iPadOS 16’s handwriting-recognition feature automatically converts Apple Pencil writing to text. Here’s how to take notes using Scribble.
An Apple Pencil significantly expands an iPad’s convenience and functionality, especially when iPadOS 16’s Scribble feature is enabled. With Scribble active, you can handwrite text using the Apple Pencil in any text field, and iPadOS will automatically convert the writing to standard text.
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If you’re like me and frequently use the Apple Pencil as a stylus and pointer for interacting with the tablet, enabling and using Scribble saves time. By permitting you to respond to messages and take notes with the Pencil, you’re saved from having to set the Pencil down, enable or attach the keyboard, and begin typing.
How to confirm Scribble is enabled on iPadOS 16
iPadOS 16 enables Scribble by default on compatible iPads. To confirm Scribble is enabled, tap Settings, then tap Apple Pencil. Ensure the Scribble radio button, as shown in Figure A, is enabled.
The following iPad models support using the Apple Pencil 1st Generation and Scribble:
- iPad mini (5th generation)
- iPad (6th generation and later)
- iPad Air (3rd generation)
- iPad Pro 9.7-inch
- iPad Pro 10.5-inch
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st and 2nd generation)
The following iPad models support using the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation and Scribble:
- iPad mini (6th generation)
- iPad Air (4th generation and later)
- iPad Pro 11-inch (all generations)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later)
How to take notes with Scribble on iPadOS 16
To take notes within a document, such as Pages, tap the document with the Apple Pencil, which will open the Scribble toolbar, as shown in Figure B. Using these tools, you can switch Pencil operation from handwriting recognition to use as a marker, eraser or other provided option.
When using the Apple Pencil, tapping the ellipsis icon minimizes the toolbar. When the toolbar is minimized, you can expand it by tapping the minimized menu.
To take notes in Pages, Notes (as shown in Figure C) or other compatible programs, ensure the Markup button is set to off and the Handwriting tool is enabled within the Markup toolbar. Then, just begin writing with the Apple Pencil within a text field. iPadOS will convert your handwriting to standard text as you go.
Should you need to make adjustments or corrections, you can use the Scribble toolbar, attach a Magic Keyboard or enable the iPad’s onscreen keyboard.
Scribble offers additional conveniences when taking notes on an iPad too. For example, you can scratch out a word to delete it, and you can also place and hold the Apple Pencil at a spot where you wish to insert text — iPadOS will open the corresponding space. Drawing a circle around specific text to “lasso” it will permit moving that text by dragging the selection with the Pencil to the desired location. Other features include selecting a word by double-tapping it, and selecting a paragraph by triple-tapping a word within the paragraph body.
Should you need to disable Scribble, that step is easy too. Just open the Apple Pencil option within the iPad’s settings and tap the Scribble radio button to disable the feature.