil is also pressure sensitive. You control the thickness of your lines by pressing down harder for darker lines or with less pressure for lighter lines. 

4. Trace Through Paper With Your Apple Pencil

This is one of the Apple Pencil tips we were most excited about—the trace through paper option. With this cool feature, you can write on paper and create digital images right on your iPad at the same time. Simply put a piece of paper on top of your iPad and whatever you trace will appear on your screen. The Notes app can help with this feature, but there are other apps you can download that will enable this feature, too.

It’s essential to make sure that your paper isn’t too thick. For example, printer paper like TreeZero tree-free printer paper works perfectly fine.

You may also have trouble with this feature if you have a screen protector. So, you’ll want to remove it before you start tracing.

Still, the trace through paper feature is a fantastic way to digitize documents and images. Imagine that you need to trace the details of a map into your iPad. You can choose which elements to include and what to omit. You can also use this feature to draw images onto your tablet and make great digital art.

5. Draw Perfect Shapes With Shape Recognition

Artists create amazing drawings using Apple Pencil. The rest of us, however, may need a little assistance in the artistic area. The Apple Pencil shape recognition feature snaps your wobbly scribbles into perfectly shaped renderings.

As long as you’ve updated to iPadOS 14, your operating system will recognize shapes as you draw. As it does, it will convert your wonky forms to perfection and is an Apple Pencil tip you don’t need to enable yourself, the pencil automatically does it.

All you need to do is draw the shape. When you’re done, however, keep your pencil in contact with the screen, don’t lift the pencil. iPadOS 14 will recognize the shape and convert it to its perfect form.

Apple Pencil Tips Work Best With the Latest Operating System

Apple Pencil is a remarkable tool that has received rave reviews from users. Still, it gets even better with iPadOS 14, so make sure you update your tablet to get the most out of your Apple Pencil.

If you’re new to using Apple Pencil, start by familiarizing yourself with the functions of the Apple Pencil toolset. (The toolset pops up automatically when you open a compatible app, like Notes.)

You can also move the tool palette around on your screen so that you have more room to write or draw, or minimize it when desired. Now that you know a little more about Apple Pencil you can go create something great!