It’s easy to get confused when you’re wondering which iPad generation supports Apple Pencil. The first Apple Pencil was released in November 2015 and there are a range of iPads that support it.
A second generation Apple Pencil was released at the end of 2018. Interestingly, Apple didn’t discontinue the first Apple Pencil, so there are certain iPads out there that work with Apple Pencil 1, and certain model iPads that work with Apple Pencil 2.
All iPads that are bought NEW in a store today work with either Apple Pencil 1 OR Apple Pencil 2.
This applies to iPad Mini, iPad, iPad Air and iPad Pro.
If you’re buying used or from a site like eBay, look at the list I made at the bottom of this article to determine if it’ll work with an Apple Pencil, and if so which one.
Oh and they aren’t interchangeable, so an iPad that’s compatible with Apple Pencil 1 won’t be compatible with Apple Pencil 2 (and the other way around).
You have lots of choice, but you’ve gotta be sure the model iPad you buy will work for the Apple Pencil you want to use. It would be a huge bummer to get an iPad and an Apple Pencil and have them not work together.
BUT Don’t worry!
This won’t happen to you because you’re here reading this.
Check out my research to find out which iPad generations support Apple Pencil.
Let’s check out your options…
Apple Pencil 1 Compatibility
Apple Pencil 1 works with these iPad generations:
iPad Mini – 5th Generation (2019)
iPad – 6th (2018), 7th (2019) & 8th generation (2020)
iPad Air – 3rd (2019), 4th (2020) generation
iPad Pro – 9.7″ (2016), 10.5″ (2017) and 12.9″ 1st (2016) + 2nd generation (2017)
Apple Pencil 2 Compatibility
Apple Pencil 2 works with these iPad generations:
iPad Air 4th Generation
iPad Pro 11″ (2nd Generation 2019 + Newer)
iPad Pro 12.9″ (3rd Generation 2018 + Newer)
What’s the difference between Apple Pencil 1 and Apple Pencil 2?
The biggest difference is how the Pencils are charged, stored and the range of iPads each pencil is compatible with.
Apple Pencil 1 charges using a lightning connector at the top that plugs directly into the iPad’s charging port. There’s nowhere to keep Apple Pencil actually onboard the iPad until you need it again.
Apple Pencil 1st Generation
Apple Pencil 2nd Generation
Apple Pencil 2 charges wirelessly and docks on the side of the iPad with magnets.
Drawing and note taking wise, they’re the same. They both offer pressure sensitivity that mimics a real pencil, tilt and rotation detection.
Does An iPad That Supports Apple Pencil 1 Also Support Apple Pencil 2?
Nope. If an iPad is compatible with Apple Pencil 1, you won’t be able to use an Apple Pencil 2 with it. This also works the other way – an iPad compatible with Apple Pencil 2 won’t be compatible with Apple Pencil 1.
How Do I Know Which Generation iPad I Have?
If you already have an iPad and need to identify which Apple Pencil is compatible you’ll need to find out what model your current iPad is.
First you’ll need to find the model number.
Option 1 – Look On The Back Of Your iPad
Take your iPad out of it’s case if it has one and look on the back of it, at the bottom. You’ll see Model XXXXX like this:
Option 2 – Look At Your iPad’s Settings
You can find the model number of your iPad by following these steps:
- Tap Settings
- Tap About
- Look for the model number in the top section and tap it once
You’ll see the model number appear, like A2378.
Next, use the table below and lookup your model number. You can find the generation of your iPad and see which Apple Pencils are compatible.
|iPad Pro 12.9-inch 5th generation (2021)|
|iPad Pro 12.9-inch 4th generation (2020)|
|iPad Pro 12.9-inch 3rd generation (2018)|
|iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2nd generation (2017)|
|iPad Pro 12.9-inch 1st generation (2015)|
|iPad Pro 11-inch 3rd generation (2021)|
|iPad Pro 11-inch 2nd generation (2020)|
|iPad Pro 11-inch 1st generation (2018)|
|iPad Pro 10.5-inch (2017)|
|iPad Pro 9.7-inch (2016)|
|iPad Air 4 (2020)|
|iPad Air 3 (2019)|
|iPad Air 2 (2014)|
|iPad Air (2013)|
|iPad mini 5 (2019)|
|iPad mini 4 (2015)|
|iPad mini 3 (2014)|
|iPad mini 2 (2013)|
|iPad mini (2012)|
|iPad 8th generation (2020)|
|iPad 7th generation (2019)|
|iPad 6th generation (2018)|
|iPad 5th generation (2017)|
|iPad 4th generation (2012)|
|iPad 3rd generation (2012)|
|iPad 2nd generation (2011)|
|iPad 1st generation (2010)|
This list should have helped you figure out which iPad generation supports Apple pencil. It can be confusing at first, especially if you’re looking to purchase an iPad used or second hand as there are still models that don’t support an Apple Pencil at all.
If you are shopping new, all of the iPads in the stores are compatible with either an Apple Pencil 1st generation or Apple Pencil 2nd generation.
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