Just about everything electronic requires firmware — Apple’s iPad stylus is no exception. With software comes updates, and there’s new one for the recently released version of the Apple Pencil with a USB-C port.
Here’s how to check what firmware version your Apple Pencil is currently running, and a suggestion on how to get the new update.
Get your Apple Pencil firmware update
Apple Pencil isn’t required to use an iPad, but the stylus is great for handwriting text or sketching. And the exceptionally talented even use one to create great art on the tablet.
But unlike the trusty old No. 2 pencil you pushed as a kid, the iPad version needs software to function.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know what’s changed because Apple doesn’t make release notes available for this type of update. It doesn’t even announce them. The news trickles out.
The new software is only for the just-arrived USB-C version of the stylus. It doesn’t apply to Apple Pencil 2 or the first-gen model.
Connect to get the new version
It’s not possible to manually start a firmware update on an Apple Pencil. All you can do is connect the stylus to the iPad with a USB-C cable and wait.
And even that’s only a recommendation. It’s possible the Pencil will get an update from the tablet via Bluetooth. But a physical connection seems more prudent.
Nothing is going to happen if you don’t have the accessory Bluetooth paired with your tablet. If you haven’t done that, what are you waiting for?
Perhaps the best strategy is to connect the stylus to the iPad overnight to give plenty of time for the exchange to happen.
How to check on Apple Pencil firmware updates
Apple Pencil users can at least easily find out if they have the latest firmware.
Start by opening the Settings app, then going to General -> About.
Scroll down to find an entry for Apple Pencil. If it’s not there (just below SEID) double check that the stylus is connected to the iPad via Bluetooth.
Tap on that Apple Pencil entry to open a screen that lists, among other details, the firmware version.