16 Questions about Apple Pencil (Tips)

The 2021 Apple Pencil (Tips) Guide

This is the most complete guide you’ll find on the internet about the Apple Pencil and Apple Pencil Tips. You’ll find everything you need to know about how they work, dissected into 11 questions. Are you sure you can handle the amount of knowledge you will gain after reading it? Enjoy :-)

#1 What are some Apple Pencil Tricks and Tips on iOS 14?

There’s 5 main features that the new iOS 14 brought to your Apple Pencil. Personally, I think it's great how software updates give our physical “simple” devices more power. In this blog we’ll explain the six main tips and tricks you need to know to get the most out of your Apple Pencil.

To carry on with what you wanted to read, the first main Trick is that you can drag for a screenshot. Whatever screen you’ve got on your iPad, if you take your Pencil and swipe from the bottom left or right corner you have a screenshot. When this screen pops up, you get your toolbar that you can use to make annotations on the screenshot. What’s also great about this feature is that when you do this when browsing the web, you can transform the whole webpage to a PDF to read or work on later.

A second trick is tap to launch a note. Whenever your iPad is in sleep mode, you can tap the screen with the pencil and a blank note will automatically be created. You can use this feature whenever you have an idea you want to jot down without having to unlock the iPad first!

A third tip is to look into the deeper settings that now come with iOS 14. You get there by going to settings and scrolling down to “Apple Pencil”. In that screen you’ll see the current charge of your Apple Pencil, but also four options for you to choose what happens when you double tap on your Pencil. Select option 1 if you want to switch between the current tool and eraser (this has my preference, since I use my Pencil to write more than I draw). Select option 2 if you’d prefer to switch between the current tool and the last used tool. The third option is interesting for digital artists, since you’ll be able to pull up the colour palette. Option 4 is for those that want to miss out on the benefits of the other options ;) The remaining option is if you’d only like to be able to use your Pencil when you draw. (I have this turned off because I like feeling like Picasso when scrolling through my Pinterest feed). Included in these settings, you can also enable and try the new Scribble feature (we’ll discuss that more in detail next). 

A third tip and trick, and probably also the most welcomed, is the feature of handwriting to text. The technology has been around for some time, and it’s great seeing it come to the iPad with iOS 14. Without further ado, wherever you can type to search, you have the opportunity to write. And everything you write in notes can be automatically transformed to text as well. Some awesome features that come with this is that you can drag down between the letters and words to separate or join them together. Another feature is that you can select text by circling it or marking over it with a line. Probably my favorite feature, because I wish it was possible in real life, is that you can scribble over something you have written to erase it. 

A fourth feature is that we welcome shape recognition. Those using procreate might already be familiar with the process, you draw a shape - hold it for a second and then voila there’s the shape, more perfect than you could have ever drawn yourself. You can try it out in Apple Notes, and we’re sure that this feature will come to more places soon (although we can’t figure out use cases other than sketching). What kind of shapes does the Apple Pencil recognize? For starters, straight lines. This is great when you want to sketch out a quick graph on notes. You can also draw circles, squares, rectangles, stars, triangles, clouds and speech bubbles. You have to DM us on Instagram if we missed anything. 

The fifth feature, the one with the most promise, is data detection. This means that when you write addresses and phone numbers in Apple Notes, that the software will recognize the phone number as one that you can call and the address as one that you can view on Apple or Google Maps. How sweet is that? Imagine writing an address on a piece of paper, and when you tap on it with your finger that it pops up on google maps. That’s the feeling you get when you try this feature out. 

#2 Are Apple Pencil Tips the same?

We’ve seen the question of whether Apple Pencil Tips are interchangeable or replaceable come by a lot. The short answer is YES. Keeping in mind that there are two Apple Pencils out there, the first and second generation, you can buy Apple Pencil Tips or replacements and screw them on to both generations. What might also be useful to know is that the Logitech Crayon is made from the same technology as the Apple Pencil which means that Apple Pencil Tips also fit onto that stylus.

#3 How do you replace Apple Pencil Tips?

In order to change the Apple Pencil Tips, hold your Apple Pencil and pinch the tip with your thumb and forefinger. Slowly unscrew in a clockwise direction. In just 2-3 turns the Apple Pencil tip will be loose and you can screw a new one on in an anti-clockwise direction.

#4 Can you buy Apple Pencil Tips?

As you might be able to guess from the previous questions we have answered, you can buy Apple Pencil Tips. How much are Apple Pencil tips? It really depends on where you buy them and whether you prefer Apple over no-name third parties. For example, you can buy a set of 4 on the Apple Website for $19 or a four pack on Amazon for $12. 

#5 Why do Apple Pencil Tips need to be replaced?

Whenever you start to see metal at the tip of your Pencil, that's when you know it needs to be replaced. This post in reddit shows it perfectly. If you continue to use your Apple Pencil Tip when the metal is visible, it can severely damage your screen. Please be careful. 

#6 Do Apple Pencil Tips wear out?

Just like a real pencil, Apple Pencil Tips can wear out. This usually happens when you’re an avid drawer or using a matte screen protector. 

#7 How long do Apple Pencil Tips last?

This is probably the most asked and debated Apple Pencil question on the internet. Usually it's phrased as when Apple Pencil Tips wear out, need to be changed or replaced. Using it daily for hours at a time, an Apple Pencil Tip will most likely last somewhere between 4-6 months. Users have also noted going 1 to 2 years without replacing it, but it really depends on just two factors: your technique and how often you use it.

#8 Are Apple Pencil Tips universal?

Besides the Apple Pencil 1st generation and 2nd generation, Apple Pencil Tips also work on the Logitech Crayon. They do not work on any other styluses. To sum up with what we mentioned earlier, whenever you buy Apple Pencil Tips, original or third party, they will work on these three styluses.

#9 What are Apple Pencil Tips made of?

The verdict of the exact materials used in the tips isn’t out there, but we’re currently doing research on it and hope to come up with a concrete (or plastic) answer as soon as possible. From what we know now, Apple Pencil Tips are made of capacitive polypropylene, a type of thermoplastic. 

#10 What are the Apple Pencil Tips for?

To know what they are for, it is also important to understand how Apple Pencil Tips work. If you screw off the Apple Pencil Tip and look on the inside of it, you’ll find a metal tip sticking out. This is part of a spring mechanism that sends information to your Apple Pencil which immediately gets pushed to the iPad through bluetooth. If you take a moment to think about what’s going on when you draw, then you’ll also realize how great this technology is. The information that is sent is the position of the Pencil on the screen (given similar to X and Y coordinates), the amount of force in gram force (gf) which helps understand the pressure and the tilt (in degrees) which is important for shading.

#11 Which way to unscrew the Apple Pencil Tip?

If you hold the tip end of the Apple Pencil in your right hand (and the butt end of the Pencil in your left hand) then unscrew the Apple Pencil Tip towards you. Counter-clockwise.

#12 What are the best nib tips for iPad styluses?

Pen Tips. No doubt about it 😄

#13 How frequently do you change Apple Pencil Tips?

Using it daily for hours at a time, an Apple Pencil Tip will most likely last somewhere between 4-6 months. Users have also noted going 1 to 2 years without replacing it, but it really depends on just two factors: your technique and how often you use it.

#14 Are there different tips for Apple pencil?

No there aren't.

#15 Are Apple Pencil 1 and 2 Tips the same?


#16 How do I know when I need a new Apple pencil tip?

Our colleagues at iPad Calligraphy summarized it best. You'll know you need to replace it when you've been using the same tip for a year, there's too much friction, brushes aren't working the way they did, your Pencil is less responsive or the tip is worn down and feels rough. 

5 signs you need a replacement Apple Tip for your Apple Pencil

A bit about Pen Tips

Let us know what you think in the comments below and if you’d like to get in touch with Pen Tips after you’ve read this article then feel free to visit our about page for more information. 

If you have no idea what we do, then read the next two sentences. 

Pen Tips is on a mission to excite and inspire digital artists by creating the art tools for the digital canvas. We have currently developed a better version of the Apple Pencil Tip nibs/covers that gives digital artists more grip while decreasing the wear on their Apple Pencil Tips. So check out our shop if you’d like to see our products. 

Follow us on Instagram if you’d like to keep up to date with our developments!


  • Peter Bond

    This piece does not cover best writing apps as the link promised. Might be an idea to provide some original writing about your pen tip ‘cover’ and their application. Great tool by the way. Better solution than stick-on screen covers, by a country mile. IMHO.

  • David Harris

    The use of apple pencil to capture screenshot of a whole web page only applies to Safari – but still useful to know!

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