Why is My Apple Pencil Lagging?

If you’ve been noticing lag when using your Apple Pencil with your iPad, you should do something about it.

It can be tempting to put it off, especially if it only happens occasionally – however, this issue can typically be fixed pretty easily. As most of us rely on our Apple Pencil’s precision and responsiveness, ensuring that it doesn’t lag is important.

There could be a few different reasons why your Apple Pencil is having lag issues – let’s go through the most common solutions.

Update Your Devices

Both your iPad and the Apple Pencil itself run firmware that needs updates to maintain optimal performance – every so often, you’ll find that bugs can hinder your device, including causing it to lag.

So, first make sure your iPad is running the latest iPadOS version, and then follow these steps to update your Pencil:

  1. Connect your Pencil to the iPad and let the battery charge for 5+ minutes.
  2. Go to Settings > Pencil and tap the info button next to your Pencil.
  3. Tap “Update Pencil Firmware” if an update is available.

Doing this is simple enough, but outdated software is the most likely cause of lagging issues for Apple users.

Restart Device

In some cases, the problem may not actually lie with your Apple Pencil, but with the iPad you’re using it with.

If you haven’t restarted your iPad in a while, it’s probably a good idea to do so – a full restart will clear out any temporary issues that may be affecting the Pencil’s performance.

You can restart your iPad by holding down the power button until sliders appear, then swipe the restart slider right-to-left.

You can also try reconnecting your Apple Pencil to your iPad too. For the 1st gen Pencil, plug it into the iPad to pair it again.

For the 2nd gen model, remove the cap, hold the flat side on the right side of the iPad for 5-7 seconds to re-establish the connection.

Reduce Latency

If you’ve tried all the above and are still seeing lag, there are a couple iPad settings you can tweak to potentially reduce Pencil latency or delay.

  1. Go to Settings > Pencil and turn “Draw With Lowest Latency” on.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Home Screen & Dock and turn off “Show Pencil Preview.”

Reducing the latency should effectively help to reduce lag, but only if that’s the cause of the issue in the first place.

Check for Damage

In rare cases, your Apple Pencil lagging can be caused by physical damage to the Pencil itself, the iPad screen, or another hardware failure.

For this reason it’s important that you take a look at both devices for any visible damage like cracks, bends, or debris under the screen that could interfere with the Pencil’s function.

Bluetooth Interference

One of the most likely reasons you’re having trouble with your Apple Pencil lagging is because of interference.

We know that the Apple Pencil connects to your iPad via Bluetooth, so anything that interferes with that connection can cause performance problems like input lag.

This includes things like nearby Bluetooth devices and wireless speakers. It’s important to ensure that there’s nothing nearby that could stop your Apple Pencil from working properly.

Deteriorating Battery Health

Over time, all of your Apple devices will lose battery capacity, as is the nature of electronic devices that run on batteries – this includes your Apple Pencil.

If you’ve had your Apple Pencil for a long time, you may notice the battery runs down faster than it should. And when your Apple Pencil is running low on battery, it’s more likely to start lagging.

Make sure your Apple Pencil still has decent battery life – a Pencil running on low battery can drain faster and exhibit performance problems. So, make sure that you plug it into your iPad for a full charge before troubleshooting any other potential lag issues.

The Apple Pencil is pretty expensive, so some users expect that it’ll never have issues. However, pretty much every electronic device will have problems at some point, and Apple’s range is no different.

All in all though, the Apple Pencil is a great tool when working properly, so it’s worth taking a few minutes to get it running smoothly on your iPad again.



Full-time writer, Apple fanboy and macOS supremacist. Currently running: 16" Macbook Pro w/ 64GB RAM & M1 Max. Already wants to upgrade to the M3 😫😭

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