January 12, 2023 at 5:51 p.m. PST
- The Apple Pencil debuted in September 2015 alongside the first iPad Pro.
- Apple launched its second-generation Pencil in October 2018.
- With twelve hours of battery life, the first and second-generation Apple Pencil models will last about as long as your iPad between charges.
- Given its small battery, over time, your Apple Pencil will lose its ability to hold a charge and need service or replacement.
What is the Apple Pencil?
The Apple Pencil is essentially a stylus for the iPad. Back when Steve Jobs was alive, some competing Android smartphones featured styluses. Jobs contended that these input devices were annoying and easy to lose. He asserted that “God gave us 10 styluses. Let’s not invent another.”
Not long after Steve Jobs’ passing, Apple introduced its first stylus — the Apple Pencil. Honoring Jobs’ legacy, Apple’s stylus only works with the iPad, not the iPhone.
Android fans may scream foul, but their preferred, beloved device wasn’t the first with a stylus. Styluses and light pens were popular computer peripherals in the 1980s.
Atari offered a light pen for its home computer lineup back in the 1980s. The Fairlight CMI music computer featured a light pen for drawing waveforms. Yes, Thomas Dolby used a stylus when he blinded us with science.
Even the Apple II/IIe offered third-party light pens back in the 1980s. Apple’s Newton device featured a stylus; however, it came to fruition after Apple fired Steve Jobs. The Palm Pilot was the first viable and popular mobile device with a stylus.
Although the Apple Pencil isn’t a new concept, as with many product categories, the company perfected the technology. There are other styluses and electronic pens and pencils on the market, but nothing matches the power, performance, and tight integration of the Apple Pencil.
The whole point of Apple’s stylus is to integrate with the iPad in the hopes it may appeal to creators. Over the past few years, iPad sales have declined as the iPhone has become more powerful and the Mac is cheaper and more accessible. The Apple Pencil appeals to creators who already admire the company’s products.
Creating visual artwork is the primary purpose of the Apple Pencil. While some may use it to take notes for classes and meetings, most people can type as fast or more quickly than they can write. You can also take a photo of hand-written notes with your iPhone or iPad, copying and pasting text directly from the image.
You don’t need an Apple Pencil for note-taking. It’s for artists and other creative types. With pixel-perfect precision and virtually no lag, working with the Apple Pencil on an iPad is akin to working with magical paper or canvas.
Internally, the Apple Pencil features components from Qualcomm, STMicroelectronics, Bosch, and other manufacturers. The battery is remarkably tiny with its 3.82V, 0.239 Wh cell. It’s so small it holds less than 3% of an iPhone 14 Pro Max’s charge.
Given that your Apple Pencil doesn’t have a display or the electronics of an iPhone, it doesn’t use much power. But with such a small battery, its ability to hold a charge will diminish over time.
The good news is that you can replace your Apple Pencil’s battery for only $29. If you have Apple Care+, they’ll waive the $29 fee. We’ll look at Apple Pencil battery replacement later in this article.
Apple Pencil Compatibility
As mentioned, the Apple Pencil only works with the iPad. Initially, the Apple Pencil only supported iPad Pro models. Apple extended compatibility to the iPad Air, Mini, and even standard iPad models to sell more tablets.
It’s important to understand that not every Apple Pencil works with every iPad. The first-generation model works with older iPad Pro models and newer standard iPads. The second-generation Apple Pencil offers some additional features and, therefore, only functions with the latest and best iPad Pro, Air, and Mini models.
The first-generation Apple Pencil is compatible with the following iPad models:
- iPad Pro; 12.9-inch; 1st gen
- iPad Pro; 12.9-inch; 2nd gen
- iPad Pro; 10.5-inch
- iPad Pro; 9.7-inch
- iPad mini; 5th generation
- iPad Air; 3rd generation
- iPad; 6th generation
- iPad; 7th generation
- iPad; 8th generation
- iPad; 9th generation
- iPad; 10th generation
Second-generation Apple Pencils work with the following iPad models:
- iPad mini; 6th generation
- iPad Air; 4th generation
- iPad Air; 5th generation
- iPad Pro; 11-inch; 1st generation
- iPad Pro; 11-inch; 2nd generation
- iPad Pro; 11-inch; 3rd generation
- iPad Pro; 11-inch; 4th generation
- iPad Pro; 12.9-inch; 3rd generation
- iPad Pro; 12.9-inch; 4th generation
- iPad Pro; 12.9-inch; 5th generation
- iPad Pro; 12.9-inch; 6th generation
How to Check Your Apple Pencil’s Battery Level
Before we examine how to charge your Apple Pencil, let’s look at how to check its battery level. Unlike your iPhone or iPad, there’s no display on an Apple Pencil to show a battery meter. Instead, you need to connect it to your iPad to check its battery level.
Here’s how to check your second-generation Apple Pencil’s battery level:
- Swipe down from the top-right corner of your iPad screen to launch Control Center.
- Ensure that you’ve activated Bluetooth on your iPad.
- Place your Apple Pencil on the side of your iPad with two volume buttons. It should magnetically attach to your iPad.
- If the Pair button appears on your iPad screen, tap it.
- Once connected, your Apple Pencil starts charging and shows its level at the top of the screen.
Tip: If you want to see the battery level of your Apple Pencil while using it, add the battery level widget to your iPad’s Today View screen.
If you have a first-generation Apple Pencil and your iPad has a Lightning connector, here’s how to check your Apple Pencil’s battery level:
- Take off the cap at the end of your Apple Pencil to reveal the male Lightning connector.
- Plug your Apple pencil into the Lightning port on your iPad. The battery level appears at the top of your iPad screen.
Apple’s newest iPad models come with USB-C ports. Even the latest standard iPad features USB-C. Here’s how to check your first-generation Apple Pencil’s battery level on the newest USB-C-equipped iPad models:
- Take off the cap at the end of your Apple Pencil and attach the Apple Pencil Charging Adapter (comes with 1st generation Apple Pencil).
- Attach one end of the USB-C cable (included with iPad) to the Apple Pencil adapter’s USB-C port.
- Attach the other end of the USB-C cable to your iPad. The battery level appears at the top of your iPad’s screen.
That’s how to check your Apple Pencil’s battery level across different stylus and iPad models. Now let’s take a look at how to charge your Apple Pencil.
How to Charge Your First-Generation Apple Pencil Without an iPad
Charging your Apple Pencil is the same process as checking its charge level. The only difference is that you don’t have to use your iPad to charge a first-generation Apple pencil.
Charging your Apple Pencil directly from your iPad is a perfectly valid method. Since the stylus’ battery is so tiny, it’s no burden on the iPad. If you wish to charge your Apple Pencil directly from your iPad, just follow the instructions in the previous section — “How to Check Your Apple Pencil’s Battery Level.”
Sometimes charging your first-generation Apple Pencil through your iPad is inconvenient. Your iPad may be connected to a monitor or some other peripheral using this port. If this is the case, you can just charge your first-generation Apple Pencil with just about any power source.
This section will cover how to charge your first-generation Apple Pencil directly from a standard Apple 20W USB-C Power adapter. Although the Apple Pencil doesn’t require 20W for charging, using a more powerful charger will not damage your Apple Pencil. If you have an old 5W Apple power adapter, you can use that. The power IC integrated into your Apple Pencil will ensure the correct charging current, regardless of the power source.
It’s important to understand that you can only charge the first-generation Apple Pencil with an external power adapter. The second-generation model has no port and can only be charged wirelessly with an iPad. Let’s take a look at how to charge your Apple Pencil with a standard 20W USB-C charger:
- Plug a standard Apple 20W USB-C charger into a wall or power strip.
- Using a USB-C cable with two male ends, plug one USB-C end into the Apple power supply.
- Remove the cap from your first-generation Apple Pencil and attach the USB-C to Lightning adapter (included with the product).
- Plug the USB-C cable into the Apple Pencil’s adapter.
- Wait 20 minutes for Apple Pencil to charge fully.
How Long Does it Take to Charge My Apple Pencil?
Since the battery is so tiny, it takes virtually no time to charge an Apple Pencil fully. For both the first and second-generation models, it only takes 20 minutes to charge a completely depleted Apple Pencil.
Can I Charge My Apple Pencil With a Mag Safe Charger?
No. You can only charge a second-generation Apple Pencil on a compatible iPad. The first-generation model can only be charged through its Lightning adapter.
Although it attaches magnetically to an iPad, Apple didn’t design the second-generation Apple Pencil for use with MagSafe, Qi, or any wireless charging standard.
If you wish to charge your 2nd gen Apple Pencil wirelessly, you must attach it to your iPad. It’s the only way to charge it. It has no ports and doesn’t offer compatibility with Qi or MagSafe standards.
Troubleshooting Apple Pencil Charging
The two most common causes of Apple Pencil charging failure are broken connections (Bluetooth or cabling) or a dead battery. You can fix one of these issues yourself, but the latter problem will require either servicing or replacement.
An Apple Pencil can lose its pairing for a variety of reasons, but it usually happens because you restarted your iPad or paired your Pencil with another device. It’s also possible that your first-generation Apple Pencil is charging, but it’s not connected to your iPad via Bluetooth. In this case, it may seem like your Apple Pencil is dead, but it’s just not connected. Here’s how to fix it:
- Unlock your iPad and swipe down from the top right corner of the screen to launch Control Center.
- Ensure that Bluetooth is activated. It should appear blue and not gray.
- If Bluetooth is gray, tap it once. Bluetooth will activate, and the Control Center icon will turn blue.
- If your iPad displays a button to pair your Apple Pencil, tap on it. That’s it. Your Apple Pencil is re-connected, and you’re done. If not, the following steps will assist you with manual pairing.
- Hold your finger on the Bluetooth icon until you see a list of paired Bluetooth devices. Your Apple Pencil should be in the list.
- If your Apple Pencil is in the list but not connected, tap on Apple Pencil. A progress wheel will “spin,” and your Apple Pencil will connect to your iPad.
- If your Apple Pencil isn’t on the list, remove its cap and plug the Lightning connector into your iPad. Tap the Pair button when it appears on your iPad’s screen.
If you have a second-generation Apple Pencil, it’s highly unlikely that it won’t pair with your iPad. If this is the case, you might be attaching it to the wrong side (which is improbable, given the design), or Bluetooth is turned off. It’s also possible that your iPad isn’t compatible with the second-generation Apple Pencil. Please refer to the compatibility list in this article’s “Apple Pencil Compatibility” section.
With the second-generation iPad, there’s little you can do regarding troubleshooting connectivity. It pairs when you magnetically attach it to your iPad. Check Bluetooth activation by swiping down from the top-right of your iPad to reveal Control Center. If Bluetooth is on and your iPad is compatible, it may take some time for your Apple Pencil to charge enough to power on. It’s also possible that the battery is shot.
If you connect your first-generation Apple Pencil to your iPad with a cable, a worn-out or defective cord could make it seem like your Apple Pencil is broken. Try swapping out the cable or adapter. If you see a Pair button on your iPad, tap it, and you’re good to go.
The battery in your Apple Pencil is tiny. Although Apple’s stylus doesn’t require a lot of battery power, small batteries often require more frequent replacement. Also, your Apple Pencil is something you may keep for a long time. The battery is likely dead if you bought a first-generation Apple Pencil a few years ago. You can either replace it or buy a new one. Apple still sells the first-generation Pencil, along with its more advanced predecessor, which costs about 30% more.
If you’re interested in replacing your Apple Pencil’s battery, read on. Apple and other certified repair shops offer this service at a fair price.
How to Replace Your Apple Pencil’s Battery
You can’t replace your Apple Pencil’s battery on your own. It’s not a DIY project. The Apple Pencil is one of the least repairable devices on the market.
Apple doesn’t even replace the battery in an Apple Pencil. They recycle your old one and give you a new or refurbished model. The Apple Pencil is completely sealed and needs to be cut open and dissembled. Apple technicians don’t replace the battery and glue it back together. It would look horrible, and Apple won’t stand for that.
The good news is that getting a replacement Apple Pencil is inexpensive. When you send it in for battery service, Apple will replace your Pencil for only $29. With a price that low, it’s totally worth replacing the battery and not buying a new one. After all, if you have an iPad that’s only compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil, there’s no good reason to upgrade or buy a new one.
Apple missed an opportunity here, but they may believe you’ll buy a new iPad to use the second-generation Apple Pencil. I’m sure there are Apple fans out there who will do just that. But I think Apple’s hubris has them missing iPad sales targets.
Sending in your Apple Pencil for service is easy. Here’s how to do it:
- Open a web browser on your iPhone, iPad, or computer and visit this Apple Support page.
- Complete the form at the bottom to request an Apple Pencil replacement. Make sure to choose the appropriate model.
That’s it. Apple will take care of the rest, including sending you a free package to mail in your Apple Pencil at no cost. You can also bring it into a nearby Apple Store for repair. From what I understand, they typically give you a replacement Apple Pencil immediately at the Apple Store.
Should I Calibrate/Recalibrate My Apple Pencil’s Battery?
All devices equipped with lithium-ion batteries require calibration, sometimes referred to as recalibration. Since most devices’ batteries are calibrated at the factory, additional calibration is often called “recalibration”. It’s all the same process.
Calibrating or recalibrating your Apple Pencil is easy. Here’s how to do it:
- When your Apple Pencil’s charge is below 5% through normal usage, continue using it until it stops functioning.
- Charge your Apple Pencil until it reaches 100%.
That’s all you need to do to keep your Apple Pencil’s battery in top shape. Calibration will also help its battery metering (shown on your iPad) to be accurate.
Third-Generation Apple Pencil Coming Soon?
Given that the second-generation Apple Pencil launched over four years ago, the company will likely launch a new and improved model soon. Rumors abound about the next Apple Pencil, but they’re about as helpful as any other gossip. Unlike Appledystopia, most Apple-centric tech websites bask in misinformation and clickbait.
Apple journalism’s “brightest” minds have claimed that the Apple Car is coming soon for the past decade. It was supposed to come out in 2020. Then they moved it up to 2022. Mark Gurman, considered one of the finest Apple “journalists,” claims it will debut in 2026. He previously claimed it would debut in 2020 and then 2022. He can keep guessing and he’ll never be right, because Apple isn’t working on a motor vehicle.
It’s a big lie. Tech journalists for major publications have zero accountability. Their job is to create clickbait and hype. Deceiving people is a pathetic way to earn a living.
An Apple Car will never come to fruition. They’re not that stupid. Apple makes very rational decisions, unlike tech journalists who have never written a line of code.
Tim Cook realizes that developing a car is different from creating an iPhone. It’s not their domain of expertise. Sloppy tech journalists spin CarPlay development into a full-blown automobile with no evidence other than anonymous sources.
Now that we know Apple rumors are highly inaccurate and designed to generate click-bait, let’s look at what the blogosphere claims will come with the third-generation Apple Pencil. It may even unlock and start your Apple Car!
Third-generation Apple Pencil rumors are pretty tame, given the wild stories about Apple products. It’s rumored to be shorter and come in black and white. Some claim it can pick colors from the environment to add to your palette. Other than that, it’s supposed to have lower latency and a larger screw-on tip.
I’m a bit disappointed with tech “journalists” on this one. Where’s the creativity and imagination? The third-generation Apple Pencil must surely unlock and start your Apple Car while summoning holographic Animoji from your iPad Pro 3D. It will also serve as a professional-grade condenser microphone so that you can record Grammy-award-winning records on your iPad.
I’m just kidding about those features. When Apple refreshes the Pencil, they will incorporate modest changes. Apple may offer it in different colors. A color-picking tool that allows you to sample from anything in reality is pretty cool, but you can already do that with your iPhone camera and free image editing software. The Apple Pencil would make this far more convenient, and it’s a feature they may implement.
Whatever happens with the future third-generation Apple Pencil, we’ll be here to write about it honestly and provide all the help you need. Stay tuned for what comes next!