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Apple Pencil Pro vs. Apple Pencil 2: Which model works best for your iPad?

How does the new Apple Pencil Pro stack up against the previous Apple Pencil (2nd Gen)? Here are all the reasons why you may want to buy one rather than the other.
Written by Kayla Solino, Associate Editor
Drawing on the iPad Pro

Today at Apple's "Let Loose" event, which CEO Tim Cook called the biggest day for iPads since their introduction in 2010, the company unveiled its newest lineup of iPads -- including an M4 iPad Pro and a 13-inch iPad Air, as well as the next generation of Apple's handy stylus: the Apple Pencil Pro

Also: Everything Apple announced at its iPad event: iPad Pro, Air, and more

Apple debuted the first Apple Pencil in 2015, the Apple Pencil 2nd Gen in 2018, and the USB-C Apple Pencil in November 2023. iPadOS 17.5 hinted at a new "squeeze" gesture for the company's third Pencil iteration that would allow users to perform more tasks more quickly. Today, those rumors were confirmed. 

The new Apple Pencil Pro offers several upgraded features designed in tandem with the newly announced iPad Pro models, including a squeeze function to switch between tools, colors, and line weights; a gyroscope barrel roll for precise brush and pen control; and custom haptic feedback that you can feel via a pulse. 

Plus, if you're always misplacing your stylus, the Apple Pencil Pro features Apple's native Find My technology. 

Also: How to preorder the new iPad Air, iPad Pro, Magic Keyboard, and Apple Pencil Pro

The Apple Pencil Pro is available for preorder starting today and will go on sale May 15. The question is: Should you splurge on Apple's new stylus?  Let's see how the Apple Pencil Pro and the previous generation Apple Pencil compare and step through our buying advice. 


Apple Pencil ProApple Pencil (2nd Gen)
Length6.53 inches6.53 inches
Diameter0.35 inch0.35 inch
Weight0.68 ounce0.73 ounce
Key FeaturesFind My technology, Squeeze gesture, Barrel roll, Double tap, and Apple Pencil hover. Magnetically attaches to iPad, Automatic pairing, chargingDouble tap, Apple Pencil hover (when used with iPad Pro 12.9-inch 6th Gen and iPad Pro 11-inch 4th Gen), Low latency, Magnetically attaches to iPad, Automatic pairing, charging
CompatibilityiPad Pro 13-inch (M4)
iPad Pro 11-inch (M4)
iPad Air 13-inch (M2)
iPad Air 11-inch (M2)
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th generation)
iPad Pro 11-inch (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation)
iPad Air (4th, 5th generation)
iPad mini (6th generation)
Price$129Typically starting at $129 (on sale for $79)

You should buy the Apple Pencil Pro if...


1. You need the enhanced functionality 

Are you a creator or developer who uses your iPad for advanced photography, videography, graphic design, and editing? The Apple Pencil Pro is packed with new upgrades designed to enhance and functionally upgrade your creative experience, especially when used with the new iPad Pro. 

The Pencil Pro steps up the low latency and pixel-perfection of the Apple Pencil (2nd Gen), and expands its range of features to include a squeeze gesture for quick tool, color, and other changes, a gyroscope for precise control of pens and brush tools with a simple rotation, and custom haptic feedback that you can feel via a pulse. Plus, Apple Pencil hover lets you know exactly where your Apple Pencil will touch down on your display for greater precision. 

Also: iPad Pro (2024) vs. iPad Air (2024): Which Apple tablet should you buy?

The Pencil Pro steps up the low latency and pixel-perfection of the Apple Pencil (2nd Gen) and adds features like the squeeze gesture, gyroscope, and custom haptic feedback. Plus, Apple Pencil hover lets you know exactly where the pencil will touch down on your display for greater precision. 

In contrast, Apple Pencil 2 has a double-tap gesture that lets users switch tools, but no "squeeze" gesture support. Also, it supports Apple Pencil hover only when used with the new iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th generation) and iPad Pro 11-inch (4th generation). If you're planning to upgrade your iPad for creative work, an upgrade to the new Apple Pencil Pro makes sense. 

2. You misplace your tech gear 

If you frequently misplace your tech and -- specifically -- your iPad accessories, the Apple Pencil Pro incorporates Apple's native Find My technology, which means you'll be able to track your stylus easily. 

The Pro is the only stylus in Apple's lineup to offer this feature. For individuals who misplace their tech often, it's truly a game changer. 

3. You plan to buy the newest iPads

The Apple Pencil Pro was designed hand in hand with the newest iPad Pro and upgraded software. If you're making the jump to a new M3 iPad Air or M4 iPad Pro, buying the Apple Pencil Pro makes sense, since its advanced features leverage the chip and AI technology incorporated into Apple's new tablets. If you're looking to get the most productivity, functionality, and value out of your new iPad, we think it's wise to invest in a tool designed to maximize your new iPad's capabilities. 

You should buy the Apple Pencil (2nd Gen) if...

Apple Pencil 2nd Gen
Kayla Solino/ZDNET

1. You want to save some cash 

The Apple Pencil (2nd Gen) usually retails for $129, but throughout sale periods like Presidents' Day and Cyber Week, we've seen it drop to just $79. In fact, it's currently on sale for $79 at several retailers following today's announcement of the new Apple Pencil Pro. 

Also: The best iPad stylus you can buy: Expert tested

If you're looking for a wallet-friendly pick, the 2nd-Gen Pencil offers advanced features such as low latency, tilt sensitivity, and palm-rejection technology. Plus, it's likely the 2nd-Gen will see more frequent sales or steeper discounts throughout the latter half of this year, thanks to its new sibling. 

2. You want to upgrade your iPad, but not your stylus

Maybe you're ready to upgrade your iPad, but don't want to shell out the extra cash for the new Apple Pencil Pro -- there's good news. Apple announced that new iPad models will still support the older Apple Pencil (2nd Gen), giving users two stylus options to choose from. 

So if you're not looking to upgrade your stylus accessory too (or you want to save a few dollars and skip out on the new model) you don't need to purchase the new Apple Pencil Pro -- unless you're looking to buy a new iPad Pro. 

Alternatives to consider

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