This neat Apple Pencil trick may be my favorite way to type on iPad — type text without waiting for the virtual keyboard

iPad and Apple Pencil 1
(Image credit: iMore)

One of the original iPhone’s biggest selling points was its revolutionary approach to the digital keyboard. Sometimes, however, this can feel cumbersome on the huge display of the best iPads. If you have an Apple Pencil, legible handwriting, and don’t always want to use the virtual keyboard to send a quick text, there’s a better way. 

Apple’s Scribble function allows users to simply write what they want to type and the iPad’s smart chip can translate that into text and send it in any text box. This works in your conversations in WhatsApp, when Googling something, or just for taking down notes. 

Here’s how to use the iPad’s built-in Scribble function and why you should learn how to use it. 

How to use the Scribble function with Apple Pencil

With the Scribble function, you simply write down what you want to say in a text box and your iPad will automatically translate it into text. The great part about this tip is that it doesn’t require clicking any extra options or figuring anything out. You simply write in a text box with any version of the Apple Pencil and it will work. You don’t even need to neatly line up your handwriting in the tex box. As long as you start your first letter in it, your iPad will pick up your text. Unfortunately, this tip won't work on even the best Apple Pencil alternatives so you have to go official to get it. 

If you happen to have accidentally turned Scribble off or decide you don’t like it and actually want to turn it off, you can do so by doing the following: 

  • Go into Settings
  • Find the Apple Pencil section
  • Look for Scribble and toggle the switch beside it

From this section, you can also customize Apple Pencil gestures, which allow you to do specific functions based on actions. I like to keep the Quick Note function from the bottom right corner and screenshot from the bottom left. Once you’ve gotten used to Scribble, you will never need to pop your Apple Pencil back on charge just to text a friend back. You’ve got no excuse now. 

James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.

  • utrph770044
    Scribble works just fine with my Zagg Stylus 2. Not sure why you say that you need an original Apple Pencil.