Apple Pencil, one of the most versatile accessories to pair with an iPad, packs a ton more features than a typical active stylus. And some of them might even shock you!
The Apple Pencil has gained the reputation of being the best accessory to go with an iPad thanks to its praiseworthy features and blazing-fast pairing.
And being an Apple Pencil user myself, I had no idea what it was capable of other than the usual tasks like writing, sketching, etc. Then I got to know them, and I have to say, it changed everything.
Apart from the writing/sketching aspects, the Apple Pencil features a range of intuitive and intelligent functions, with more yet to come. The Scribble feature, which came with iOS 14, has introduced many cool new features like handwriting-to-text conversion and gestures. The hover and the double tap features, too, make a pretty case for the Apple Pencil.
Here are the many things you can do with an Apple Pencil:
1. Try Out the Scribble Feature
The Scribble feature, which came with iOS 14, introduced a new spectrum of functions never before seen on the Apple Pencil.
It revamped the entire writing and sketching aspects of the Apple Pencil by optimizing almost everything we had ever seen and introducing more flexibility in editing.
And carrying over from iOS to iPadOS, the optimizations have reached a level well beyond our imaginations.
Quick automatic handwriting-to-text conversions, quirky Scribble gestures to edit texts, and options to annotate and recognize numbers, locations, and other personal info are a few recent additions to be named.
A quick word - most of the Scribble functions are exclusively available on the Apple Pencil 2. Consequently, only a couple of Apple iPad models support Scribble.
But before we explore the various Scribble functions, let's ensure it's turned ON on your iPad.
By default, when you pair an Apple Pencil, the Scribble features come enabled. For some odd reason, if this is not the case, you can always enable it from the settings tab.
Follow these steps to do so:
1. Open the Settings tab of your iPad.
2. Navigate to and open the Apple Pencil tile.
3. Scroll and toggle ON/OFF the Scribble tile.
You can also select Try Scribble from the same settings tab to get a hold of the various functions of the feature.
Now, let's dive into the different functions, starting with handwriting-to-text conversion:
Use Handwriting-to-Text Conversion with Apple Pencil
Automatic handwriting-to-text conversion is indeed one of the most prized features of the Apple Pencil. It also happens to be one of the most useful among the lot.
And it is pretty accurate in identifying and converting your quirky handwriting.
Compatible with almost any Apple apps and most third-party apps, this feature may be the most used feature on an Apple Pencil.
Here's how it works:
1. Open a compatible app (like Notes), a text-based document, or an email draft.
2. Tap the Apple Pencil on the screen.
3. Select the Apple Pencil tool with an 'A' icon.
4. Your handwriting will automatically be converted to text as you write.
Well, that's the general idea behind the said feature.
Now, if you want to convert an already handwritten text, you can do just that with the help of gestures. While there are a few notable gestures associated with Scribble, let's focus on the pertaining one for now:
1. Close the Apple Pencil toolbar.
2. Tap and hold the Pencil on the word to convert.
You can also tap and hold the word and then drag the selection to the desired point to include multiple words or sentences to convert.
3. Select Copy as Text from the hence-derived popup menu.
You can now paste the text on a field to complete the conversion.
Note: You can convert handwriting to text from anywhere on the screen on any input field as long as you select the appropriate tool.
Edit Text Using Scribble Gestures
Next up, let's explore the various gestures that might come in handy when editing text with the Apple Pencil.
Gestures have always been around since the launch of the Apple Pencil. And its evolution has been nothing short of excellent.
With that said, here are the many Scribble gestures that you can try out with your Apple Pencil:
★Select text or a word: draw a circle around the word or phrase in question to select it for moving it around or converting it to text.
★Delete text: scratch out the portion of the text, and Apple will automatically remove it.
★Underline the text to highlight the text and modify them, especially numbers, Email addresses, or places.
★Double-tap on a word to select it individually.
★Triple-Tap on the text to select an entire sentence.
★Tap four times to select an entire paragraph.
★Draw a horizontal line (much like a hyphen) to join separate words (for example: Do nut> Do-nut> Donut).
★Draw a vertical line between words to separate them.
And there you have it, Scribble at a glance.
2. Use the Double-Tap Feature on the Apple Pencil
The double-tap feature on the Apple Pencil 2 is a key differentiating aspect of the Apple Pencil 1 and 2.
A convenient feature available right at your fingertips, the double-tap feature you can even custom map it to perform a wide range of operations.
By default, this feature serves the purpose of switching between input types (pen, pencil, marker, etc.), but you can change it from the settings tab in no time.
And to use it, all you have to do is to double-tap on the flat barrel end of the Apple Pencil while using a compatible app/document.
Here's how to manage and modify the double-tap feature on the Apple Pencil 2:
1. Open the Settings tab on your iPad.
2. Scroll and open the Apple Penciltab.
3. Under the Double Tap tab, choose your preferred option:
- Switch Between Current Tool and Eraser
- Switch Between Current Tool and Last Used
- Show Color Palette
And that's pretty much it with the double-tap feature.
3. Check out Pencil Gestures
Apart from the Scribble gestures, Apple has also implemented a pair of nuanced gestures that may come in handy if you write a quick note or take a screenshot.
Now, there are two swipe-up gestures that you can make at any time to prompt the desired shortcut.
You can swipe up from the bottom left or the bottom right of the iPad screen to bring about corresponding functions.
By default, a quick swipe up from the bottom left triggers a screenshot to be taken, and a swipe up from the right opens a quick note.
Unfortunately, Pencil gestures only support the two tasks mentioned above for the nonce. You can, however, mix up the two functions by doing so:
1. Open the Settings tab on your iPad.
2. Select the Apple Pencil tile.
3. Scroll down to the Pencil gestures tile.
4. Select the corner swipes to change the shortcut or turn it OFF.
Let's now move on to the next tip:
4. Make Your Own Digital Signatures with Apple Pencil
Digital signatures have become a norm nowadays. And almost all electronic documents now come with an authorized digital signature.
But making one could get on your nerves, especially when you prefer precision in your signature.
Even if you can create signatures with your finders on the iPad, it lacks the accuracy one might prefer.
With the Apple Pencil, however, creating life-like signatures is a piece of cake.
Follow these steps to do so:
1. Open up a text field on your iPad.
2. Tap the Pencil on the screen to bring up the toolbar.
3. Click on the '+' sign and select signature.
4. Create the signature.
Tap Done once you have done so.
5. Use the Hover Feature on Apple Pencil
Another elite feature of the Apple Pencil is the hover feature.
A mainstay among propriety styluses, including S-Pens that are heavily compared to Apple Pencils, the hover feature brings quite a few useful functions.
The hover function kicks into action once the Apple Pencil comes to about 12 mm from the iPad screen.
Although to get the most out of the hover function, you may need the iPad Pros with the M2 chips.
And with the M2 iPad Pros, the hover feature comes enabled by default. All you have to do is to hover the Pencil within the recommended limit, and you can see the translucent hover icon on the screen.
You can disable this feature from the settings tab by going to Apple Pencil> Show Effects> Disable.
But how does it benefit us, the users?
Well, the hover function can be used in a few different ways. Here are some of them:
- To navigate the home screen.
- For shading and applying finishing touches to your sketches.
- To quick-view links as you hover the Apple Pencil over links.
- Highlight text.
- Scroll through documents and web pages.
And that about wraps it up with the hover feature.
And there you have it, a comprehensive list of sound, and at times, underrated things to do with the Apple Pencil.
Most of these features are unique to the Apple Pencil, and at the same time, key points of disparity between the Apple Pencil and a third-party Stylus.
And being a rubber-tipped stylus, you can apply as much pressure as you like with the Apple Pencil to bring your imagination to life without worrying about scratching the iPad screen.
Make sure to check them all out, and who knows, some may become regulars for you!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is it worth getting an Apple Pencil?
The Apple Pencil is indeed a worthy accessory to pair your iPad with. The number of features and the blazing-fast pairing speeds make the Apple Pencil a worthy investment. Recommended for professionals and casual users alike, you won't be disappointed with the Apple Pencil if you decide to get one.
Does Apple Pencil cause battery drain?
No, the Apple Pencil won't drain your iPad's battery. Apple Pencils are powered by built-in batteries that also fuel the Pencil for performing various tasks.