Apple Pencil Won’t Pair or Disconnecting Frequently? Here’s How to Fix & Troubleshoot

Apr 9, 2021 - 1 Comment

Apple Pencil Troubleshooting

Is your Apple Pencil not pairing with your iPad or is it getting randomly disconnected while in use? This could be due to a number of different factors since it relies on a wireless connection and packs its own battery. Don’t fret though, since most disconnection and pairing issues with Apple Pencil can be fixed within a matter of minutes unless the hardware isn’t compatible.

Apple Pencil is an optional iPad accessory that’s used by millions of iPad users to draw, write, take quick notes, sketch, and more. For the most part, it works seamlessly with the iPads just like how almost all Apple accessories work with devices within the ecosystem. However, due to its wireless connectivity, internal battery, rare quirks, and certain hardware limitations, users can sometimes end up in a situation where they’re unable to pair the Apple Pencil with their iPads, or the Apple Pencil connection drops randomly making it almost unusable.

Regardless of the kind of issue that you’re specifically facing with your Apple Pencil, we’re here to help you get it fixed. In this article, we’ll cover how you can troubleshoot and resolve Apple Pencil’s pairing and disconnection problems.

Troubleshooting Apple Pencil Connectivity Issues

Apple Pencil’s connection drops could be related to Bluetooth, pairing issues, or because it ran out of battery.

Pairing issues are also usually Bluetooth-related, but they can also be due to incompatibility.

Whatever the cause, follow these troubleshooting methods to get your Apple Pencil to work properly with your iPad again.

Check Apple Pencil Compatibility

If you’re unable to pair your Apple Pencil with your iPad at all, compatibility is the first thing you need to check.

Apple has two different Apple Pencil variants, namely first-generation and second-generation Apple Pencils. Both of them support different iPad models. Therefore, you need to check if the Apple Pencil that you purchased is supported by the iPad you use.

Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)

(Available on Amazon)

  • iPad Air (4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation) and later
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation) and later

Apple Pencil (1st Generation)

(Available on Amazon)

  • iPad (8th generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad (7th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st or 2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch

How can I tell which Apple Pencil model I have?

If you’re unsure which Apple Pencil you have, the fully cylindrical Apple Pencil with the removable cap and Lightning port is the first-generation variant, whereas the Apple Pencil with a flat edge is the second-generation variant. Here’s a picture representing both the Apple Pencil models.

Apple Pencil Troubleshooting

Check that Bluetooth is Enabled

Some users may find that Bluetooth was accidentally turned off, in which case the Apple Pencil will not be recognized.

Confirm that Bluetooth is enabled by swiping down into Control Center (from the top right corner of modern iPadOS), or going into the Settings app and making sure Bluetooth is turned on.

Re-Pair Your Apple Pencil

Are you frequently facing disconnections while using your Apple Pencil? In that case, this particular step is for you, and often re-pairing the Pencil will resolve disconnection issues right away. Bluetooth is typically the primary culprit for these random disconnections, but this can be easily fixed by unpairing and pairing your Apple Pencil again. It’s similar to how you’d re-pair your Bluetooth headphones when it randomly disconnects.

To do this, head over to Settings -> Bluetooth on your iPad and tap on the “i” icon next to the connected Apple Pencil. Next, scroll down to the bottom and tap on “Forget This Device”.

Once unpaired, you can follow these instructions to set up and pair your Apple Pencil from scratch.

Apple Pencil Troubleshooting

Charge Your Apple Pencil

One of the most common reasons why your Apple Pencil gets disconnected during usage is simply because it ran out of battery. Therefore, this is the first thing that you may want to check when it happens.

A lot of people who’re new to using an Apple Pencil with their iPads don’t really know that it runs on battery. If you’re using the first-generation Apple Pencil, you can take the cap off and plug the Lightning connector into the charging port of your iPad. On the other hand, you can charge a second-generation Apple Pencil by simply attaching it to the side of the iPad with volume buttons. It should snap on with the help of magnets and charge wirelessly.

Once you’ve charged it enough, try using your Apple Pencil again.

Apple Pencil Troubleshooting

You can always check battery of Apple Pencil and other connected devices from the Battery widget.

Tighten or Replace the Tip / Nib

This step isn’t exactly for disconnections or pairing issues but can be used if your Apple Pencil isn’t detecting your writing or sketches properly. This is likely due to the fact that the Apple Pencil’s pointer tip / nib is either loose or has worn out over time due to prolonged use. If tightening the nib doesn’t fix it, you’ll need to replace it with a new one. Thankfully, Apple provides a replacement nib in the box when you purchase a new Apple Pencil for first gen, but 2nd gen owners will need to buy one (you can get packs of Apple Pencil tips on Amazon, from the Apple Store, and other online retailers). So, try a new tip / nib and see if you’re able to draw properly again.

Apple Pencil Troubleshooting

Reboot Your iPad

If the above troubleshooting steps weren’t helpful in your case, chances are, it’s just a minor software glitch that can be easily fixed by turning your iPad off and back on again.

Simply press and hold the power/side button along with one of the volume buttons on your iPad to access the shutdown screen. On older iPads with the Home button, you just need to hold the power button to get to the shutdown menu.

Apart from a regular restart, you can also take things up a notch and try force restarting your iPad. This is different from a normal reboot and requires a combination of button presses.

On iPad models with a physical Home button, force restart can be initiated by pressing and holding the power button and Home button until the Apple logo shows up. On newer models with Face ID, it’s slightly more complicated since you’ll have to press multiple buttons in quick succession. Click the volume up button first, followed by the volume down button, and then hold the side/power button until the Apple logo shows up to properly force reboot the iPad. Once you’re back on the Home screen, check if your Apple Pencil is working again without any issues.

Apple Pencil still having problems?

Unlucky enough to still face issues with Apple Pencil? It’s possible the Pencil itself is faulty, particularly if it’s brand new, or that there is some other issue at play. At this point, you might want to contact official Apple Support to see what they suggest. They will be able to help you if the hardware is at fault, and offer a free repair or replacement if your Apple Pencil is still in warranty.

Hopefully, you were able to fix your Apple Pencil connectivity issues using the tips above, and without requiring any further assistance from Apple Support. Which of the troubleshooting methods that we covered here worked for you? Do you have any additional tips that can fix these disconnection and pairing problems? Feel free to drop your ideas and share your experiences with Apple Pencil in the comments section down below.


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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in iPad, Troubleshooting

One Comment

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  1. James says:

    Tried all this and it didn’t work. Turned out that my Bluetooth headphones were somehow interfering with my pencil. Turned off the headphones and the Pencil started working. Go figure.

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