While the Apple Pencil may be the best stylus suited for iPads, its atrocious price may not be for everyone. Hence, we rely on third-party styluses that fare similarly to the Pencil minus its cost.
Even if Apple's user base gravitates towards the Apple Pencil for this very purpose, it does come with a few shortcomings aside from the insane price point. One of them being the compatibility factor.
This in itself makes a compelling argument for opting for a non-Apple stylus.
To connect a non-Apple stylus to an iPad, ensure the tab is powered ON and start stroking the stylus as it is, especially with passive styluses. With Active styluses, like the Adonit Note M, connect the stylus via Bluetooth, or any other recommended connection modes, via the appropriate app.
Let's now take a deeper dive at this topic:
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How to Connect and Use Passive Styluses on iPad
Passive stylus? You may be wondering what a passive stylus is. Well, the first thing to get a hold of when shopping for a stylus is that there are two kinds of it.
Styluses can be broadly classified into Active and Passive styluses.
Aptly monikered as the universal stylus, a passive stylus doesn't require to be powered to be operated, unlike its counterpart, Active styluses.
And as such, they cost only a fraction of the active ones.
Another vital difference between an active and a passive stylus is the tip. Passive styluses feature a broad input tip owing to their mode of operation. You may enjoy reading our article on the differences between active and passive styluses.
Let's now talk about how to operate a Passive stylus on an iPad.
And if you're wondering whether a Passive stylus works on an iPad, they work swimmingly if you choose the right one. More about this later.
Here's how to use a Passive stylus on your iPad:
1. Power on the iPad and open a note-taking application of your choice. (You can also use the stylus for navigation purposes, much like what you would do with your finger)
2. Get a grip on the Passive stylus and start stroking the screen surface.
3. Apply ample pressure to maximize the contact of the stylus tip with the screen.
And that's pretty much everything there is to using a passive stylus with an iPad. Very simple, very straightforward!
Passive styluses work similarly to how you interact with your fingers on a touch screen.
A passive stylus, as soon as it makes contact with a capacitive screen, generates electrostatic distortions, which the host device picks up as input. Think of it as an extension of your fingers!
How to Connect and Use Active Styluses on iPad
Moving on, styluses that are actively powered and require a connection to the host device can be dubbed as an active stylus.
This includes both Apple Pencil 1 and 2, which may seem quite the same, but they differ in a few aspects, especially with compatibility.
(spoiler alert - Apple Pencil 2 isn't supported on the base version iPads, along with older versions).
But first, if Apple Pencil is an active stylus, why side with a non-Apple one?
And sure enough, the price may be the most obvious factor of disparity between an Apple pencil and a non-apple stylus.
Aside from the price, lower maintenance, and assortment of tips, the Apple Pencil does take the crown as the best stylus to pair with your iPad.
Also, not all Active styluses are compatible with an iPad.
Following the tradition of exercising severe levels of selectivity with the products supported on their ecosystem, the number of active styluses supported on an iPad is pretty scant. More about this later.
Nonetheless, pairing an Active stylus with your iPad will differ from brand to brand.
For ease of understanding, we have taken Adonit, a premier in the stylus game, as an example. Here's how it goes:
1. Power ON the stylus by pressing the power button.
Some Active styluses are powered through a power cable connected to the host device, like with Wacom styluses.
2. Toggle ON Bluetooth on your iPad (Settings>Bluetooth).
3. Pair the Stylus either through the Bluetooth tab or open up a note-taking/sketching application like Concepts or Autodesk Sketchbook (open the setting tab to pair the pen).
You have now successfully connected an Active stylus to your iPad.
Let's now take a look at some of the best styluses to pair with your iPad:
Best Non-Apple Styluses for iPads
With the connecting part taken care of, let's now look at some of the best non-Apple styluses to pair with your iPad.
Unlike other tablet devices, iPads tend to skimp out on support for third-party peripherals. They like to promote their proprietary accessories!
Nonetheless, when it comes to stylus support, you're afforded a good assortment of them that actually works with the iPad.
Here is a couple of them that work great with your iPad:
Adonit Pixel: Best Stylus for iPad
Adonit may be the best OEM focusing on manufacturing Apple accessories, specifically styluses, that feature a ton of technology at a price much more affordable.
And the Adonit Pixel may be the best pairing for your iPad.
Featuring a stunning Aluminium body, the pen looks and feels good in the hand.
It also comes with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, good enough for registering accurate curves and regulating the thickness of your strokes.
Palm rejection comes as standard on the model, and with the help of the new grip sensors, the Pixel automatically comes to life as soon as you pick it up.
With a battery life of about 15 hours and a charging time of 1 hour, the Pixel fares quite strongly in the power department as well.
All these features crown the Adonit Pixel not only one of the best pairings for your iPad but also one of the best styluses for iPhones.
Indeed, you can't get a better stylus for your iPad unless you go for the Apple Pencil.
MEKO 2-in-1 Universal Stylus Pencil: Best Passive Stylus for iPad
If you're looking for a stylus that covers all the basics but doesn't cost you a bag, look no further, the Meko 2-in-1 stylus is the one for you.
Unlike the others mentioned in this list, Meko is a universal stylus that doesn't need powering up to work.
All you have to do is to pick it up and start using it right away.
And since it is a passive pen, it lacks the precision and the gimmicks the active ones pride themselves on.
Nonetheless, it does its job quite well compared to its pricier compeers.
Although, for the price, you get a metal build and a broad rubber tip for maximum contact and accuracy. The Meko also comes with an assortment of tips and whatnot.
No wonder it got featured in our list of best universal styluses!
Logitech Crayon Digital Pencil: A Great Apple Pencil Substitute
Launched alongside the 3rd gen iPad Pro, the Logitech Crayon falls among some of the great pairings for iPad.
Featuring an eye-catching metal design with cool orange accents, it certainly is one of the better-looking devices mentioned here.
The Crayon is an active stylus that doesn't need to be paired with the iPad. You can use it as it is, just like that.
It comes with natural palm detection and tilt detection mechanism so that you don't have to worry about accidental strokes and have more flexibility in choosing your strokes.
The Crayon has a decent enough battery life of about 7 hours. Charging is pretty fast via the onboard lighting port.
A concrete lack of pressure sensitivity settings may be the only acknowledgeable deficit in the Crayon. But at half the price of the latter, that's not a deal-breaker.
And there you have it, a comprehensive guide on connecting and using non-Apple styluses on your iPad.
Even if the Apple Pencil still reigns as the undisputed champ in the Stylus game, the competition has matured quite well, and some might even outvie the Pencil.
However, the price the Pencil boasts singlehandedly prompts iPad users to look elsewhere.
And so, to top it all off, I have included a carefully curated list of Styluses that might work wonders for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why won't my stylus work on my iPad?
If you can't use a stylus on your iPad, check the power status on the stylus. Charge it up if it's low on battery. Next, ensure the stylus is compatible with the iPad. Some styluses may not be compatible with certain models of iPad. Updating the iPad firmware may help your case.
Can I use a Samsung pen on my iPad?
No, S-Pens are not compatible with iPad. This is because, S-Pens are proprietary styluses designed to interact with the digitized screens of Samsung devices, like a Samsung Galaxy Tab.