Using Pencil

Table of Contents


Before You Buy Pencil


Compatibility With Older Devices

Pencil’s expressive features, like Palm Rejection, Erase, and Blend, require an iPad with Retina display or iPhone 4S or greater.


Where To Buy Pencil

Pencil is available for sale on Amazon. If you're looking for replacement Pencil tips please email us and we'll send you a complementary tip and eraser set.


Compatibility With Other Apps

In addition to Paper, Pencil can be utilized in other apps whose developers have implemented Pencil support. Check your app developer's website to see if they support Pencil. If Pencil is not supported, it will still work as a passive stylus.

Note that Pencil’s expressive features also only work on iPads with Retina display or iPhone 4S or greater.



Screen Protectors

We do not recommend using a screen protector with Pencil. The rough surface of many screen protectors can dramatically increase wear on Pencil’s rubber tips. Screen protectors may also interfere with your device's ability to detect Pencil touches.




Connecting Pencil

To connect Pencil, find the pairing spot within the compatible app that you are using. 

In Paper 4, tap on the Settings icon (sliders) top right, then "Canvas Settings" > "Stylus Settings" > "Pencil FiftyThree". You'll see the pairing spot on the next screen. 
You can create a shortcut to this pairing spot in your canvas. Tap on the Settings icon (siders) top right, then "Canvas Settings" > "Stylus Settings" and on the next screen toggle on "Pencil Dialog Shortcut”. A button will be added next to the undo/redo buttons in the canvas that will open the FiftyThree Pencil Settings page with the Pairing spot.
In many cases, Pencil will be able to automatically reconnect when you open your app. You’ll know it’s connected because the pairing spot will be white.

Note that Pencil will still work as a passive stylus when not connected. You won’t be able to erase with the eraser or blend with your finger, but you will be able to draw with it like any other non-battery-powered stylus.


Disconnecting Pencil

Pencil will conserve its battery well without having to disconnect it. If you would like to however, just press the tip on the connection point icon in the tray and you will see the white icon become inactive again.

If you connect Pencil to a different device, it will automatically disconnect from any other device it was connected to.


Pencil Connection Issues

Please refer to this article for troubleshooting issues with connecting Pencil.


Turn Off Multitasking Gestures & Accessibility Zoom

If you have Multitasking Gestures or Accessibility Zoom enabled, this will prevent Pencil from operating effectively. Turn off Multitasking Gestures in your iPad Settings, under General. Turn off Accessibility Zoom under General / Accessibility.




Charging Pencil

To charge, pinch Pencil’s rubber tip and pull out the battery pack.

The battery pack can be plugged in to any standard USB port. Your computer probably has USB ports that will work. The charger that came with your iOS device will also work if you remove the cord from the base. The battery can only charge when plugged-in the correct way; in most cases you should be able to insert it with the FiftyThree logo facing up.

While plugged in and charging, you will see an orange light on the battery module. This light will change to green when Pencil is fully charged.

Pencil can charge fully from empty in about 90 minutes. While a full charge will let you work for the longest amount of time, it’s fine to partially charge Pencil and get back to work.

Before using Pencil, make sure the battery module is inserted all the way back into the body. The logo on the battery pack should be on the same side as the logo on the body of Pencil. It will only go all the way back in one way, but it won’t work if it’s not fully inserted back into the body.


Checking Battery Level

Paper 4: Battery level and firmware information will be returning to the FiftyThree Stylus Settings menu in a future release of Paper 4.

Paper 3: You can check the battery level from settings when Pencil is connected. Tap on your profile picture top-left, then on the gear icon, and "Pencil".

You will be able to see an estimate of battery life remaining.

Another rough way to check battery level is to plug the battery module into a USB port. If the charging light is orange, Pencil is not fully charged.


Replacing Tips and Erasers

The tip and eraser of your Pencil are built to be durable. How long they last depends on how hard you push on the screen while drawing, but the durability should be comparable to other stylii you have used. You may prolong Pencil’s tip life by using the broad sides of the tip for filling in large areas with ink and by using a light pressure when drawing with Pencil.

At some point, however, they will need replacing. To replace the tip, remove the battery. With the tip facing towards you, hold the battery still and rotate the tip clockwise 90 degrees. The tip will only rotate in one direction. Insert the new tip and rotate to lock the tip in place.

The eraser should last longer than the tip. We do not recommend that you do the following if you are not intending to replace the eraser, because you might tear the rubber.To replace the eraser, grasp the rubber and peel it off the end. Starting from one end, stretch the new eraser over the metal.

An extra tip and eraser are included in the package with your Pencil.



Magnetic Snap Compatibility

Only the Walnut model of Pencil includes the magnetic snap. It will work well with an authentic Apple Smart Cover on any full-sized iPad. The snap is not as strong on iPad mini covers. On the iPad Air Smart Cover, Pencil will snap on the side with the hinges.

Magnetic snap may work with other brands of covers, but with thousands of different designs and manufacturers, we can’t provide a full list of compatible covers. The magnets in Pencil will generally cling to magnetic or metal surfaces, like a refrigerator. If you have a newer Cinema Display from Apple, you may be able to get Pencil to cling to the front bezel.



Contact Us

If you still need help with Pencil, please contact us directly via

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