Is your Apple Pencil not working in 2023? Here's how to fix it!

Man holding Apple Pencil (first generation)
(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

The Apple Pencil enhances the use of your best iPad, allowing you to draw, sketch, and take notes with ease and precision.

The original Apple Pencil has been around since 2015, but it's still very much in use. Two more models have joined since the lineup, the Apple Pencil 2 and Apple Pencil USB-C. You can learn more about all three models in our Apple Pencil Ultimate Guide.

Regardless of which model you have, it can be an absolute joy to use, except for when it's not working. If it's non-responsive in apps, not appearing in your Notification Center's battery menu, or just not even turning on, we can help you troubleshoot.

Step #1: Tighten the nib

Apple Pencil laying beside wooden pencils.

(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

The Apple Pencil's nib comes off because it can (and will) wear down over time, and you'll need to swap it out. There is a replacement nib that comes with every Apple Pencil. But, of course, because it can be replaced, it means it can also loosen. And a loose pencil nib means the iPad won't be able to communicate with the Apple Pencil properly.

So, be sure your Apple Pencil nib is tight. You can tighten it just by twisting the nib clockwise. It doesn't take much effort, and you should never have to apply much pressure. Just make sure it's on and tightened properly.

If that worked, you're back to work. If not, keep on reading!

Step #2: Recharge

(Image credit: iMore)

Next, we need to ensure your Apple Pencil's battery is charged. It's the silliest thing, but it happens. Pull down Notification Center and look for your Apple Pencil under Batteries.

If you've entirely run out of battery or haven't used your Pencil recently, it may take up to ten minutes for your stylus to properly charge and appear in Notification Center. So don't panic if you don't see it immediately; it make take some time for your Apple Pencil to charge up.

If you've charged your Apple Pencil for more than 20 minutes and still don't see it appear in Notification Center, keep reading.

Step #3: Reboot

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Sometimes, it's not the Apple Pencil's fault, but the iPad's, and an excellent old-fashioned reboot can help get both up and running again. You can turn your iPad on and off or hard reset your iPad if necessary. Either way, it should get things working again if the problem is relatively minor.

How to restart an iPad with a Home button

  1. Press and hold down the top button.
  2. Drag the slider.
  3. Wait 30 seconds for your iPad to turn off.
  4. Press and hold down the top button until you see the Apple logo.

How to reset an iPad without a Home button

  1. Press and hold the top button and either volume button on your iPad.
  2. Continue holding them as the screen turns off.
  3. Continue holding them until you see the Apple logo.
  4. Release the buttons.

Still having issues with your Apple Pencil? Move on to the next step. 

Step #4: Re-pair

(Image credit: iMore)

If you find your Apple Pencil not working, it could be time to check your Bluetooth settings to make sure the Pencil's connected — and if not, then reconnect it. Alternatively, you can unpair your Apple Pencil and then re-pair it to your iPad; sometimes, that helps shake off a weird connection and fixes issues.

If you've re-paired your Pencil and it still doesn't work, it may be time to contact the pros.

Last resort: call in Apple support

We hope that the troubleshooting tips above did the trick. If not, then perhaps your Apple Pencil is defective or sustained some kind of damage. In that case, you'll need to reach out to Apple for a fix. You can schedule an appointment at your local Genius Bar for a possible repair or replacement. 

If you can't get to an Apple Store, you can call AppleCare at 1-800-MY-APPLE. Alternatively, you can always visit Apple's support website or use Apple's Support app.  

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.

With contributions from