Apple Pencils are wireless iPad accessories that provide users with the freedom of and convenience of a writing tool and the endless possibilities of technology. Despite their ingenious design, Apple Pencils are prone to wearing down, and knowing the reasons behind why this happens is the first step in maintaining these pricy accessories and taking preventative measures to ensure they last as long as possible.
Although there is a wide range of potential reasons why an Apple Pencil’s tip is wearing down, the answer usually lies with how the accessory is being used and its overall frequency of use. However, the material Apple uses to make Apple Pencil tips plays a significant role here as well.
If you own an Apple Pencil and notice the tip seems to be wearing down suspiciously quickly, read on as we discuss the four most common reasons why this occurs and how you can potentially prevent or slow wear on this iPad accessory. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions, such as how long Apple Pencil tips usually last and whether they can be replaced.
Top 4 Reasons Why Apple Pencil Tips Wear Down
As much as we’d like our Apple products to last forever, wear and tear is something that’s truly inevitable. Owners of this creative accessory find that their Apple Pencil’s tip is what really wears down the most, leaving many to question why this happens and what they should do going forward.
There are four overarching reasons why Apple Pencils wear down:
- Frequency of use
- Dirty tip or screen
- Material makeup
While some of these are avoidable, the unfortunate reality is that your Apple Pencil’s tip is going to wear down one way or another (unless you’re leaving it untouched in its box). Luckily, understanding these reasons and knowing how to prevent them or diminish their effect can help you extend the lifespan of these components immensely.
1. Frequency of Use
Probably the most influential and unavoidable cause of your Apple Pencil tip wearing down is how much you use it.
As with anything, the more you use your Apple Pencil, the quicker the tip will wear down. While there are precautions you can take to limit its wear, the fact remains that if you use your Apple Pencil every day for extended periods (ex. a professional artist who uses an Apple Pencil for hours daily to create artwork), then its tip is going to wear down quicker than if you used it weekly.
If you really want your Apple Pencil’s tip to last, maybe think of alternative methods for achieving what you want on your iPad without it (ex. perform lengthy work on a desktop/alternative device and only use the iPad and Apple Pencil when you’re on-the-go).
Otherwise, you’ll probably need to come to terms with the fact that unless you intend to use your Apple Pencil less, it’s going to wear out over time, and the more you use it, the sooner that will be.
This might be an odd factor people don’t really consider when using their Apple Pencil, but it can be a significant contributor and one of the easiest aspects to alter, increasing your Apple Pencil tip’s lifespan.
When we say “technique,” we really mean how much pressure you’re placing on your Apple Pencil and if you’re using the same part of the tip consistently.
The hard you push on your Apple Pencil with writing or drawing, the more strain you’re placing on the tip, which can drastically accelerate its rate of degradation. Additionally, using one side of an Apple Pencil’s tip for extended periods can lead to uneven wear on the tip and expose the metallic wires underneath sooner than usual.
Loosening your grip on your Apple Pencil and rotating it in your hand occasionally throughout use can help reduce excessive and uneven strain on the tip, allowing it to last longer.
3. Dirty Tip or Screen
If your goal is to extend your Apple Pencil’s tip life as long as possible, the last thing you want to do is use it when the tip itself is dirty or when your iPad screen is dirty.
Dust, dirt, and other contaminants can not only scratch your iPad screen’s surface, but they will also wear down the tip of your Apple Pencil. This is because, as you write, you are pressing those coarse particles into the tip’s material and slowly scratching it away. While this won’t make a huge impact on your tip’s integrity at first, if it’s done repeatedly over time, it will eventually take its toll.
The best ways to prevent this are to:
- Clean your Apple Pencil tip and iPad screens regularly, ideally before each use
- Install a screen protector on your iPad
- Place a specialized silicone tip cover over your Apple Pencil tip
Regular cleaning will eliminate potentially harmful particles while using protectors and covers will provide your iPad and Apple Pencil with an extra buffer against potential damage. Plus, it’s much cheaper to replace a cover/protector than a screen or tip.
4. Material Makeup
The last reason why Apple Pencil tips wear down is another one you can’t really change and, frankly, displeases a lot of Apple supporters.
Apple Pencil tips are made of a hard capacitive plastic, and while this material is relatively durable as far as plastics are concerned, at the end of the day, it’s still a plastic, and therefore, not the strongest material out there.
All the other factors we’ve discussed definitely play a role in how quickly your Apple Pencil tip wears down, but the root cause lies here in its material makeup. Despite these accessories donning a sticker price of over $100 and the overall pen itself is made of exceptionally high-quality materials, the tip doesn’t necessarily receive the same courtesy.
Arguably, the reason behind this is because Apple sells Apple Pencil tip replacements (and this is where Apple supporters feel a bit cheated).
Considering how well the Apple Pencil itself is built and designed, one could assume Apple could have created a tip that lasts just as long. Instead, these accessories are equipped with a removable tip that usually only lasts about 1-2 years of regular use or 4-6 months of extensive use. Why? Because attaching replaceable tips with limited lifespans makes Apple more money as it requires consumers to purchase additional tips.
That’s not to say that these tips don’t perform well fresh out of the box because they do. But if you’re about to invest in a new Apple Pencil, it’s important to know that the upfront cost isn’t the only one you’ll be paying.
Apple Pencils are a favored iPad accessory amongst artists, graphic designers, any iPad user who prefers a writing utensil over their finger, but one of its biggest faults is how quickly the tip wears out. Unfortunately, this is a certainty.
While you can utilize the many tips listed above to prevent or slow tip wear on your Apple Pencil, eventually, it will become unusable. Fortunately, you can buy replacement tips for relatively cheap, so a worn-down tip isn’t the end for your Apple Pencil.