Apple Pencil 1 vs Apple Pencil 2: What Are the Differences?

Last Updated on May 15, 2023 by Ernests Embutnieks

Both of the Pencils differ quite a bit in the overall build. While the Apple Pencil 1 is circular, the Apple Pencil 2 has a flat edge, resembling more like a wooden pencil. Apart from that, the availability of magnetic caps that aid wireless charging and flexible storage puts the successors( 2nd Apple Pencil) on a list separate from the predecessor.

iPad owners often find themselves struggling with the question, should I get the Apple Pencil 1 or Apple Pencil 2? Both of these pencils have exceptional build qualities. They are great for digital sketching and note-taking.

So what would be the best choice, 2015 released Apple Pencil (which is still available) or the Apple Pencil 2 that came out in 2018? Luckily, there are crucial elements that distinguish one from the other. Read along and make the most efficient decision as we uncover the main differences between the two Apple styluses.

Key Differences Between 1st gen Apple Pencil & 2nd gen

1st gen
Apple Pencil 1
2nd gen
Apple Pencil 2
8.9 mm
8.9 mm
Magnetic Caps
Magnetic Caps
Hard and durable
Hard and durable
Pressure Sensitivity
Pressure Sensitivity
Double Tap(Touch Sensitive)
Double Tap(Touch Sensitive)
Switching tools
iPad (9th generation) iPad (8th generation), iPad Mini (5th generation), iPad (7th generation), iPad (6th generation), iPad Air (3rd generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st or 2nd generation), iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad Pro 9.7-inch
iPad Mini (6th generation), iPad Air (4th generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation), and later.

Related: Apple Pencil Alternatives

The key differences between these two pencils are compatibilityadditional gestures(double-tapping, touch-sensitive), which is only available for the 2nd generation pencil, you can switch between erased and your drawing tool with a double-tap on your pen, which makes you a bit more productive and another important difference – charging. To charge 1st gen pencil, you have to plug it into your iPad, but the 2nd gen pencil, you can just attach it to your iPad and it will start charging. You might think that’s not a big deal, but if your iPad is charging and you have to charge your apple pencil – you can’t do it. Small difference, but an important one in our opinion and of course – design. In our view – 2nd gen pencil is more ergonomic and fits better in your hand. Both of the Pencils have palm rejection.


Let’s start by checking to what extent these two Apple Pencils differ when we put their respective designs under the trial. Being 8.9 mm thick, both the Pencil look pretty similar; however, the second-gen stylus features a flag edge while the same is circular in the former.

The first-generation Apple Pencil shelters a lustrous plastic finish. On the contrary, Apple Pencil 2 feels more like a usual wooden pencil thanks to the matte finish that runs all over.


Offering a flat-edge build, the Apple Pencil 2 straight away resolves the rolling-down-the-slope issue that some first-generation Apple Pencil users had to complain about. Apart from that, both have great ergonomics in their own right.

Weighing 20.7g and scaling to 8.9 mm in diameter, you’ll have a good experience using any of the styluses, even for long periods. The overall built is so well executed from grip to thickness that using Apple Pencil and Apple Pencil 2 feels like any other pencil we write on paper.

Apple Pencil Tip‘s

The tip of both the Apple Pencils is indistinguishable in many ways. Whether you consider the Apple Pencil 1 or the Apple Pencil 2, the tip in each case is fairly hard. In other words, either of the styluses taps firmly on the iPad’s screen. The hard-built of the tip also corresponds to its durable nature.

However, an interesting factor distinguishes the first-generation Apple Pencil from the second-gen ones, even when the “tip” is considered. The Apple Pencil 1 comes with a replacement tip inside the box, while sadly, the same doesn’t happen for Apple Pencil 2. Although you need to spend just around $20 to grab a pack of 4, the approach feels a bit cheap from Apple’s end.

And don’t worry, neither the 1st gen Apple pencil nor 2nd gen won’t scratch your screen.


Storage is one section where the second-generation Apple Pencil seems to own an edge over its predecessor. Considering the fact that Apple Pencil 2 magnetically gets attached to the iPad Pro, it is obvious to find it more promising. At the same time, Apple Pencil 1 is deprived of any storage solution, at least from the official end.

I insisted on the term official because there are covers capable of attaching the first-gen Apple Pencil. Also, there exist iPad sleeves that let users store their styluses.

Pressure Sensitivity and Tilt Sensitivity

In case you don’t know, the term pressure sensitivity signifies the extent to which a stylus is capable of responding to the pressure applied. In simple words, it is the ability of any stylus to decide how thick or thin the lines are to be drawn on the basis of the force applied to it.

Tilt Sensitivity, on the other hand, refers to a stylus’s capability to perceive the angle over the surface being operated on. Simply, it is the mastery of determining tilt angles. Now that you have a good idea about pressure and tilt sensitivity, let’s uncover if these factors differ in Apple Pencil 1 and Apple Pencil 2.

Does Apple Pencil 1st gen & 2nd gen Have Different Pressure Sensitivity?

Annoyingly, Apple hasn’t really explicitly talked about the difference in pressure or tilt sensitivity for either of the models. From my testing, there seems to be no difference whatsoever. This conjunction lines up with a hypothesis that most others have also mentioned on various forums.

However, there’s a stark difference between Pencil 1 and Pencil 2 that most people tend to forget. You can use the Apple iPad Pro, which comes in 120 Hz for the Apple Pencil 2, which is not the case for the Apple Pencil 1. So, while they might have the same internals, you will come in with different performance metrics simply because of the difference in screen refresh rate.

However, obviously, this isn’t really isn’t an issue from the Apple Pencil’s end but is rather a sign that the Pencil 2 provides users with the ability to get a more responsive outlook off their stylus.

key differences between apple pencil 1 vs apple pencil 2


The Double Tap

Among the things that mark the generation switch between Apple Pencils, the support for the movement and quick switches is worth mentioning. The Apple Pencil 2 features a double-tap functionality, one you’ll not find with the original Apple Pencil. What this feature does is help users swap between different tools, simply tapping the stylus twice.

The same feature can be employed in many situations that include taking notes, operating programs such as Adobe Photoshop, and more. You can also use the double-tap feature in audio editing software, like linking a series of actions together. The possibilities are endless, however, exclusive for the users of the second-generation Apple Pencil.


The storage factor, to some extent, reflects how the Apple Pencil 2 outruns the first-generation Apple Pencil in the charging department. The magnetic nature that I’ve discussed in the previous section not only helps store the stylus but also allows wireless charging.

The story gets a bit annoying for the original Apple Pencil. With the first-gen stylus, you only get to employ the traditional form of charging. It is fine, to be honest, until you are diligent about plugging it on a regular basis, but the same can get really pesky else-wise. Luckily, it charges quick enough at 15 minutes for a full charge to counter your woes.


Both the Apple Pencil 1 and Apple Pencil claim to run for about 12 hours. From the tests that I’ve done, the measurements were spot-on with the claims, which is quite an uncommon feat. However, I would still prefer the Apple Pencil 2’s battery over the Apple Pencil 1.

Why? Well, the Apple Pencil 1 requires it to be charged with a lightning connector which can be fairly inconvenient. On the other hand, the Apple Pencil 2 is charged magnetically, which means that you can still keep your iPad plugged in a while also charging your pencil.

In terms of charging speed, both are identical. In essence, about a minute of charging yields an hour of use on both Apple Pencils. This takes the metric down to about 15 minutes for a full charge on both pencils, which is quite a reasonable estimate.

One point to note, though, is that using an adapter on the Apple Pencil 1 instead of charging directly leads to a significantly reduced charging speed of about 60 minutes for a full charge.


Apple Pencil 1 Compatibility: 

ModelRelease DateApple Pencil 1 Compatibility:
iPad Pro 9.7-inch (1st gen)November 11, 2015Yes
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st gen)November 11, 2015Yes
iPad Pro 10.5-inch (2nd gen)June 13, 2017Yes
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd gen)June 13, 2017Yes
iPad (6th gen)March 27, 2018Yes
iPad Air (3rd gen)March 18, 2019Yes
iPad Mini (5th gen)March 18, 2019Yes
iPad (7th gen)September 25, 2019Yes
iPad (8th gen)September 15, 2020Yes
iPad (9th gen)September 14, 2021Yes
iPad (10th gen)October 26, 2022Yes

Still, the latest iPad model(10th gen) is compatible with Apple Pencil 1.

Apple Pencil 2 Compatibility:

ModelRelease DateApple Pencil 2 Compatibility:
iPad Pro 11-inch (1st gen)November 7, 2018Yes
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd gen)November 7, 2018Yes
iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd gen)March 25, 2020Yes
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th gen)March 25, 2020Yes
iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd gen)May 24, 2021Yes
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th gen)May 24, 2021Yes
iPad Air (4th gen)October 23, 2020Yes
iPad Air (5th gen)March 18, 2022Yes
iPad Mini (6th gen)September 24, 2021Yes
iPad Pro 11-inch (4th gen)October 26, 2022Yes
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th gen)October 26, 2022Yes


Having already discussed a number of factors that make the first-generation Apple Pencil and the second-generation Apple Pencil sit on two distinct boxes, let’s see how things work when it’s about spending money out of your pocket.

A jump in generations was made clear right when the Apple Pencil 2 was named. For that matter of fact, anticipating a price hike is pretty evident. The original Apple Pencil costs $99. The number sees a 30% increment as the second-generation Apple Pencil is available for $129.

From what we’ve seen, there seem to be no wide-range discounts for the Apple Pencil for both the first and second generation. So, as of yet, there seems to be no price difference regardless of where you end up purchasing our new Apple Pencil other than opting for a second-hand option, of course.

How do you know if Apple Pencil is charging/charged or not?

Apple Pencil 1:

To charge your Apple Pencil 1, all that you’ll need to do is plug it in directly to the Lightning connector onto the Pad. Alternatively, you can use the Apple Pencil charging adapter that comes inside the box. Once you plug in the connections, charging should initiate right away; however, you can confirm it by following the steps below. It will also help you check if the Apple Pencil is completely charged. 

  • Step 1: Connect the lightning cable to the Apple Pencil onto your iPad
  • Step 2: Launch Settings
  • Step 3: Scroll your way down and select the option that says Apple Pencil.
  • Step 4: Look for a battery icon. When it is green with a lightning bolt symbol, it indicates that it is the charging mode, while if it sticks to gray, it implies that it isn’t charging.

Apple Pencil 2:

As soon as you attach the second-generation Apple Pencil to your iPad, the charging status gets displayed on the screen for a moment. Now to check how much charge your Apple Pencil is left with or is it entirely charged, simply check the Today View feature on your iPad. Doing it is pretty straightforward. Just swipe from the left end to the right on the Home screen or your Lock screen.

Conclusion: Should You Get 1st Gen or 2nd Gen?

In our objective opinion, they are very similar, and it all comes down to compatibility, but we would recommend getting the 2nd gen Pen, just for compatibility reasons alone. If you change/switch your iPad to a newer version, there’s a bigger chance that it will be compatible with the new device.

Of course, the charging is better & the double-tap feature helps as well. And after doing some note-taking, the 2nd gen pencil just felt much better adjusted for your plan from an ergonomic perspective.

Eventually, 1st gen pencil will go obsolete. Just a matter of time, so it just makes more sense to go after 2nd gen. New is always better, as some people say.


Are Apple Pencil 1 and Apple Pencil 2 Tips The Same?

Yes, the Apple Pencil 1 and Apple Pencil 2 tips are the same. You can remove one tip from the other and insert it onto the next with no issues whatsoever.

What Apple Pencil works with Procreate?

Procreate app supports both generation Apple Pencils (1st gen & 2nd gen). If your pencil is paired with your iPad you shouldn’t have any issues using it with the app. There are no extra steps to take.

What other tablets are compatible with Apple Pencil?

The Apple Pencil strictly functions with iPads only. The build is such that it requires a special set of hardware that won’t connect otherwise. If you’re looking for a stylus that works with all the iPads and other tablets we suggest looking at some alternative stylus. 

Can I use Apple Pencil with iPhone?

As already mentioned, Apple Pencils are designed to work with specific hardware sets that are found in iPads. Having said that, it is not possible to use an Apple Pencil with any model of iPhone that is available to date or any other smartphone. 

Does Apple Pencil reduce Battery Life?

No, an Apple Pencil does not have a tangible effect on your battery life. In most cases, if your battery life is being drained, it is due to some other issue. This is because the Apple Pencil does not take up much charge in the first placed.

Will a Samsung Stylus work on an iPad?

No, the Samsung S Pen won’t work with any iPads. It’s Samsung technology. Your iPad(iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad Mini) won’t be able to recognize the device. But of course, there are Apple Pencil alternatives that would work with iPad.

Related Articles:

How To Fix Apple Pencil If It Keeps Disconnecting
Best Tablets with Stylus For Note-Taking
4 Best iPads For Procreate & 1 to Avoid
How To Pair Apple Pencil with iPad
Best Tablets for Adobe Illustrator
7 Reasons To Buy Apple Pencil
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I love tech and all about it. I'm interested in finding ways how they can make my life more productive, and I share my knowledge with my blog readers. I'm an iPad Pro, iPhone, MacBook, and Apple Watch user, so I know a thing or two about these devices and try to write helpful content around these topics.