Which iPad models support Apple Pencil?

Apple Pencil 2 Charge Ipad Pro Hero Resized
(Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

Pairing the best iPad with an Apple Pencil is crucial if you're an artist or a keen writer. Since 2010, Apple's tablet has expanded into a line of different sizes and accessories that can help cater to a bunch of hobbies. The Apple Pencil, however, has been making a big impression of its own since it debuted in 2015.

The accessory allows users to handwrite in Apple's Notes app, or illustrate in Procreate. Some still use the original Apple Pencil, even though there are now three models to choose from.

It's potentially confusing affair to figure out which Pencil works with a certain iPad. Fortunately, our guide below will help you discover which Apple Pencil works with your iPad.

Which iPad models support Apple Pencil 1?

Apple Pencil 1

(Image credit: Future / Apple)

The first-generation Apple Pencil, released in 2015, includes a cap that conceals a Lightning connector. The Pencil's legacy connector mean it has to plug into an iPad that features the Lightning port for both quick pairing and charging.

In the intervening years, Apple brought out a Lightning to USB-C adapter for the first-generation Apple Pencil, as the entire iPad line moved on from the Lightning port.

The first-generation Apple Pencil works with:

  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad (6th, 7th, 8th and 9th generation)
  • iPad (10th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st and 2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch

Which iPad models support Apple Pencil 2?

Apple Pencil 2

(Image credit: Future / Apple)

Apple Pencil 2 is a massive improvement over what came before, and can magnetically attach to the sides of an iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad, or iPad mini to pair and charge when required.

Apple Pencil 2 is supported by:

  • iPad mini (6th generation)
  • iPad Air (4th generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (all generations)

Which iPad models support Apple Pencil (USB-C)?

Apple Pencil USB-C

(Image credit: Future / Apple)

Released in November 2023, this is more like an Apple Pencil 2.5 — it's very similar to the second-gen device, just with an added USB-C port. There's not much else to say here, other than it also introduces Hover, a feature that allows you to lift the Pencil above an iPad's screen while still interacting with the display. That's a feature solely supported (at the time of writing) by the top-end M2 iPad Pro models.

Apple Pencil with USB-C works with:

  • iPad (10th generation)
  • iPad mini (6th generation)
  • iPad Air (4th generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (all generations)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later)

Picking a pencil

If you're in an Apple Store looking to buy a new Apple Pencil, make sure you're very clear on the iPad you're hoping to pair the stylus with — though the Pencils look similar, there's fragmented support across the range.

The Apple Pencil 2 is by far the most capable model on this list, with a more robust feature set, a better charging system and a comfortable ergonomic finish. It should be your first choice if you can afford its slightly more premium price tag.

You're not wholly tied to Apple's models though — many artists consider the best iPad pens and styluses to be third party models. And there is lots of evidence to point to an Apple Pencil 3 ready to launch over the horizon soon too...

Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use everyday to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64 and Daily Star.

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