Can You Use a Stylus on a Macbook Air?

The MacBook Air is one of Apple’s greatest achievements. A sleek-looking, small, yet high-performance laptop is great for many electronic needs. However, the MacBook Air does not have a touchscreen. Graphic design endeavors can pose difficulties. Can you use a stylus on a MacBook Air?

With an external drawing tablet, you can use a stylus to create text and drawings to transfer to your MacBook Air. Since the MacBook Air does not have a touchscreen display, you cannot draw directly on the laptop screen. Using a stylus on the trackpad only gets you so far.

Read on to learn more about whether you can use a stylus on a MacBook Air. If you have other Apple devices, chances are that you will have no problem creating your designs and transferring them to your MacBook Air. Without another Apple product, however, you are not going to have what you need.

Can You Use a Stylus on a Macbook Air?

You can use a stylus on a Macbook Air; that is if you have a compatible iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. For the methods you will learn, it is important to consider that these work best with the latest versions of Apple products and with the latest software installed.

On the simpler side, you can use a stylus instead of your fingers on your MacBook Air’s trackpad. MacBook Air’s drawing feature – Magic – allows you to use the trackpad to draw directly onto your MacBook screen. However, it is noticeably more difficult to draw large pictures on a small trackpad.

You can use a stylus on your trackpad, but it is not the most convenient way to use a stylus with your MacBook Air. You must become familiar with the sensitivity of the MacBook trackpad. If you put too little or too much pressure on the stylus, you will not get the results you are looking for.

As you will read below, the best way to use a stylus on a MacBook Air does not involve directly using the stylus on your MacBook’s trackpad. If you have a stylus and another Apple device for your design purposes, you are in luck. Drawing and converting to your MacBook Air is simple.

How to Use an Apple Pencil With a Mac Computer

Whether you need to markup documents on your MacBook Air or draw a completely new sketch for a logo, you can pair another Apple device with your MacBook Air. Using a stylus to draw on the other device, you will find that your work can be easily transferred to your MacBook Air.

Using Continuity Sketch and Continuity Markup, you can draw on another Apple device and have it automatically insert itself onto your MacBook Air. To do this, you need a newer version of at least one of these Apple devices:

  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • iPod Touch

Read below to see how using a touchscreen-capable Apple device can support a stylus for edits on your MacBook Air.

Pair Your Device With Your MacBook Air

Both devices must be connected to iCloud on the same Apple ID account. Make sure that your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your MacBook Air. You must also turn on Bluetooth for both devices. Your touchscreen-capable device must have iPadOS or iOS 13 or later, and your MacBook Air must have macOS Catalina or later.

If your MacBook Air is in one room but you would like to draw on your other device somewhere else, you can – as long as the two devices are within Bluetooth range. Once the devices are paired by following the steps above, you can begin using a stylus with your MacBook Air.

Continuity Sketch

Continuity Sketch is the most widely-used program for working on a MacBook document with a stylus. With your devices paired, right-click on your MacBook Air document and select “Insert Sketch.” You may also find an “Add Sketch” option by clicking “File,” then “Insert from [your device].” 

Your other device will automatically present a blank document with Markup tools on which you can work. Simply use your stylus to create your drawing or design on your touchscreen-capable device. Once you have finished your work, click “Done” in the upper right corner. Your sketch will automatically appear on your MacBook Air document.

As you can see, this does not involve physically drawing on your MacBook Air’s screen or trackpad. If you do not have another Apple device on which to draw your sketch, you cannot do much else on your MacBook Air’s trackpad as efficiently or effectively.

Continuity Markup

Continuity Markup is similar to Continuity Sketch. With the devices paired, use your MacBook Air to pick a document that you wish to edit, press the spacebar to preview the document, and select the Markup option at the top of the document. You can then click the annotate option and select your paired device to make your notes on.

This will prompt the same Markup tool with the document to appear on your touchscreen-capable Apple device. You can use your stylus to make any kinds of edits available, and you will notice that every edit made on your device will instantly appear on your MacBook Air’s screen.

Continuity Markup is useful for monitoring how your edits will look on an enlarged version of your document. You can ensure that the changes you make are clear and readable. When you finish making the changes on your device, click “Done” on the paired device as well as your MacBook Air.

Can You Use Any Stylus With a Macbook Air?

Because you must have another Apple device, you might also worry that an Apple Pencil is required as your stylus. On the contrary, as long as your stylus is compatible with your touchscreen-capable Apple device, you will be good to go.

Placeit For Graphic Design

If you struggle with finding a design software that suits your graphic design needs, consider Placeit. Placeit contains thousands of free designs, logos, mockups, and templates to help you create the perfect layout, without needing a stylus. The free, online software takes away the stress of purchasing and installing new software on your device.


Technically, you can use a stylus on a MacBook Air. As long as you have another Apple device that supports drawing with a stylus, you can easily pair the device with your MacBook Air and transfer sketches and edits without hassle.