Unlocking Apple Pencil Gestures

Leather sleeve for Apple Pencil 2

The Apple Pencil transforms your iPad experience by offering intuitive gestures that enhance drawing, writing, and navigation. This guide focuses on setting up and effectively using these gestures, along with tips and tricks to maximize your productivity and creativity.

Activating Double-Tap (2nd Generation Only)

To customize the double-tap gesture:

  1. Go to Settings > Apple Pencil on your iPad.
  2. Choose the action you prefer for the double-tap gesture:
  • Switch between current tool and eraser
  • Switch between current tool and last used
  • Show color palette
  • Turn off the gesture

Using Apple Pencil Gestures


Quickly switch tools or access the color palette in supported apps. This gesture is ideal for artists and note-takers who frequently switch between drawing and erasing or need to change colors swiftly.

Tips and Tricks

  • Experiment with different double-tap settings to find what best suits your workflow.
  • Practice the double-tap gesture to ensure you're not accidentally triggering it while drawing or writing.


Write in any text field, and your handwriting will be converted to text. Scribble also supports gestures for editing text, such as scratching out words to delete them or circling text to select it.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use Scribble for quick searches in Safari or when filling out forms.
  • Practice writing clearly to improve text conversion accuracy.
  • Utilize text manipulation gestures to streamline editing without needing to switch to the keyboard.

Hover (Supported on Newer iPad Models)

Preview your tool's effect before making contact with the screen. This feature is particularly useful in drawing apps for placing strokes precisely.

Tips and Tricks

  • Hover over buttons and links to preview interactions without making a selection.
  • Use hover to plan the placement of your strokes or text in drawing and note-taking apps for increased accuracy.

Advanced Tips for Apple Pencil Gestures

Customizing for Efficiency

  • Adjust the double-tap sensitivity if you find yourself accidentally activating it or if it’s not registering your taps consistently. This setting is available under Settings > Apple Pencil.

Training Muscle Memory

  • Consistent use of gestures will help develop muscle memory, making their use more intuitive over time. Practice using the double-tap and hover gestures as part of your regular iPad usage to increase efficiency.

Integrating with Apps

  • Explore how different apps utilize Apple Pencil gestures. Some apps may offer unique gesture controls beyond the standard settings, enhancing your interaction with the app.

Accessibility Features

  • Users with accessibility needs can customize gestures to minimize physical interaction. Explore the Accessibility section in Settings to find configurations that might benefit your use case.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  • Gesture Not Recognized
    Ensure your iPad's software is up to date, as gesture recognition can improve with updates.

  • Double-Tap Sensitivity
    If the double-tap gesture activates too easily or not at all, adjust the sensitivity in the Apple Pencil settings.

  • Hover Not Working
    Verify that your iPad model supports the hover feature and that it's enabled in Settings > Apple Pencil.


Using and Replacing Apple Pencil Tips
Apple Pencil 3
Apple Pencil and iPhone Compatibility
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