Writing on the iPad: does the lead on the Apple Pencil need to be changed?

Apple slides one “point” spare parts in the box with the first generation Pencil, but don’t bother giving any with the second generation. This begs the question: how do you know a mine is worn out? How to replace it? Do you absolutely have to use the (expensive) Apple tips? Can replacement cords affect how the pen slides across the screen?

The cord, referred to as a “tip” by Apple, screws around the shaft of the pen. Pressure and tilt are calculated by measuring the deformations of the screen axis and electromagnetic grid, as well as the relative distance between the screen and the metal parts of the pen. Image iGeneration.

A mine in the lead

If you don’t use your pencil much, you won’t notice any signs of lead wear for two or three years. More regular users will likely need to replace it every six to twelve months, and professional illustrators have been known to use a batch of four replacement nibs per year! In any case, don’t wait until you’ve removed the plastic down to the metal “ball” to replace the wire.


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