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Apple Pencil 1 vs. 2: Which generation suits your iPad better?

NextPit Apple Pencil 1 2
© mokjc /

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Do you need the first or the second generation of the Apple Pencil? This is the question that many iPad users face when they want to draw on their model or are looking for an easier user experience. We compare the two iPad styluses and list all of their respective advantages and disadvantages. In a nutshell, Apple leaves you little choice in 2022.

  Predecessor Successor
Image Apple Pencil 1st Generation Apple Pencil 2nd Generation
Dimensions 174.7 x 8.9 mm 166 x 8.9 mm
Weight 20.7 grams 20.7 grams
Functions Tilt detection, pressure detection Tilt detection, pressure detection
Touch surface No Yes
Battery life approx. 12 hours approx. 12 hours
Charging technology Lightning connector Wireless, with Quick-Charging
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With a stylus for the iPad, Apple contradicted itself in 2015! This is because the Apple Pencil already made it possible to draw precisely on Apple's tablets at that time, proving that people, contrary to Steve Jobs' predictions, do want a stylus as a form of input on touchscreen displays. In 2018, an improved version of the Apple Pencil was released, which was only compatible with a few models at the time.

Fast-forward to 2022, and the landscaped has changed drastically. This is because the first-generation Apple Pencil is only compatible with the basic iPad, which appeared in its ninth generation in 2021. The cheapest model happens to be the only iPad that comes with a Lightning connector port. So the question of which Apple Pencil is right for which iPad is pretty straightforward.

Apple Pencil 1 vs. 2: Which Pencil for what model?

Based on the current iPad lineup, we will show you which particular Apple Pencil is compatible with what model. The compatibility here refers to the full range of functions. Theoretically, you can also write on the display of the basic iPad with the 2nd generation Apple Pencil.

iPad Mini 2021
The 2nd generation Apple Pencil will also stick to the smallest iPad model in 2022. / © NextPit

The main point, however, remains the issue of charging the stylus. While the 1st generation Apple Pencil has a Lightning connector at the bottom and is thus charged by plugging it into the iPad, the Apple Pencil 2 only supports inductive charging. For this, it is magnetically attached to all the more expensive iPads and charges wirelessly. While you can also charge the Apple Pencil 1 via a charging adapter, you cannot make do with anything less than a compatible iPad for the second generation.

Apple Pencil 1 vs. 2: Design differences

In addition to the charging technology, Apple has also changed the design of the stylus. The first generation is circular and consists of three parts - a replaceable tip, the actual Apple Pencil, and a cap that covers the Lightning connector. The Pencil 1 has a smooth surface that measures 174.7 millimeters, is 8.9 millimeters thick and weighs exactly 20.7 grams.

Apple Pencil
The second Apple Pencil is shorter and flattened at the sides. / © mokjc /

The second generation Apple Pencil offers flattened sides and thus, does not roll off tables or pant legs that easily. In comparison, the Pencil 2 has become a bit shorter at 166 millimeters - but the thickness and weight have remained exactly the same. The Apple Pencil 2 also only consists of two parts - the actual pencil and a replaceable tip.

Apple Pencil 1 vs. 2: Functions and technology

Apple has not only changed the charging technology and design in the second generation, but this time around, it even offers touch-sensitive sides which allow you to switch between different functions or even apps with a double tap. Both models do offer tilt and pressure detection, which allows you to draw precisely and using different pressure points on the iPad models. 

Another difference that remains relevant during real-world use is the charging properties of the different Apple Pencils. Both styluses have enough battery life to be used for just under 12 hours without recharging. However, the newer model offers a fast charging feature that allows a full battery charge within 30 minutes.

Apple Pencil 1 vs. 2: Prices and availability

As of February 2022, both Apple Pencil models are available from Apple itself and third-party retailers. The recommended retail prices stand at $89 and $119 for the 1st and 2nd generation Apple Pencils, respectively. However, there is no big price drop for either model. You can hardly make any savings via online retailers when you buy the Apple Pencil when it is on offer.

Apple Pen
The newer Apple Pencil does not have a Lightning connector. / © mokjc /

However, if the official Apple Pencils are too expensive for you, you can always resort to third-party models. In this linked article, we tell you which are the best Apple Pencil alternatives for the iPad.

Conclusion: Which Apple Pencil is the right one for you?

If you are using one of the iPad models that are compatible with the 2nd generation Apple Pencil, you should go for this stylus. It offers a higher ease of use, some technical improvements and also charges at a faster rate so that you can remain productive at a moment's notice. However, you will have to pay an additional $30 to gain those advantages.

In the current lineup, the basic iPad is the only model that you should buy the Apple Pencil 1st Generation. This is because you cannot charge the newer Apple Pencil with this iPad.

What are some of your experiences with the Apple Pencil? Are you satisfied with the improvements made in the successor, or is the additional $30 simply not worth it? Let me know in the comments!

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Benjamin Lucks

Benjamin Lucks
Product Reviewer

Benjamin works as a freelance journalist and is always on the lookout for special features that make new cell phones, headphones and gadgets interesting for the reader. If he doesn't succeed, he comforts himself by writing short stories and using his digital camera.

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