To answer to question if the Apple Pencil 2 is worth it or not: Yes, the apple pencil 2 is worth it if you plan on doing any sort of drawing, sketching, or note-taking. This is especially true when compared to cheap third party apple pencil alternatives that lack many functions they claim to accomplish such as pressure sensitivity and full gesture capabilities.
The Apple Pencil 2 is considered an active stylus that has several advantages over the less expensive stylus pens’ valued at $50 or less. It is a must have for those looking to create pro level art or are taking notes on the iPad.
Is the Apple Pencil 2 worth it? Yes, because it has true pressure sensitivity, gesture shortcuts, an instant pairing. Every cheap stylus pen I’ve tested on Amazon couldn’t compete with the Apple Pencil 2, because they did not communicate as effectively with the iPad Air or iPad Pro… even when these third party pens claimed to have ‘active’ pen technology.
This is because the Apple Pencil alternatives don’t have ‘true’ pressure sensitivity capabilities and instead use tilt control or the application/software to control pressure sensitivity. While this works, it doesn’t work as well for artists, note-taking, or school. You could feel the difference in the real apple pencil 2 versus the knock-off brands.
Lower cost stylus are not the same as the Apple Pencil: The Apple Pencil 1 & 2 communicates directly with the iPad; allowing for the most precise, accurate strokes as well as gestures and shortcuts that can change the brush stroke. (it also pairs instantaneously with minimal flaws)
The only low-cost alternative stylus pen I’ve found to compete with the Apple Pencil 2 was the Adonit Note+, which does have ‘true’ pressure sensitivity through bluetooth connectivity. I have this stylus and personally have used it-It was not as seamless or intuitive as the apple Pencil, but was a very functional budget alternative.
As for the Apple Pencil 1: The main difference is which generation iPad it connects to, which is almost always displayed on the product page as well as it’s charging and magnetic caps which will be explained further in this post.
You’ll have to check the compatibility on the product page itself to be sure it works with your iPad.
- Related: See Apple Pencil 2 vs 1: What is the difference?? (comparison)
- Related: 7 Best Stylus for iPad Air (Drawing & Note-taking)
In this post I’ll be going into further detail on why the Apple Pencil 2 is worth it depending on your exact situation and intended use with the stylus.
Is the Apple Pencil 2 Worth it or Not: Benefits & Uses (review)
If you plan on doing any type of drawing, animation, sketching, graphic design, and even handwritten notes, then the price tag of the Apple pencil 2 is worth it due to enhanced precision, gesture feature and instant pairing with the iPad.
So is the Apple Pencil 2 worth the price? Well, the improvements of the Apple Pencil 2 are ‘extra’s’ rather than necessities; meaning that the drawing capabilities are nearly exactly the same as the Apple Pencil 1.
This is especially true for those that want to utilize the pen for school or Artist looking to create studio level Art or design.
Is the Apple Pencil Really Worth it for Note Taking?
The Apple Pencil models excel at note taking because of its shortcut features, precise and accurate communication between iPad devices and its handwritten functionalities that can be useful for math or remote learning while using a digital white board.
Other alternative, cheap stylus pens I’ve tested did not function as seamless as the Apple Pencil 2 and did not provide the level of utility for work & school level note taking. They’re more frustrating to use overall as they don’t integrate as seamlessly as the Apple Pencil 2.
This was a game changer for me as the Apple Pencil 2 excelled at writing versus other non-apple alternative stylus pens. Additionally, the iPad allows for instant circles or boxes to be recognized by the Apple Pencil.
My favorite part of using the Apple pencil (1 & 2) for note-taking was how incredibly accurate it was for selecting text between words (to delete, adjust, remove or add letters).
If you are considering an expensive alternative rather than a cheap stylus, then the Surface Pro along with the Surface Pen or Surface Slim Pen work very well for note taking and drawing if Apple iPad is not of considering: See Apple Pencil vs Surface Pen for drawing & note taking for more on this.
Why is the Apple Pencil so Expensive?
As with most Apple Products, there’s always that confidence that Apple makes sure it’s devices work instantly and without flaws right out of the box as well as providing the utmost user experience standards. The Apple Pencil 2 is no different.
Evolving from its previous model, the original Apple Pencil 1, a few improvements were made to its second generation Apple Pencil that addressed some issues with the first one.
While both Apple Pencils are worth it, which model stylus you choose will depend on which iPad you have. If you’re iPad can use both- the Apple Pencil 2 poses a few benefits such as:
- More intuitive charging
- Magnetic caps
- Less likely to fall off a desk.
- Compatible with only certain iPad models.
I currently own both Apple pencils, and the pen preciseness for drawing is the same. However, it is noticeably less awkward to charge the battery of the second generation Apple Pencil, the caps are magnetic, and the Apple Pencil 2 is compatible with select iPads only.
On the Apple Pencil 1, it was incredibly easy to misplace the cap covering the lightning connector. The Apple Pencil 2 solves this by providing less awkward charging connectivity.
So, whether you get the Apple Pencil 1 or Apple Pencil 2 depends on which iPad you have since most won’t mind the minor differences. While we have a compatibility list- It’s still ideal to check the product page to which iPads are listed before committing to be safe.
Is the Apple Pencil worth it compared to cheap stylus alternatives
While other styluses can work with the iPad Pro’s capacitive screen, the Apple Pencil 2 provides a seamless experience that has withstood the most rigorous tests we’ve done. I’ve done extensive research and the Apple Pencil 2’s higher price tag is certainly worth it. Especially compared to the third party stylus which typically have issues pairing, stutter, delay, and are oftentimes not compatible with certain iOS devices.
Since the iPad Pro and iPad Air are popular devices used by people from all walks of life, including professional artists, making the Apple Pencil 2 is a natural, popular choice for those that value design and want a device that works properly.
What is the best, cheap alternative to the Apple Pencil 2 for drawing or note taking
If you’re set on grabbing a less expensive stylus in place of the Apple Pencil 2, then the Adonit Note Plus is the only stylus I would personally use because it has a fine tip point, pressure sensitive, palm rejection and all the features an Artist or note-taker would want. The only caveat is that it takes longer to pair and is a slight step-down from the Apple Pencil (but it’s nearly half the price in most cases)
Do you need an Apple Pencil?
If you are drawing, note-taking, writing or use the iPad daily, then the Apple Pencil is a necessity only if you require instant pairing, intuitive pen use, shortcut gestures and a significant increase in navigation/UI productivity throughout the ipad.
See our post: How to Turn your iPad into a Laptop [Complete Guide]
For those who simply need the iPad less then once or twice a week for simple tasks not related to note-taking, drawing, games or work, then the Apple Pencil may not be worth it- especially if you’re not drawing, playing games or taking notes.
What exactly does the Apple Pencil do?: (Artists vs non-Artists)
The Apple Pencil 2’s best feature is probably it’s responsiveness and accuracy. Users have said that, because there is almost no gap between the LCD and the glass, whatever you draw on the glass appears as though it is coming out from the tip of the pen. If you;re an artist, the apple pencil is a necessity due to how advanced its accuracy and shortcut features have become.
So, what can you do with the Apple Pencil?
It is very hard not to appreciate the drawing accuracy that the Apple Pencil 2 offers as Drawing apps integrate seamlessly with the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil 2 combination. Procreate, for example, is an award-winning sketching, painting, and illustrating ipad specifically for the iPad.
- It is very easy to switch between brushes and erasers, move between layers, navigate pop-up menus without leaving your canvas, creating thicker strokes by putting more pressure on the pencil, and do shading while tilting the pencil.
Many artists have said that working with Procreate on the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil 2 feels very much like creating art on paper. The double-tap feature of the Apple Pencil 2, which we will describe more fully later, really takes advantage of the features of Procreate.
If you are not a professional artist, is it still worth paying the price to get the Apple Pencil 2?
So is the apple pencil worth it if you’re not as artist? Absolutely. From years of both art and non-art iPad use, we’ve discovered the Apple Pencil 2 is still worth paying for if you are simply using it casually. These benefits also include very accurate, precise selections within the text of notes.
This is because of the following features: it’s instant pairing, lack of flaws- like you’d see in a cheap stylus alternative, and built-in ‘gesture’ features you can’t get elsewhere, Non-artists who don’t use the ipad for drawing can utilize instant pairing, shortcut features to select different options, and certain small features you can’t get anywhere else.
Does the Apple Pencil 2 work with Digital Whiteboards and PDF’s?
Paired with the iPad Pro, it works seamlessly for digital whiteboard presentations, note taking, document annotation, teachers’ illustrations, fashion designing, and architectural drawings.
- You can even scan a document into the iPad with the camera, tap the Apple Pencil on the document to sign it, then export the signed document as a digital copy or use an AirPrint-capable printer to print it out.
The humble PDF format is still very much around with many documents and contracts still going around in this format. With an app like PDF Expert, paired with the Apple Pencil 2, it is so easy to put marginal notes in documents, highlight text, and place editing marks like you would on paper.
Apple Pencil 2 Benefit: Makes navigating apps and selecting text much easier on iPad
Basically, whatever your finger can do on the iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil 2 can do – sometimes better. You can swipe down from the screen’s center with the pencil to bring up Spotlight for a quick search. Flick left or right like you would when looking for apps. Tap the onscreen keyboard to type out text or, as you will see later, even write in script with script-to-text conversion.
Additionally, there are various other ways and best apps for converting handwriting to text on iPad and iPhone.
Apple Pencil 2: Technical Improvements & Compatibility
The biggest difference between the original Apple Pencil and the second generation pencil is device compatibility. The Apple Pencil 2 works ONLY with the iPad Air (4th generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd and later), and the iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later).
The original Apple Pencil is compatible with more and older iPad versions. If you thought you could easily upgrade from the original Apple Pencil to the second generation one, this one will be a bummer because it will also require upgrading your iPad.
How has the Apple Pencil 2 improved from its previous model?
The Apple Pencil 2 incorporates several improvements over the original Apple Pencil, aesthetically and technically.
Technically, the Apple Pencil has two new features not available in the original one: inductive charging and double tapping.
Aesthetically, the Apple Pencil 2 is slimmer, smaller and more compact than the original one. While the original one is smooth and shiny, the second generation pencil has a matte finish. The first Apple Pencil is round all over; the second generation one has one flat side.
See our post: Is the MacBook Air Good for Programming? (The Truth)
Double Tapping Gesture:
Another difference compared to the original Pencil is touch gestures. With a double tap, the Apple Pencil 2 can swap between tools in apps. For example, a double tap can switch between the pen tool and the eraser. These can be defined in your settings.
From there, you have options to define what double-tapping does, like alternating between current tool and eraser, alternating between current tool and last used, or showing the color palette. Double tapping is currently supported by several apps like ProCreate, Concepts, LiquidText, OmniGraffle 3 and more apps are expected to support it in the future
Also, the improved design of the Apple Pencil 2 actually helps prevent the pencil from rolling off the desk. The new pencil has branding near the top – the Apple logo, followed by ‘PENCIL’. It also lost the cap and now consists of just the tip and the shaft.
The Apple Pencil 2 is slimmer, smaller and more compact than the original one because unlike the first pencil that charged through a lightning port at its end, the second generation pencil now charges inductively. One side of the Apple Pencil 2 is flat and sticks magnetically to the right side of the iPad; this initiates inductive charging. One good thing about this compared to the original pencil? There is no more awkward pencil jutting out of the iPad while charging.
The magnets are actually quite strong. Users tested the strength of magnets say that even with heavy shaking, the pencil stuck strongly to the iPad. When not in use, keep the Apple Pencil 2 connected to your iPad so that it continues charging. The iPad’s screen also automatically shows the remaining battery life of the Apple Pencil 2.
Other features that you will find in both the original Apple Pencil and the Apple Pencil 2 are:
- Palm rejection – When connected to the iPad, only the tip of the Apple Pencil 2 is recognized by the iPad Pro. Comfortably rest your palm or any other part of your hand on the screen and it will not register. With many other styluses, you will need to purchase a palm glove so your hand stays ‘invisible’ to the tablet.
- Pressure sensitivity – To create thicker lines, just press the pencil down harder on the screen and immediately, your strokes will thicken.
- Tilt sensitivity – The Apple Pencil 2 knows its orientation, detects any tilts, and adjusts accordingly. So even when you are shading or coloring in, you can naturally tilt the pencil and it will continue working. Other styluses without tilt sensitivity require you to write with the stylus held straight up for strokes to be recognized.
- Low latency – The Apple Pencil has very low latency, which means that as you write, you will not even notice a delay between the pencil’s strokes and the time it shows up on the screen.
- Precision – Another feature where Apple is excellent is how precisely it recognizes the tip of the Apple Pencil. If you put a dot on the screen, it will register exactly where the tip of the pencil meets the screen, down to the pixel.
- Simple pairing – Pairing of the pencil with the iPad is as simple as opening Bluetooth. That’s all it takes for the Apple Pencil to start working.
You can see why the iPad and Apple pencil are worth it when you compare each of these features to a capacitive stylus-which lacks all the useful extras.
Is the Apple Pencil Worth it for Procreate?
The Apple Pencil is ideal for Procreate and several professional artists have argued it’s the only stylus they’re able to create the pro level artwork with. While this may sound extreme, they attribute this to the gestures, extreme accuracy and ease of use and connectivity the apple pencil 2 provides.
Related: 7 Best Stylus for Procreate (iPad Air/Pro) and how the Apple Pencil measures up for Procreate.
Apple Pencil 2: Pressure sensitivity, Drawing & Note-taking
The Apple Pencil 2 is truly a premium tool that stands a head above the rest. If you are a teacher or a working professional, this will be great with digital whiteboards. Activating AirPlay or connecting an HDMI dongle to your iPad Pro allows you to project what is on your iPad to a TV or external monitor. Combining this feature with Apple Pencil-compatible apps like Microsoft OneNote, you can draw mind maps, diagrams, formulas, and marginal notes for a more interactive experience with your students or co-workers.
Students and professionals, especially those who have to take copious notes, will appreciate that the pencil does not lag. With Apple Notes, for example, double tapping switches between pen and eraser. It is so much more convenient than having to reverse the pencil, like you would with other styluses, to erase. With other apps like Notability or MyScript Nebo, you can circle items in your notes that you want to remember, highlight words, or scribble comments in margins. Did we mention the Apple Pencil 2 is also magnetic?
iPad OS 14’s Scribble is another outstanding feature. Scribble allows you to ‘scribble’ with the Apple Pencil 2 on any text box, including the search bar on your browser, instead of tapping out words using the on-screen keyboard. Your handwriting will appear on the search bar or text box as you write; then Scribble translates it into text. Sometimes, it is easier just to grab the Apple Pencil and scribble something real fast, knowing that it can be converted into searchable text.
Whether you’re an adult or kid, the Apple pencil works fantastic for all age groups and is intuitive no matter how old you are. If you’re playing games or developing professional architecture & graphic design, the apple pencil satisfies every drawing need when using the iPad.
FAQ: Apple Pencil 2
In this section, we cover almost every aspect of the Apple Pencil 2 in regards to how to use, how to turn on and the compatibility amongst apple pencils.
How to Turn on Apple Pencil 2
There’s actually nothing to turn on. The first time you use it with Bluetooth turned on, the Apple Pencil 2 will pair with your iPad. Once paired, it just works for as long as Bluetooth is on. Just pick up the pencil and start writing!
How to Use Apple Pencil 2
The Apple Pencil 2 is on as soon as you turn on Bluetooth on the iPad Pro. Activate the double-tap feature in the settings and select two tools you frequently use. Double-tap near the front-end of the pencil to switch back and forth between these tools. Write away!
Apple Pencil 2 Compatibility
The Apple Pencil 2 currently is compatible only with a limited line of iPads because of the hardware requirements. It works ONLY with the iPad Air (4th generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd and later), and the iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later).
|iPad model||Apple Pencil 2 compatiblility|
|iPad Air 4th Gen||Yes|
|iPad Pro 12.9 inch (3rd & Later)||Yes|
|iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generations)||Yes|
|iPad Air 1, 2, 3||No|
|iPad Pro 12.9 inch (1st, 2nd)||No|
See how the Apple Pencil pairs up with other alternative stylus choices, like Adonit (A popular stylus brand): Zagg Pro vs Apple Pencil vs Adonit Note+ vs Adonit Pixel (Stylus Comparison)
Do Third party, Non-Apple Pencils work properly with Apps on iPad?
Less expensive, cheap stylus often have difficulty connecting and working properly with iOS apps on the iPad, iPad Pro and Air. The reason being is because these third party digital pencils do not communicate with the iPad directly, but rather through a capacitive or lesser bluetooth connection than the Apple Pencil.
The result is slower pairing, lack of pressure sensitivity, skipping ,stuttering, unusual delays and a frustrating experience overall depending on what type of activities you are performing on your iPad.
If you’re using an Adobe Photoshop or illustrator software, then you’ll likely prefer the Apple Pencil 2 rather than a third party. However, if you’re set on an alternative stylus view our post on the Best stylus for adobe photoshop and illustrator for photo editing.
Does the Apple Pencil Work with Screen Protectors?
The Apple Pencil does work with screen protectors, there are numerous screen protectors out there, however paper-like appears to feel like paper and allow protection of your apple pencil.
While there are many cheap alternative screen protectors, the more quality, premium versions appeared to work best for me with the Apple Pencil and ensure a quality experience and prevention of destroying the Apple Pencil.
Do Apple Pencils work with iPhones?
No, the Apple Pencil 1 & 2 do not work with iPhones or phones in general. This is because the devices were not built and designed with the connectivity in mind. While we haven’t found any direct statement from the company, it has been clear through rigorous testing that Apple did not intend for the Apple Pencil to work directly with the iPhones.
Is the Apple Pencil Worth It for College?
The apple pencil is worth it for college because it satisfies instant pairing and precise note taking. For example, third party styluses often have pairing issues with certain devices, they don’t have gestures for intuitive shortcuts between applications or strokes.
The apple pencil excels for college because it has the capabilities of doing complex math problems just as you would on a piece of paper and it does so with very smooth strokes. It also can select a particularly letter or space between a word in your notes app for college, rather than holding and tapping and moving your finger; which can be incredibly frustrating
Can I use the Apple Pencil on other tablets like the Lenovo touchscreens?
No, the Apple Pencil does not work with other tablets; only the iPad models specified. It is built specifically for the iPad and because of this it allows the advanced features and technology that communicates with the iPad. However, if you are using Lenovo and not an iPad, then its best to check out the Best stylus pens for Lenovo Yoga Thinkpad & Ideapad.
For those in search of which device is better between non Lenovo devices, such as the iPad and Surface Pro 7-see our post: Surface pro 7 vs iPad Pro for drawing and Digital Art (Compared)
Is the Apple Pencil 2 worth it vs Capacitive Stylus?
The Apple Pencil 2 is worth it compared to a capacitive stylus because you can control the level of pressure based on how hard or soft you press the pencil into the iPad air, Pro or standard iPad display. Capacitive stylus do not allow for advanced drawing or sketching functionality as well as the native gesture shortcut feature apple has built inside the Apple Pencil.
The apple Pencil lines are considered active stylus and outperform the capacitive stylus in terms of precision by a long shot. As per various benchmarks and deeper testing I found capacitive stylus has delays, stuttering, lagging and strokes that skip; making the Apple Pencil worth getting compared to a cheap capacitive or other low cost stylus that falsely claim to be ‘active’.
|Stylus (iPad)||Pressure Type||Compatibility||Palm Rejection||Tilt control|
|Apple Pencil 1||Active stylus||All iOS apps||Yes||Yes|
|Apple Pencil 2||Active stylus||All iOS apps||Yes||Yes|
|Adonit Note +||Active stylus||Many iOS apps||Yes||Yes|
|Other Capacitive Stylus||Capacitive||All iOS apps||Sometimes||Sometimes|
Is an Apple Pencil 2 Bluetooth?
The Apple Pencil 2, like most Apple Products are used via bluetooth on some level. This can be clearly seen and proven by viewing the pen is not able to connect when bluetooth is not enabled on the iPad. When you turn off bluetooth on your iPad you’ll find the Apple Pencil doesn’t work. Third party capacitive stylus may advertise ‘no need for pairing’, but the truth is most artists or note-takers using handwriting will want the pen to pair because it means it is connecting to the iPad itself instead of using software for pressure sensitivity.
The iPad and Apple Pencil 2 use bluetooth to communicate between the devices. For example, non-apple stylus rarely can accomplish a bluetooth connection as well as apple- the adonit line of stylus have a bluetooth connection, however does not appear to be as effortless as the apple pencil allows for when tested.
Conclusion: Should you get the Apple Pencil 2?
In this post, I covered why the Apple Pencil 2 is worth it and the benefits and advantages of the Apple pencil 2 as well as its cons and disadvantages. The differences in the Apple Pencil 2 include an improvement to it’s charging, magnetic caps, and prevention of falling off desk-like surfaces.
If you already have an iPad Pro that is compatible with the Apple Pencil 2, getting the Apple Pencil 2 is a no-brainer next buy. Like all Apple products, it was just made to work seamlessly with iOS devices and is probably one of the best active styluses you can find in the market. Performance-wise, it is a great drawing tool for professional artists and non-artists.
Is it worth getting the iPad Pro or iPAd Air with Apple Pencil? It’s worth getting these in combination for reasons such as: seamless connectivity, extreme accuracy, and flawless integration amongst compatible iPads. It has features third party cheap stylus can’t compete with.
It’s certainly worth upgrading from Apple Pencil 1 if you dislike the way the pen charges in the iPad- otherwise the two digital stylus pens work as well as each other regarding precision.
Now, if your iPad is not compatible with the Apple Pencil 2, unfortunately this won’t be for you but you should still consider the original Apple Pencil or specifically the Adonit Note+ which we believe are still awesome alternatives.