Why Won’t My Apple Pencil Connect?

The Apple Pencil is almost a necessity these days, as you can’t have the proper the iPad experience without having the added ability of precise writing and drawing that’s afforded to you by Apple’s own stylus.

However, there’s nothing more frustrating than running into issues where the Pencil doesn’t seem to be working properly. Here’s what to do if your Apple Pencil won’t connect to your iPad.

Check Your Apple Pencil Battery

One of the first things to check is the battery level of your Apple Pencil.

Both the first generation model that charges through the iPad’s Lightning port and the second gen model that charges wirelessly, need sufficient battery to pair and stay connected.

Try charging your Pencil for at least 30 minutes before attempting to reconnect. For the first gen Pencil, make sure the cap is tightly secured when charging.

Fix Bluetooth Connection Problem

The Apple Pencil uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with your iPad. So if Bluetooth is disabled or having issues, your Pencil won’t be able to connect.

Go to Settings > Bluetooth and ensure the Bluetooth toggle is switched on. You can also try disconnecting and reconnecting the Pencil by tapping the “i” button next to its listing in Bluetooth settings.

Run a Software Update

Outdated software can sometimes lead to Apple Pencil connectivity problems. Make sure you’ve updated to the newest iPadOS version that’s compatible with your iPad.

Going to Settings > General > Software Update will show you if any updates are available. It’s also wise to check for any available firmware updates for your specific Apple Pencil model.

Clean Your Device’s Ports

This is most likely to occur with the Lightning connector on your first gen Pencil, or the magnetic connector on the second gen model – be sure to clear out any debris from these ports.

Plus, it’s also worth thinking about the corresponding ports on your iPad, as they also need to be clean and free of obstructions. Problems with these connection points may require servicing from Apple.

Reduce Proximity Between Pencil and iPad

The Apple Pencil will only pair when it’s in close proximity to the iPad, and if they’re too far apart from each other, you can have issues with the ApplePencil not connecting.

This is a limitation of the Apple Pencil, so make sure you keep your iPad and Pencil nice and close while attempting the reconnection process.

Try a Reset or Reconnect

If you’ve tried all the basic troubleshooting tips and your Apple Pencil still won’t connect, you can force your iPad to forget the Pencil by going to Settings > Bluetooth, tapping the “i” icon next to the Pencil’s name, and selecting “Forget This Device.”

After doing this, you’ll need to completely re-pair the Pencil with your iPad. Another option is restoring your iPad to its factory settings by going to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPad > Erase All Content and Settings.

This will wipe your iPad clean, allowing you to set it up from scratch with, hopefully, a newly cooperating Apple Pencil. As always, make sure to backup your iPad before taking this step.

Think About Potential Hardware Issues

Unfortunately, hardware issues on either the iPad or Pencil side can sabotage their communication.

Try connecting your Pencil to another iPad (if you have access to one) to rule out an issue with your specific tablet. If it works fine with the other iPad, the problem lies with your device.

However, if the Pencil exhibits the same issues across multiple iPads, it could indicate a problem with the Pencil itself, such as a faulty digitizer, Bluetooth chip, or battery.

In this scenario, your only real option is to get in touch with Apple support to see what the issue is and whether it can be fixed.

The Apple Pencil is a great tool and it’s connectivity is usually great, but if you do have issues with it, make sure to run through this list to get things resolved. And if all everything above fails, a trip to the Apple Store’s Genius Bar may reveal a hardware issue in need of replacement.



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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