In essence, the iPad is an impressive device – but pair it with an Apple Pencil and the potential increases quickly. The Apple Pencil is one of the most impressive digital styluses ever to hit the market. To really experience how versatile this stylus is, you need to use it with the right application.
Here are eight of the best Apple Pencil apps that demonstrate the power and functionality of the Apple Pencil better than any other.
Create (App Store) – $9.99
If you’re an artist, you need Procreate on your iPad. This powerful Apple Pencil app is perfect for graphic designers. It works great with just your finger, but the Apple Pencil takes it to the next level with palm rejection technology and pressure sensitivity.
Just by tilting the angle you hold your Apple Pencil, you can adjust the line from a perfectly large end to fill in gaps to a smaller, more precise end for nailing those little details.
At just $10, Procreate boasts a lot of power for a low price. There are dozens of different brushes and patterns to choose from, along with the ability to type your own. Procreate is flexible enough to be used for professional-grade work, but it’s also fun to just scribble around.
Astropad (App Store) – $29.99
The Apple Pencil might seem like a no-brainer choice for graphic artists, but there’s been no good way to integrate its use with a drawing tablet — until now. Astropad turns your iPad into a Wacom-style tablet that you connect directly to your Mac.
Astropad was designed by former Apple engineers. Think of it as a first-party side-by-side application that works with Photoshop, Illustrator, Affinity Designer and many more powerful graphics applications. Perhaps most impressively, it connects wirelessly to your Mac. No complicated lightning cables are required.
At $30, it’s a bit pricey, but a one-time purchase is well worth it for anyone looking to do serious graphics work on their iPad.
Shaper3D (App Store) – Freedom
Shapr3D is a CAD modeling application for the iPad. It manages to provide the required level of precision for CAD work thanks to the low latency of the Apple Pencil. All you do is draw the lines using the precise snapping system and then even more accuracy can be achieved by entering the exact angle you require.
Shapr3D is provided as a free program, but only so that users can learn the strings. The free version is limited to low resolution textures and has only two exports. If you want access to the full version, that will require a monthly subscription of $25.
Shapr3D mimics SolidWorks in many ways, but all the necessary tools are not displayed on the screen at once. Shaper3D uses a relatively clean interface. Use your finger to move the camera and use Apple Pencil to draw the model. Once completed, the model can be exported and integrated into more full-featured applications.
Apple Notes (App Store) – Freedom
You may wonder? The default note-taking app in iOS has Apple Pencil built-in. In the Notes app, you can draw, write, doodle, and more. All you need to do is click on the pencil icon to open the toolbar.
Apple Pencil lets you use Notes like a real, handwritten notebook. The reason this app is so useful is that you can open it just by tapping your iPad’s lock screen with a pencil to quickly jot down notes and jot down your thoughts.
uMake (App Store) – $15.99 per month
uMake is a powerful 3D drawing application. It allows you to sketch drawings in 2D and then translate them onto the 3D plane via smart symmetry controls, but it also allows you to draw in 3D space.
The app takes much of the guesswork out of creating artwork, smoothing lines and softening signs of inexperience to deliver a beautiful end result. While uMake isn’t the most powerful app out there, and it’s not the most suitable for professional work, it’s great for concept art.
Pigments (App Store) – Freedom
Most of the Apple Pencil apps on this list are geared towards creating art, but Pigment is all about relaxation. It is one of the most important coloring apps on the iPad and offers thousands of different patterns for a number-by-number coloring experience. During a busy week, focusing on choosing the right color can be a meditative experience.
Pigment is free to use, but has an optional subscription service. Pigment Premium gives you unlimited access to every design in your gallery and removes watermarks from any shared images. If you want a fun, stress-free app, give Pigment a try.
Flow by Moleskine (App Store) – Freedom
Moleskine notebooks are popular in advertising circles for their quality design and ease of use, and Flow is no exception. This app gives you a document to jot down notes, sketch drawings, design mind maps and more.
One of the unique features of the Flow app is that the document has no width restrictions, allowing users to rotate the view across the document and scale across sketches and notes. It also gives you the ability to create custom tools with just one tap.
Flow is free to use, but you can pay a subscription fee to get access to cloud storage and remote backup of all your documents.
Remarkable (App Store) – $8.99
Notability is a great note taking app to write or type more naturally with the keyboard. It allows users to easily swap between the two input modes, but its real strength lies in its recording capabilities.
The remarkable feature allows users to record audio in the background, which makes it perfect for taking notes during lectures. The application marks page breaks, allowing your notes to be easily exported as a PDF later.
What is your favorite Apple Pencil app? Let us know in the comments below.