If I won’t be drawing with it, why would I need an Apple Pencil 2?
November 18, 2020 3:12 PM   Subscribe

I can’t find a straightforward answer to this question. I don’t plan on downloading any drawing programs, so what could a Pencil 2 do for me? I’m imagining a scenario like this: editing a document and singling out, say, an exclamation point to be italicized. That’s hard to do with a mouse with any precision: could a Pencil 2 pinpoint things like that better?

What I’m also saying is: convince me why I need an Apple Pencil 2. I would rather like to buy one.
I’m using an iPad Pro 11-inch, second genreration and a Magic Mouse 2, if that’s relevant.
posted by BostonTerrier to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I find a Pencil useful for:
  • Taking notes in meetings. Using a keyboard props up the iPad, which can acts as a "barrier" between you and the person you're talking to.
  • Marking up documents with my own annotations - I frequently highlight/circle/underline key parts of documents for my own understanding.
  • Navigating websites that are not particularly tablet friendly and render particularly small buttons.
  • Using the iPad when my hands are dirty (example, when cooking) - the touch screen doesn't register particularly well when you have a bit of oil or food on your fingers.

posted by saeculorum at 3:26 PM on November 18

Reason I got one was that I wanted to make easy a read-and-highlight-passages workflow. I have a large number of books in PDF form (and Kindle app form, too) that I am working through, and if I want to highlight a passage on the document, a Pencil is great for that.
posted by metabaroque at 3:49 PM on November 18

If you will ever use the iPad for remote desktop to a windows computer using the official Microsoft app, the pencil 2 is much much better than using a finger and the virtual mouse.

Also if you aren't fast at typing on the screen you can now use scribble to type on the iPad, I wasn't a fun, but I'm sure there are people out there who are.
posted by DJWeezy at 3:52 PM on November 18

I use mine with GoodNotes to take notes like I would on paper (I just hate paper). It’s also great for highlighting in ebooks and marking up images/PDFs. Also fun for doing digital coloring books and a couple games I enjoy, like Vertex from the NYT.

I can definitely live without the Pencil, but I basically decided to ignore the cost and get the iPad Pro w/ all the bells and whistles.
posted by paulcole at 3:54 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]

Using my iPad and pencil for document editing and proofreading (my own or someone else's) is a gamechanger. Mark up a PDF with highlights and margin notes, export edits to a new PDF, email to coauthors, done. I originally bought it for note taking during meetings and at work (I'm a researcher and have a 15 year stack of paper lab notebooks), and the pencil is a great part of that system. Note taking with the pencil is tough to replicate with a keyboard and mouse - I can freehand sketch a graph of results or a diagram from someone's presentations way faster and more accurately with it than I can with text or mouse scribbles.

I miss aspects of my paper notebooks (e.g., they can't distract me with Twitter) but that's not the pencil's fault - the pencil is great.
posted by Fully Completely at 4:29 PM on November 18

Since I've been working at home, I use mine every day throughout the day, and my work would be far harder without it. I download PDF documents (lots and lots of them), and use the pen to highlight, make notes in the margins, circle important paragraphs, etc. I could do it with my finger too, but the pencil is about a thousand times easier to use because it can make fine lines, small notations, symbols like asterisks, etc. (I also use an iPad Pro 11-inch.)
posted by holborne at 6:05 PM on November 18

I'm a teacher. I have used an iPad constantly for many years. However I have always been sceptical of the pencil because of bad experiences with other styluses in the past. When we moved to remote learning during lockdown this year, I needed to move to fully online editing and marking of student work, and I had an allowance to buy any necessary equipment, so I bought a Pencil 2 more or less on a whim. It has been excellent — scribbling over PDFs, highlighting ebooks, taking handwritten notes (with excellent OCR). I now find myself going to meetings without pen and paper, because I can use the iPad and Pencil instead. Even after returning to in-person classes with students completing tests on paper, I have been scanning them to PDF so that I can keep using the iPad and Pencil. Absolutely one of those "why didn't I do this sooner?" purchases.
posted by robcorr at 6:29 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]

I didn’t think I would ever use it, but I got one and I use it constantly, and only occasionally for actually writing things. I have wrist and hand issues from too much time at a keyboard, and I honestly find it way more comfortable than tapping the screen with my fingers. I use it for everything from taking notes to playing silly games to doing the Sunday crossword.
posted by thejanna at 6:48 PM on November 18

I can scrawl nearly unreadable notes into Nebo with my Apple pencil and the OCR is pretty damn good. I can back them up to Dropbox or import them into Scrivener or Word or anything. It's amazing.

(Also, get custom engraving to inspire you, mine is "DJ OVERSHARE")
posted by bendy at 12:03 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]

Well, all right. Vox populi. An Apple Pencil 2 will soon be on its way to me.
Your responses have opened my eyes to the possibilities. Thank you, everyone.
posted by BostonTerrier at 6:00 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]

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