How To Connect Apple Pencil to Your iPad: The Ultimate Guide

To paraphrase a classic novel’s opening line, it is a truth universally acknowledged that Apple’s iPad devices are great portable productivity tools. Not only can you enjoy multimedia on them, but you can use them for work thanks to various attachments and peripherals available. One useful add-on is Apple Pencil, a stylus pen that lets you take notes and paint using your iPad.

If you are wondering how to connect Apple Pencil to an iPad, read on. In this article, we’ll discuss different types of Apple Pencils and which devices they work on, as well as help you troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

Apple Pencil Types and Compatibility

Before we can discuss pairing methods and any issues that may occur, we need to address the compatibility. You see, there isn’t a singular Apple Pencil. Furthermore, not every iPad is compatible with this accessory. Depending on these two factors, you might not even be able to connect Apple Pencil to your iPad.

So far, Apple has released two generations of Apple Pencils. The original pencil was released in 2015, with the second generation following three years later. Aside from their price difference – $129 for Apple Pencil 1 to $169 for Apple Pencil 2 – they also don’t have the same compatibility, finish, or features.

The updated model has wireless pairing and charging capability, magnetic attachment, and a capacitive button. Visually, the tell-tale sign is the lack of metallic ring on the 2nd generation pencil.

As for the Apple Pencil compatibility, here’s the list of supported devices for the first generation:

  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation and later)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st and 2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch

The newer Apple Pencil is compatible with these devices:

  • iPad mini (6th generation)
  • iPad Air (4th generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later)

If you’re unsure which model your iPad is, Apple has a handy guide on its website which includes the instructions and photos of all iPad models.

How To Connect Apple Pencil to Your iPad

Now that we’ve established the iPad models that support the original pencil, let’s see how to pair the Apple Pencil with our device. Since this is the original model, it doesn’t come with wireless charging and needs to be physically connected to the iPad. You’ve probably noticed a silver ring on it – that’s where the protective cap covers the Lightning connector.

Pull the protective cap off the pencil and plug it into your iPad via the Lightning port. The iPad will show a pop-up notification that the pencil is connected and offer you to pair it. Tap on the Pair button to confirm this action.

Once connected, the pencil will also charge. It takes about 30 minutes to fully charge an Apple Pencil, making it ready for 12 hours of use. For charging, you can also use the included Lightning adapter to connect your pencil to any USB port or put it on a Lightning dock.

How To Connect Apple Pencil 2

The new Apple Pencil is a minimalist piece of tech, completely white with just the Apple logo. It has no ports, which means it doesn’t connect to the Lightning port to either charge or pair with iPad devices.

To pair the Apple Pencil 2 with your device, all you have to do is attach it to the magnetic connectors. You can find those on the right-hand side of your iPad, distinguishable by three dots. Once you connect the iPad with Apple Pencil 2 via magnets, you’ll get a pop-up on the screen asking you to confirm the pairing process. Tap on Pair, and you’re all set.

Charging your Apple Pencil 2 works the same way – just attach it to the magnetic connector and leave it be. You can always check its battery status via the iPad’s Settings menu. Like the original pencil, Apple Pencil 2 takes just 15 seconds for its initial charge and around 15 minutes to fully charge.

Possible Issues With Connecting Apple Pencil to an iPad

No technology is perfect. Batteries fail, the dust gets into ports, and weird glitches happen from time to time. That can happen with your Apple Pencil, too. In this section, we’ll look at the most common issues and how to fix them without visiting the Genius Bar – or buying a new one, for that matter.

Pencil Not Detected

Both Apple Pencil generations use Bluetooth to communicate with iPads; hence the most common issue with Apple Pencil pairing arises when this wireless connection hasn’t been enabled. The solution is to turn on Bluetooth and restart the pairing process. Of course, check the compatibility list above to see whether the device is compatible with your iPad at all.

Pencil Pairs But Doesn’t Work

Another common issue is when the Apple Pencil stops working completely. If your iPad still detects it, then it’s a hardware issue. First, check whether its tip is loose and gently twist it clockwise.

Then, clean the tip of the pencil and the iPad’s screen to remove any particles obstructing proper movement. It’s a good idea to clean the pencil’s tip from time to time to prevent screen scratches.

If there’s still an issue and you’ve followed all the steps in our how-to connect Apple Pencil guide, you can try restarting your iPad. After that, re-pair Apple Pencil in a few simple steps:

  1. Open the Settings menu.
  2. Tap on Bluetooth.
  3. In Connected Devices, tap on Apple Pencil and then tap on Info.
  4. Select Forget This Device and confirm the action.

Now repeat the pairing process, and your Apple Pencil should be working properly again.

Apple Pencil Not Recognized in an App

Many iPad apps let you get creative by drawing on a digital canvas, but not all of them support Apple Pencil. If the app doesn’t recognize your device, chances are it only accepts standard fingertip inputs. In that case, your only hope is that the app will get an update soon to support Apple Pencil.


As you can see, it’s fairly simple to pair Apple Pencil with an iPad. Apple has made sure to keep this process as simple as possible, in line with its devices’ streamlined design. Now, learning to use Apple Pencil – that’s a different story. Nobody becomes Picasso overnight, not until they’ve poured hours upon hours into their craft.


How do I connect my Apple Pencil to my iPad?

Depending on the Apple Pencil version, you either have to connect it through the Lightning Port or attach it to your iPad’s magnetic dock.

How do you connect Apple Pencil to an iPad Pro?

Our guide shows how to connect Apple Pencil to an iPad Pro, too. Apple Pencil connects either via the Lightning port or magnetic connectors – this is true for any iPad model. The exact method of pairing the device depends on which generation it is.

Why is my Apple Pencil not pairing?

This is most commonly caused by not having Bluetooth enabled on the iPad that you’re trying to pair. If pairing fails even after you’ve enabled Bluetooth, the problem might be that your iPad isn’t compatible with your Apple Pencil. You can check the compatibility list in our article above.

Where is the Apple Pencil pair button?

There aren’t any buttons on either Apple Pencil generation. As we’ve explained in our guide on how to connect Apple Pencil to your iPad, you have to plug the pencil into the iPad or, if you have the second-generation device, attach it to the magnetic connector on the iPad’s right edge.

Milica Milenkovic
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