My Apple Pencil Won’t Pair To My iPad! Here’s The Fix.

The Apple Pencil has expanded the iPad’s capabilities in many ways. It’s easier than ever to handwrite notes or draw stunning artwork. When your Apple Pencil won’t pair to your iPad, you can miss out on so much of what makes the iPad great. In this article, I’ll explain what to do when your Apple Pencil is not pairing with your iPad!

How To Pair Your Apple Pencil To Your iPad

If you’re a first time Apple Pencil user, you may not know how to pair your Apple Pencil to your iPad. The way to do it varies depending on which generation Apple Pencil you have.

Pair A 1st Generation Apple Pencil To Your iPad

  1. Remove the cap on your Apple Pencil.
  2. Plug the Lightning connector of your Apple Pencil into your iPad’s charging port.

Pair A 2nd Generation Apple Pencil To Your iPad

Attach your Apple Pencil to the magnetic connector on the side of your iPad below the volume buttons.

Make Sure Your Devices Are Compatible

An Apple Pencil sitting on top of an iPad with a blue leather case.

There are two generations of Apple Pencil, and both aren’t compatible with every iPad model. Make sure your Apple Pencil is compatible with your iPad.

iPads Compatible With The 1st Generation Apple Pencil

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

iPads Compatible With The 2nd Generation Apple Pencil

  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st Generation and newer)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd Generation and newer)
  • iPad Air (4th Generation and newer)

Turn Bluetooth Off And Back On

Your iPad uses Bluetooth to pair to your Apple Pencil. Occasionally, small connectivity issues can prevent your Apple Pencil and iPad from pairing. Quickly turning Bluetooth off and back on can sometimes fix the problem.

Open Settings and tap Bluetooth. Tap the switch next to Bluetooth to turn it off. Wait a few seconds, then tap the switch again to turn Bluetooth back on. You’ll know Bluetooth is on when the switch is green.

turn on bluetooth ipad

Restart Your iPad

Similar to turning Bluetooth off and back on, restarting your iPad can fix a minor software problem it may be experiencing. All the programs running on your iPad will shut down naturally and get a fresh start.

Restart An iPad With A Home Button

Press and hold the power button until slide to power off appears on the screen. Swipe the red and white power icon from left to right to shut down your iPad. Wait a few seconds to let your iPad completely turn off. Then, press and hold the power button again to reboot your iPad. Let go of the power button when the Apple logo appears on the center of the screen.

Restart An iPad Without A Home Button

Simultaneously press and hold the Top button and either volume button until slide to power off appears. Swipe the power icon from left to right to turn off your iPad. Wait a few seconds, then press and hold the Top button again until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

slide to power off turn off ipad

Charge Your Apple Pencil

It’s possible your Apple Pencil won’t pair to your iPad because it doesn’t have any battery life. Try charging your Apple Pencil to see if that fixes the problem.

How To Charge A 1st Generation Apple Pencil

Remove the cap on your Apple Pencil to expose the Lightning connector. Plug the Lightning connector into the charging port on your iPad to charge your Apple Pencil.

How To Charge A 2nd Generation Apple Pencil

Attach your Apple Pencil to the magnetic connector on the side of your iPad underneath the volume buttons.

Close The App You’re Using

iPad apps aren’t perfect. Sometimes they crash, which can cause a variety of problems on your iPad. It may be that an app crash is preventing your Apple Pencil from pairing with your iPad, especially if you tried pairing your devices after opening the app.

iPads With A Home Button

Double-press the Home button to open the app switcher. Swipe the app up and off the top of screen to close it. It wouldn’t hurt to close the other apps on your iPad too, just in case one of them has crashed.

ipad app switcher

iPads Without A Home Button

Swipe up from the bottom to the center of the screen and hold your finger there for a second. When the app switcher opens, swipe the app up and off the top of the screen.

Forget Your Apple Pencil As A Bluetooth Device

Your iPad saves information on how to pair to your Apple Pencil when you connect your devices for the first time. If any part of that process has changed, it could be preventing your Apple Pencil from pairing with your iPad. Forgetting your Apple Pencil as a Bluetooth device will give it and your iPad a fresh start when you reconnect them again.

Open Settings on your iPad and tap Bluetooth. Tap the Information button (look for the blue i) to the right of your Apple Pencil, then tap Forget This Device. Tap Forget Device to confirm your decision. Afterwards, try pairing your Apple Pencil to your iPad again.

forget bluetooth device on ipad

Clean Out The iPad Charging Port

This fix is for 1st Generation Apple Pencil users only. If you have a 2nd Generation Apple Pencil, skip down to the next step.

Your Apple Pencil and iPad need to be able to make a clean connection when you go to pair them through the Lightning port. A dirty or clogged Lightning port could be preventing your Apple Pencil from pairing with your iPad. You’d be surprised at how easily lint, dirt, and other debris can get stuck in a charging port!

Grab an anti-static brush or a brand new toothbrush and scrape out any debris lodged in your iPad’s Lightning port. Then, try pairing your devices again.

clean ipad lightning port

Reset Network Settings On Your iPad

Resetting your iPad’s network settings restores all Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Cellular, and VPN settings to factory defaults. This step has the potential to fix a deeper Bluetooth problem your iPad is experiencing. You’ll have to reconnect all of your Bluetooth devices, reenter your Wi-Fi passwords (so write them down!), and reconfigure any virtual private networks you have.

Open Settings and tap General -> Transfer or Reset iPhone -> Reset -> Reset Network Settings. Tap Reset Network Settings again to confirm your decision.

Your iPad will shut down, complete the reset, and turn back on. Try pairing your Apple Pencil to your iPad again.

reset ipad network settings

Contact Apple Support

If none of the steps above have fixed the problem, it’s time to contact Apple support. Apple offers support online, over-the-phone, through the mail, and in-person. Make sure to schedule an appointment if you plan on going into your local Apple Store!

Ready, Set, Pair!

You’ve fixed the problem with your Apple Pencil and it’s connecting to your iPad again. Make sure to share this article on social media to teach your friends, family, and followers what to do when their Apple Pencil won’t pair with their iPad. Leave any other questions you have about your Apple Pencil or iPad in the comments section below!

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