10 of the Best Fixes for Apple Pencil Not Working Properly

Man Trying to Use Apple Pencil with iPad

The Apple Pencil is a valuable accessory for your iPad. With it, you can take handwritten notes, sketch, and even navigate the iPad. But before you can start using it, you must pair your Apple Pencil to an iPad. If you have issues with your Apple Pencil not working, these recommended fixes should help.

1. Check Compatibility

There are currently three variations of Apple Pencils, and none are compatible with all iPad versions. Before you try the below-mentioned fixes, you must check the compatibility of the Apple Pencil.

Apple Pencil Fixes Compatibility
Image source: Pexels

The following iPads are compatible with the 1st generation Apple Pencil:

  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad (6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st and 2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch

Similarly, the 2nd generation Apple Pencil is compatible with the following iPads:

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

Finally, the Apple Pencil USB-C works with:

  • iPad (10th generation)
  • iPad mini (6th generation)
  • iPad Air (4th generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (all generations)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later)

2. Restart iPad

A reboot would fix any minor issue or bug conflicting with the Apple Pencil. To restart the iPad, switch it off and turn it on again. After you restart the iPad, you must repair the Apple Pencil to the iPad. Otherwise, it will not work directly.

You should also try to restart the iPad with the Apple Pencil connected to it, i.e., by plugging it in to the lightning connector (1st gen), the USB-C port (USB-C) or attaching it magnetically to the side (2nd gen).

Apple Pencil Not Working Attach Pencil

3. Confirm Bluetooth Is On

Bluetooth must be enabled on the iPad to use the Apple Pencil. If you are having issues using your Apple Pencil, verify that your Bluetooth is turned on.

Go to Settings -> Bluetooth, then enable the toggle next to Bluetooth.

iPad Bluetooth Toggle

Once Bluetooth is enabled, look in the My Devices list to see whether your Apple Pencil says Not Connected. If it does, proceed to the next section. If it says Connected, then the Apple Pencil should work.

4. Update Your Operating System

Sometimes, people encounter issues with iPads when the software isn’t up to date. You can easily check which version of iOS is installed and run any necessary updates by going to Settings -> General, then selecting Software Update. If an update is available, select Download and Install.

iPad Settings Software Update

For more directions on updating your iPad, check out our guide on updating to iOS 17.

5. Pair Apple Pencil Correctly

If your Bluetooth is enabled, but your Apple Pencil is not working, it may not be paired correctly. These steps will help you pair your device properly.

Enable Bluetooth. Then, depending on your model of Apple Pencil, either plug it in or attach it magnetically. You will see the Bluetooth pairing dialog box.

Tap on Pair if it’s your first time connecting this Apple Pencil to your iPad. If you are repairing it, it may occur automatically.

Apple Pencil Not Pairing Again

The paired Apple Pencil will appear in the Bluetooth device list in Settings -> Bluetooth.

Apple Pencil Not Working Pencil Connected

6. Check Battery

The Apple Pencil will not work or pair if its battery is low. To check your Apple Pencil’s battery, open the Settings app on your iPad, and go to Apple Pencil. You will see the battery percentage listed.

Apple Pencil Not Working Pencil Battery

If the option is greyed out, hover the Apple Pencil over your iPad to see the battery percentage. If the Apple Pencil option doesn’t show up at all, it means the Pencil is disconnected from the iPad.

If the battery is low, charge the Apple Pencil for at least 15 minutes to give it enough juice to perform.

  • To charge the 1st gen Apple Pencil, remove the top cap from the Pencil, and plug it in to the lightning connector on your iPad.
  • To charge the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil, attach it magnetically to the side (top, if being used in landscape mode with a keyboard) of the iPad. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on the iPad.
  • To charge your Apple Pencil USB-C, slide open the end of the pencil and insert a USB-C cable. Then, plug it in to your iPad or a charger.

Once the Apple Pencil has some battery strength, the pairing dialog box should appear on the iPad. Tap on Agree to pair it. When there’s sufficient charge in the Apple Pencil, please remove it from charging and try to use it.

Note: if you aren’t getting the Pair request box after charging your USB-C or 1st gen Apple Pencil, or it won’t charge using an iPad, try charging it with your iPad charger and the USB power adapter that came with your Apple Pencil.

7. Check Your Nib

If the Apple Pencil is not working, but everything is connected and charged, there may be an issue with the nib. This tip is removable for replacement purposes. However, if it is not properly screwed in, your Apple Pencil will not work properly.

Apple Pencil Fixes Nib
Image source: DepositPhotos

To check this, simply twist the nib clockwise until it is fully attached. If the nib appears worn or damaged, remove it and screw on a replacement nib.

8. Disconnect and Reconnect Apple Pencil

If your Apple Pencil is connected but not working, try disconnecting it from your device by using the “forget” feature in the Bluetooth settings. When you remove the Apple Pencil from Bluetooth devices, you must re-pair it with the iPad, which is like starting fresh.

Open Settings -> Bluetooth. Tap the (i) icon next to the Apple Pencil under the My Devices section.

Apple Pencil Not Working Bluetooth Information

Press Forget This Device. Tap on Forget device on the confirmation pop-up.

Apple Pencil Not Working Forget Device

Once removed, re-pair the Apple Pencil with your iPad as shown above.

9. Disconnect Other Bluetooth Devices

Some iPad users suggest that other Bluetooth devices interfere with the Apple Pencil. If you have other Bluetooth devices connected to your iPad, you must turn them off. (The process is the same as forgetting your Apple Pencil.)

10. Reset Network Settings

If nothing has worked thus far, try resetting the network settings on your iPad. This will not delete personal data from your iPad, but network settings like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc., will be reset to the default values.

Open the Settings app, and go to General -> Transfer or Reset iPad.

Transfer Reset Ipad Menu

Tap on Reset followed by Reset Network Settings.

Reset Network Settings on iPad

Once you perform this reset, you can walk through reconnecting your Apple Pencil to your iPad.

Hopefully, the tips shared above will help you pair and connect the Apple Pencil to your iPad. Once it starts working in its full glory, learn how to make the most of the Apple Pencil. If your Apple Pencil still doesn’t work, learn about Apple Pencil alternatives.

Image credit: DepositPhotos

Is this post useful?
Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox

Megan Glosson
Megan Glosson - Staff Writer

Megan Glosson is a freelance technology writer based in Nashville, TN. She has extensive experience working with everything from printers to smart home systems, and serves as the go-to “tech guru” for a small business that sells digital products. Megan has created thousands of articles for online publications and company blogs, including How-To Geek, Clean Email, and Review Geek. When she’s not writing, you will probably find Megan playing board games with her partner and two children or swimming in the pool. You can check out Megan’s entire portfolio on her website, https://www.meganglosson.com/.