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How to tell when your Apple Pencil tip should be changed, and how to change it

William Antonelli   

How to tell when your Apple Pencil tip should be changed, and how to change it
  • You should change your Apple Pencil's tip if it starts to feel rough, uneven, or unresponsive.
  • If you need to press hard on your iPad to use the Apple Pencil, the tip is probably worn down.
  • You can change your Apple Pencil's tip by gently unscrewing it.

When you first use an Apple Pencil, it might seem even smoother than a real pen. But like most gadgets, it's not built to last forever. Its tip can get worn down pretty quickly, turning that smooth glide into a chunky drag.

Luckily, Apple sells replacement Pencil tips, and they're pretty easy to switch out. But how can you tell when it's time to buy a new tip for your Apple Pencil?

Here are three telltale signs that signal you need to change your Apple Pencil's tip, along with a quick guide on how to do it.

How to tell when to change your Apple Pencil tip

It looks and feels jagged

A new Apple Pencil tip should be totally smooth. But as you draw or write with it, even if you're not pressing hard, it'll get worn down.

If your Apple Pencil's tip has jagged and sharp edges or an irregular shape — or in extreme cases, you can see the metal inside — it's probably time for a replacement. If you keep using the Pencil while it's in this state, you'll risk scratching up your iPad's screen.

Quick tip: Using your Apple Pencil on a screen protector, especially a matte one, will wear the tip out faster.

Your iPad won't respond to it

Do you find yourself needing to tap your iPad's screen multiple times before you get a response? When you're drawing, do your lines have holes in them? If so, there's probably an issue with your Pencil tip.

When your Apple Pencil's tip is faulty, your iPad's screen will have trouble sensing it. This means that you'll need to press harder and tap more, and still won't always get a response.

If your iPad consistently misses touch inputs from the Pencil, replace the tip.

Quick tip: This assumes that your Pencil and iPad can still pair and connect. If your iPad and Apple Pencil won't even connect, then there's likely an issue with the entire Pencil, not just the tip.

You've used your Apple Pencil for a long time without replacing the tip

There's no set amount of time that it takes to wear out an Apple Pencil. If you barely ever use your Pencil, the tip might last for years; if you're a Procreate whiz who draws every day, it might not make it six months.

But in general, the average Apple Pencil user should replace the tip at least once every two years. This is more than enough time to wear down a Pencil tip. Even if your current Pencil tip doesn't look worn out, consider changing it anyway — you'll be saving yourself headaches in the future.

How to change your Apple Pencil tip

You can buy new Apple Pencil tips from a variety of sites online. Apple sells a four-pack of their own official replacements — they're compatible with both versions of the Pencil.

To take off your Apple Pencil's current tip, squeeze it between two fingers and turn it counterclockwise to unscrew it. It should come off within seconds.

Once it's off, place your new Pencil tip on the metal prong and screw it clockwise until it's tight. Once it stops turning easily, you can let go.


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