The Apple Pencil is an obligatory purchase for anyone who wants to get the most out of their iPad, but what iPads work with the Apple Pencil?
Table of Contents
- What iPads are compatible with the Apple Pencil?
- What Is The Apple Pencil?
- First Generation vs. Second Generation Apple Pencil
- What iPads Work With Apple Pencil?
What iPads are compatible with the Apple Pencil?
While the answer to this question is largely dependent on which generation of Apple Pencil you plan on buying, in general, every single model of iPad that Apple currently sells is compatible with some model of the Apple Pencil.
With Apple’s many new releases from year to year, it can be difficult for the casual tech enthusiast to keep track of which models are compatible with each other. However, as an iPad owner myself, I’ve done all the hard work for you so that you don’t have to find out the hard way which iPad models are compatible with the Apple Pencil.
What Is The Apple Pencil?
If you are new a new iPad owner, you might be wondering what exactly the Apple Pencil is and if you should get one or not.
In short, the Apple Pencil is a wireless stylus that can be used with your iPad. While it might not be a necessary purchase for every iPad owner, you can undoubtedly get a lot more productivity out of your iPad with one, especially if you plan to use your iPad for more creative work.
The Apple Pencil is great for students who want to take handwritten notes on their iPads. However, the stylus really shines when used for things like graphic design and art. Its low latency, precision, and pressure sensitivity allow any artist or designer to easily bring their ideas to life.
Bottom line, if you plan to use your iPad with apps like Adobe Photoshop or any of the Microsoft Office apps, an Apple Pencil may be exactly what you need to get the most out of your iPad.
First Generation vs. Second Generation Apple Pencil
While the overall purpose and design of the Apple Pencil have not changed much between generations, there are some important differences.
First Generation Apple Pencil
The first generation of Apple Pencil was released to the public alongside the original iPad Pro in 2015. It’s pressure sensitive and is capable of angle detection.
This, paired with incredibly low latency between input from the stylus and output on the screen, allows for incredibly precise control over what is drawn onscreen.
The first generation device is also capable of ignoring input from the user’s palm while writing, adding another layer of protection against unintentional input from the user.
With a charge that lasts for about 12 hours of use, once the battery is drained, it is easily charged with its built-in lighting adapter. Hidden under a small magnetic cap on the end of the stylus, the Lightning adapter allows the pencil to be charged by any normal Lighting compatible charging cable.
Beginning in October 2022, it also ships with a Lighting to USB-C adapter, which extends the compatibility of the first generation Apple Pencil with some of Apple’s most recent iPad models.
Second Generation Apple Pencil
Released in November 2018 alongside the third generation iPad Pro, the second generation Apple Pencil keeps all of the functionality of the first generation device with a few added perks.
The biggest design change to the second generation stylus is the removal of the built-in lighting adapter. Instead, the new Apple Pencil is charged via a magnetic wireless charging connector on the tablet itself, doing away with the need for a charging cable.
Another notable change is that the second generation model includes touch-sensitive zones on the stylus itself. These areas can be mapped to perform different functions within different applications.
What iPads Work With Apple Pencil?
Now that we know the differences between each model of Apple Pencil, let’s talk about compatibility.
While I will organize every model into a list based on compatibility below, there are a few general rules that can make it easy to tell which iPad is compatible with which Apple Pencil.
The easiest thing to remember is that if you have an iPad that was released before 2015, prior to the release of the original Apple Pencil, it will not be compatible with either model of Apple Pencil.
Along the same line, if you have an iPad model that was released during or after 2015 but before 2018, it will not be compatible with the second generation Apple Pencil.
If you don’t know what year your iPad was released, the charging port is another great clue to tell what model of Apple Pencil it is compatible with.
If the iPad model in question has a Lightning port, it will only be compatible with the first generation Apple Pencil while iPads with a USB-C port are only compatible with the second generation Apple Pencil. The only exception is the 10th generation iPad, which has a USB-C port but is only compatible with the first generation Apple Pencil which is why a Lightning to USB-C adapter is necessary in order to charge the device.
With that out of the way, here is the list of iPads that are compatible with each generation of Apple Pencil.
What iPad Models Work With The First Generation Apple Pencil?
The following iPad models are compatible with the first generation Apple Pencil:
- iPad Pro 1st generation, 12.9-inch (2015)
- iPad Pro 1st generation, 9.7-inch (2016)
- iPad Pro 2nd generation, 10.5-inch (2017)
- iPad Pro 2nd generation, 12.9-inch (2017)
- iPad 6th generation (2018)
- iPad Air 3rd generation (2019)
- iPad Mini 5th generation (2019)
- iPad 7th generation (2019)
- iPad 8th generation (2020)
- iPad 9th generation (2021)
- iPad 10th generation (2022)
What iPad Models Work With The Second Generation Apple Pencil?
The following iPad models are compatible with the second generation Apple Pencil:
- iPad Pro 3rd generation, 11-inch (2018)
- iPad Pro 3rd generation, 12.9-inch (2018)
- iPad Pro 4th generation, 11-inch (2020)
- iPad Pro 4th generation, 12.9-inch (2020)
- iPad Air 4th generation (2020)
- iPad Pro 5th generation, 11-inch (2021)
- iPad Pro 5th generation, 12.9-inch (2021)
- iPad Mini 6th generation (2021)
- iPad Air 5th generation (2022)