Bummer! New iPads won’t work with old Apple Pencil.


iPad comparison with Apple Pencil Support
Comparing Apple Pencil support on new M4 iPad Pro and M2 iPad Air with an older iPad Pro (3rd Generation)
Screenshot: Apple.com

When Apple unveiled the Apple Pencil Pro during Tuesday’s “Let Loose” event, the company seemingly bid adieu to the second-generation Apple Pencil. An Apple tool reveals that unspecified Apple Pencil 2 compatibility issues mean the older stylus won’t work with 2024 iPad Pro and iPad Air models.

So, if you’re an artist buying a new iPad, or someone who takes lots of handwritten notes, you probably need to budget an extra $129 for a new Apple Pencil Pro.

Apple Pencil 2 compatibility: Stylus doesn’t work with 2024 iPads

According to Apple’s device comparison tool, the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models are only compatible with the new Apple Pencil Pro and the budget Apple Pencil (USB-C). By comparison, previous iPad Pro models (11-inch tablets gen 1 through 4 and 12.9-inch tablets gen 3 through 6) and iPad Air models (gen 4 and 5) are shown as compatible with Apple Pencil (second gen) and the USB-C Apple Pencil.

Ultimately, this means that on top of the hefty price tag for getting a new iPad Pro or Air, you’ll potentially need to drop either $79 or $129, depending on which Apple Pencil model you want to pair with your shiny new tablet.

New features in Apple Pencil Pro

Features of the Apple Pencil Pro
Features of the Apple Pencil Pro.
Photo: Apple

During Tuesday’s event, Apple pointed out the need for a new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro. And the pro tablet’s slimmest-ever design makes that obvious.

However, the company was less clear about whether owners of current Apple Pencils would need to upgrade if they bought a new iPad. Yes, the Apple Pencil Pro adds new features, including a “squeeze” gesture, haptic feedback and support for Apple’s Find My Network. But for existing iPad owners who don’t use their Apple Pencil 2 much, it would be nice if the older stylus still worked with the new iPad.

The sixth-generation M2 iPad Pro supports the second-generation Apple Pencil as well as the USB-C Apple Pencil. On paper, that tablet should run on the same chip featured in the new iPad Air. If the new iPad Air models truly don’t support the second-gen Apple Pencil, it could be due to a hardware limitation, possibly as a result of a new charging mechanism. (Apple moved the iPad Air’s front-facing camera to the tablet’s long edge so it works in landscape mode. And the Apple Pencil Pro attaches magnetically to the side of compatible tablets for charging.)

Alternatively, Apple could be restricting the functionality to boost Apple Pencil Pro sales. We’ll likely need to wait and see what early reviewers say when the devices launch on May 15.

Either way, for Apple’s most expensive iPad models (the M4 iPad Pro line), unless you already have last year’s USB-C Apple Pencil, you’re going to shell out a few extra bucks to add an Apple Pencil, and even more for the “Pro” pencil experience.


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