Why is My Apple Pencil Not Writing Smoothly?

There are 7 reasons for an Apple Pencil to behave weirdly:

  1. iPad operating system misconfiguration
  2. Refurbished iPads
  3. Damaged iPad screen
  4. Refurbished Apple Pencils
  5. Low battery on the Apple Pencil
  6. Defective Apple Pencil
  7. Worn out Apple Pencil tip

iPad Operating System Misconfiguration

iPad Pro Display
iPad Pro Display

If your iPad is brand-new and the Apple Pencil is not writing smoothly from the very beginning, an operating system misconfiguration is highly unlikely to be the reason, but it’s still possible.

Every iPad has an operating system installed in it before being packaged and sold.

Although Apple’s quality control is among the best in the world, there is still a tiny possibility that some files got corrupted during this initial installation, which could lead to a series of weird behaviors from the iPad. This could possibly affect the way the tablet interacts with the Apple Pencil as well.

Even though it is possible to fix this by yourself by reinstalling the operating system, it’s way too much of a hassle and definitely a terrible idea. iPads are high-end devices and you must get a perfectly working product.

In this case, I highly recommend that you get in touch with Apple’s customer support and demand to get a new iPad right away.

Refurbished iPads

I always tell my readers to stay away from refurbished iPads.

Whenever you buy a refurbished electronic product, you’re gambling. The amount of money you may save is not worth the humongous risk.

It’s extremely common for refurbished iPads to display weird, glitchy behavior. And since you have absolutely no clue about what happened to this device before you bought it, it’s much harder to find out the source of all the problems.

Usually it’s a hardware problem, which always demand the replacement of expensive components.

My tip to you is, do not keep a refurbished iPad. Get your money back, save some more and purchase an entirely new device.

Damaged iPad Screen

hand holding the Apple Pencil

Most people don’t realize this, but the Apple Pencil is completely dependent on the iPad Screen.

Apple Pencil glitches are commonly related to damages to the screen of the tablet itself. Therefore, in case you have recently dropped your iPad or if the screen is not reacting properly when you touch it with your fingers, this is most likely the reason why the Apple Pencil is not writing smoothly.

Replacing an iPad screen is insanely expensive and more often than not, it’s not worthy.

If you know that your screen is damaged and your tablet is still within its warranty, do the right thing: ask Apple for a new device.

That said, if your warranty has already expired, the wisest thing to do would be using your current iPad for other tasks that do not require the Apple Pencil and getting a new iPad later on.

Nowadays, there are very affordable iPad options in the market, such as the iPad Air, which is great for writing and drawing.

Refurbished Apple Pencils

Apple Pencil

If you own an iPad, even thinking about buying a refurbished Apple Pencil should be considered a crime!

Apple Pencils are extremely delicate devices and they have the habit of finding their way to the floor, no matter in which table you place them. This is especially true for the Apple Pencil First Generation, which is perfectly round and bound to roll over any flat surface straight to the ground.

Due to the heightened fragility of Apple Pencils, whenever you get a refurbished one, there are big chances that the very Pencil you bought has fallen more than once.

The small damages that happen in the tiny components within the plastic casing of the Apple Pencil may not be immediately apparent but give it enough time and they will start creeping up.

Do yourself a big favor and buy a new Apple Pencil, it will work better and you won’t have any problems with you unless you start dropping it on the floor like the previous owner you’re your refurbished Apple Pencil probably did.

Low battery on the Apple Pencil

Apple Pencil Second Generation Charging
Apple Pencil Second Generation Charging

An Apple Pencil that it not completely charged will behave erratically. Meaning the thickness of the lines will go from extremely thin to extremely thick for no reason.

I know, the Apple Pencil charges pretty fast, so you probably have already charged yours to the maximum.

The thing is, maybe the software is telling you that the Apple Pencil is fully charged, maybe you have left it charging for more than enough time, but the stylus may still be running out of battery. This usually happens due to physical damage to the Apple Pencil that stops it from holding the charge.

Try using another Apple Pencil in your iPad and see how it behaves. If everything goes back to normal, you will know that your Apple Pencil is damaged. Get a new one.

Defective Apple Pencil

It’s rare to see a defective Apple Pencil right out of the box, but unfortunately this could happen.

In case you have just bought your Apple Pencil, have properly paired it to your iPad and it’s still not working properly, check the other possibilities from this list. If none of them addresses your problem, use your warranty to an Apple Pencil that actually works.

I know that it sucks to read someone telling you to do the obvious, but delaying the process of getting a new stylus will only increase your frustration. Get this done right now by contacting Apple’s support and you will have a fully functioning Apple Pencil sooner than you think.

Worn Out Apple Pencil tip

Replacing an Apple Pencil tip

Apple Pencil tips need to be replaced from time to time, especially if you use the stylus often.

These tips are extremely cheap and can be bought in packs of two or four. I have written a whole post about Apple Pencil tips and how to get the right one. Please, take a moment to read it.

Old Apple Pencil tips are one of the most common reasons for trouble while writing with the stylus. When a tip has been used for too long, it becomes rough and it doesn’t slide through the screen like it should.

Make dure to take a close look at the tip of your Apple Pencil, if this is the reason for the problems you’re currently going through, consider yourself lucky because this is the easiest issue to solve.


As long as the Apple Pencil’s strange behavior does not stem from the screen of your iPad, solving it will be easy, cheap, and most importantly, fast.

Keep an open mind to the possibility of buying a new Apple Pencil and make sure to check witch one is compatible with the iPad you currently own.

Remember, some iPads are compatible with the Apple Pencil First Generation, and some newer models are compatible with the Apple Pencil Second Generation. Buying the wrong one would be entirely useless.

If you have any questions, make sure to leave a comment.

Bruno Brasil

Hi! My name is Bruno. I'm a web developer/designer based in Toronto, Canada. I've been working with drawing tablets for over 20 years and I'm among the Top 10 Most Viewed Writers on Quora in the Graphics Tablets category. Do you have any questions? Just leave a comment =)

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