How to Fix It When Apple Pencil Isn’t Working

How to Fix It When Apple Pencil Isn’t Working

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

It’s easy to fall in love with Apple’s Apple Pencil. Not only does it provide a satisfying, tactile experience when you’re working on a Mac, but it also lets you draw, sketch, and doodle on the screen without having to worry about covering up your work with your fingers.

But like most things, there are times when it stops working.

If you’ve ever found yourself tapping away on the screen and the Apple Pencil isn’t working, here’s what you can do to get it back up and running again.

Apple Pencil Isn't Working

Check the Battery

The Apple Pencil’s battery must be charged before it can be used.

To check your iPad’s battery status and see if your Pencil is charged, do the following:

  • Check your iPad’s battery status in the Widgets view. Widgets can be found in the Today View. Swipe right on the Home screen, the Lock screen, or while seeing your Notices go there.
  • Look in the widget for Batteries. If you don’t see your widget, double-check that your Pencil is connected to Bluetooth and that Batteries are selected to appear in Today’s View.
  • Select Settings > Apple Pencil and look for the charge at the top of the main screen to verify the battery level.

If the battery level is zero, the pencil must be charged.

  • Charge the Apple Pencil (2nd gen) simply connecting it magnetically to the side of the iPad. For the Apple Pencil 2 to charge, Bluetooth must be enabled.
  • Charge the Apple Pencil (1st gen) by connecting it to your iPad’s lightning connector or using the USB power adapter that came with it.
  • If the battery in your Apple Pencil is dead, charging it should get you back up and running quickly.

Check the iPad’s compatibility with the pencil.

  • Apple Pencil 1st and 2nd generations are compatible with various iPad models, thus you won’t be able to use your new 2nd generation Apple Pencil with an iPad that you previously used with a 1st generation Apple Pencil.
  • Pencil for Apple (1st generation) iPads that work
  • Apple iPad (6th and 7th generation)
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro 10.5-inch iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (1st or 2nd generations)
  • Mini iPad (5th generation)
  • Air iPad (3rd generation)
  • Pencil for Apple (2nd generation) iPads that work
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd and 4th generation)
  • 11-inch iPad Pro

Check to see if Bluetooth is enabled.

To function, the Apple Pencil needs to be connected to your iPad through Bluetooth.

If your Apple Pencil isn’t shown in the Devices section of the Battery widget, or if there isn’t one at all, Bluetooth is most likely switched off or needs to be reset.

Check by doing the following:

  • Tap Settings on your iPad.
  • Tap Bluetooth. If Bluetooth isn’t turned on, tap the toggle switch to turn it on. If your Apple Pencil is associated with the iPad, it should appear in the My Devices area.
  • Restart your iPad and try again if Bluetooth won’t turn on or you see the spinning/loading icon.This is also an excellent technique to debug Bluetooth difficulties.

The pencil and Bluetooth are not compatible.

If your Apple Pencil isn’t pairing with your iPad or the iPad has lost the pairing, re-doing the Bluetooth pairing process may fix the issue.

  • Go to Settings > Bluetooth to make sure the iPad is turned on, unlocked, and Bluetooth is turned on. Even though your Apple Pencil is mentioned, you may need to repair it if it isn’t working.
  • In the Bluetooth settings screen, tap the information icon (the I in a circle) next to Apple Pencil.
  • In the new window that appears, tap Forget This Device.
  • In the pop-up window, touch Forget Device to confirm that you want the iPad to forget the pencil.
  • Place your Apple Pencil (2nd generation) magnetically along the side of your iPad. Uncap the Apple Pencil and plug it into the iPad’s lightning port for the first generation.
  • If a Bluetooth Pairing Request popup appears, click Pair; otherwise, if the pencil has been paired before, pairing will happen automatically. In the Settings > Bluetooth screen, the repaired Apple Pencil is showing.

Damage to the Pencil Tip

The tip of your Apple Pencil may be worn out if it behaves irregularly or not at all. It’s simple to replace the tip.

Although there is no suggested lifespan for the Pencil tip, many owners replace them when the feel, finish, or functioning begins to deteriorate. If the finish or feel of the Pencil tip is harsh or sandpaper-like, replace it to avoid harming the iPad’s surface.

  • To change the pencil tip, unscrew it counterclockwise until it comes off, then screw in the new tip clockwise until it feels secure in your Apple Pencil.
  • The Apple Pencil will not work properly or at all if the tip is not completely screwed in.
  • Apple Pencil isn’t supported by this app.
  • Not all apps are compatible with the Pencil. Open a known supported app, such as Notes, to see if your Apple Pencil is working. The Notes app is a great way to test out your Pencil, and it should be on your home screen. Download it if you don’t already have it.


It’s Time to Call Apple.

If you’ve gone through all of these steps and are still having issues, it’s time to contact Apple. A one-year limited warranty is included with the Apple Pencil. According to Apple, battery service costs $29 if your pencil is no longer covered by the warranty. You can either schedule an appointment with an Apple Genius Bar or you can simply get a new Apple pencil by clicking here.