Not obvious Apple Pencil uses

I have an old broken ipad Air 2. It still works but it has a cracked screen and battery issues. But to consume some videos and reading at night and in the morning, it does the trick.

In the past, I have played with an iPad Pro but couldn’t justify it. I have the latest 16" MBP and since I am not going many places these days and probably not in the foreseeable future, I’m always a handful of steps from my laptop. So most movie and tv watching would always be preferable on that especially since the speakers are so good.

So I see any upgrade to a new iPad (possibly the new Air) is based on what I can do on the iPad better/easier than my laptop (which I will always be most comfortable on). And to me, the big differentiator is the Apple Pencil.

Outside of notes apps and filling out pdfs, what are some of the lesser known reasons people use the pencil for? I feel like editing photos is a big obvious one. I don’t take photos like I used to but if I did, that would probably be only reason I would need.

I don’t sketch so doing any kind of artwork doesn’t matter to me unless I’m discounting something there.


I have the Apple pencil for the sole reason of handwriting in Notes. bit pricey but works well. Don’t really have any other use cases for it.

I would recommend sticking with the laptop. Your MBP probably already cost a load of $$$ and if you don’t see a reason for the iPad, don’t get one. I don’t think you’re really missing out on anything.


I wouldn’t buy an iPad/Pencil solely for this feature: but Scribble and other Pencil features on iOS/iPadOS14 are very nice.

Doing More with Apple Pencil and Handwritten Notes

iPadOS 14 brings Scribble to iPad with Apple Pencil, allowing users to write in any text field — where it will automatically be converted to typed text — making actions like replying to an iMessage or searching in Safari fast and easy. All handwriting and conversion to text happens on device, keeping it private and secure. When taking notes, Smart Selection uses on-device machine learning to distinguish handwriting from drawings, so handwritten text can easily be selected, cut, and pasted into another document as typed text. Shape recognition allows users to draw shapes that are made geometrically perfect and snap right into place when adding useful diagrams and illustrations in Notes.


I have a version 1 Apple Pencil. I don’t use it much unless making notes in a lecture in Goodnotes, and of course it is always out of charge. However it is very good for reaching the middle of your back if you get an itch :slight_smile:


Oh yes.

20 characters


Yeah, that scribble is pretty cool.

Precision editing, as demonstrated in GarageBand by iPhonedo -

I used to think similar thoughts … but then I stumbled across a hugely useful way of using the pencil to make my online presentations far better.

I draw on the slides, as I present them. Sometimes it’s just me underlining words, sometimes it’s drawing (very badly), sometimes it’s filling out partially drawn graphs.

People tell me that the movement keeps them engaged with the talk.

My setup: I use zoom on my macbook pro 16, and airply my ipad screen to the macbook which is shared with the other participants (this is a very useful built-in feature of zoom).

I learned the gist of this from Dan Roam, author of Back of the Napkin.


I use mine to scroll web pages…I find it more comfortable than using my finger, haha. Same for highlighting articles and books. And to take notes in Notes and GoodNotes of course!

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I use it with GoodNotes as a whiteboard during video conference calls. It is a complete gamechanger.

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Can you elaborate on this? What is on your iPad that you are sending to the Mac to screen share, and how are air playing it to the Mac? I do what @sandlmom does, mirroring Goodnotes via the AirServer app then sharing the AirServer window via Zoom. Tell me more :slight_smile:

I use my pencil for notes in GoodNotes. They can be anytign from screen designs, UI interfaces, freezer contents maps, flowcharts and pseudo code etc. I also use the pencil to highlight PDFs that are part of some research I am doing, to draw with and even to type using the on-screen keyboard. I’m faster hitting letters on the keyboard with the pencil than I am at trying to type on the screen. The PDF annotation is one of the really nice things esp. now that I’m figuring out ways to extract the annotations and save them in a systme with lots of links to related stuff.

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In Zoom there are to built-in options to share your iPad’s screen: one via a usb connection and one via an airplay connection. With the usb connection it does standard screen mirroring, and zoom shares that. With the airplay connection it does a mix of standard screen sharing but, with keynote, when you hit play on the iPad it plays the presentation and leaves keynote in presenter view (just like it would if you airplay the slides to an appletv). You can draw on the slides. You can also flip into notability or goodnotes and draw there if you like. A mix is good.

I used I discovered a couple of weeks ago t

Scribble is very nice! I wrote this response in Fig using it.

I’ve also tried making a note in the Kindle app using Scribble.

It works well. I can write notes faster longhand than I can with the on-screen keyboard.


I edit audio on Ferrite for podcast and other recordings. I also like to convert my writings to PDF, then sit back and edit/annotate with Apple Pencil on PFD Expert. I like how I can track the changes I made and it actually better for editing workflow as I can look at my writings objectively.

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Got it. I missed the fact that you were running the deck from Keynote on your iPad, not your on your Mac.

This is a great tip. Thanks!

Not obvious Apple Pencil uses (wrong answers only): Chopsticks, drumsticks, sharpen to use as a dart, tent spike, climbing piton.


I do similar- make slide deck pdf then present with pencil. I screencast using reflector teacher on my MacBook running zoom on the MBP or driving a projector with it.

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Coloring is one of the most calming activities you can do! And the Apple Pencil glides just beautifully. You don’t need to get a fancy app, although mandalas are not necessarily expensive and come out nicely. Otherwise just head over to Pinterest for as much detail and subject matter to color as you so desire.


Doing similar with good notes and reflector teacher. I run the zoom or drive the projector with my iMac or MacBook and can walk around when in person.