7P notes: Apple iPad

Using an iPad as a drawing tablet


iPads - specifically those that use the Apple Pencil 2 - are very compelling alternative to a typical EMR standalone drawing tablet. They are lightweight, mobile, have a great display, a rich app ecosystem, and the drawing experience, while different is very similar to that of a drawing tablet.

See also:


Apple calls their pen the Apple Pencil. I often just call it a pen to keep consistent with rest of my documentation.

iPad benefits


  • The display is fantastic - great color and bright for a pen display

  • Does not require a computer to be attached


  • All iPad models use WiFi.

  • Some models can also use a mobile data plan like a phone.

  • It has great battery life


  • The Apple pencil is very responsive and supports pressure and tilt

  • iPad apps are optimized to make the most of the screen real estate available and to be responsive to touch.

  • Newer Apple iPad Pro models use the Apple Pencil 2 - which support pen hover

  • Very little pointer lag. Apple iPads have much less lag than pen displays or pen computers. The pointer is comparable to a pen tablet.


Some popular and excellent drawing applications are avilable on the iPad

  • ProCreate

  • ClipStudioPaint

  • Adobe Fresco

  • Ibis Paint

Surface texture

  • When using the Apple Pencil with the iPad, most people will find that touching the glass feels "slippery".

  • Some people a do not like this slipperiness and purchase a protective sheet to put over top of it that provides texture for the pen.

  • For protective sheets for iPads there are some options here: Protective sheets

Diagonal wobble

Noticeable diagonal wobble when drawing slowly. But this doesn't seem to hinder people.

Apple Pencil

  • Apple Pencil does not have buttons

  • Apple Pencil does not have an eraser

  • Older iPad Pro models models do not support pen hover regardless of which Apple Pencil us used.

  • Not all iPads support the use of the Apple Pencil. See: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211029

Pencil support

  • Since around 2015, iPads have supported an Apple pencil. So ensure that the iPad you are purchasing supports the use of a pencil

  • List of iPad Models that support the Apple pencil: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211029

Pencil versions

  • There are two models of pencil: Apple Pencil, and Apple Pencil 2

  • Apple Pencil 2 is superior

  • So, it is better to get a model that supports the Apple Pencil 2

Pen hover

Pen hover is the ability of a tablet to detect and show the position of the pen without the pen touching the screen. Some people - especially artists - really depend on this feature. For others it is not so important. Read this doc to learn more about it and why it could be important for you: Pen hover

Hover support in iPads:

  • iPad Pro models that use the M2 chip with Apple Pencil 2 do support pen hover

  • Other models of iPads do NOT support pen hover.


iPads that support the Apple Pencil have EXCELLENT (i.e. LOW) parallax. More here: Parallax

Pointer lag

  • iPads have incredibly little pointer lag.

  • More here: lag

Anti-glare sparkle

  • You may or may not be sensitive to this effect. Some people hate it. Some are much less sensitive to it.

  • iPads don't show much AG sparkle at all - I would say it is undetectable in the iPads I have examined

  • Pen displays have AG sparkle to various degrees. More here: anti-glare sparkle


I prefer to draw on larger devices (16" and above - and strongly prefer 22" to 24") when I am at my desk. That is an advantage of pen displays because they vary in size from 12" to 30".

But for mobile use, the size of the iPad (11" & 12.9") is much more convenient than any pen display.


iPad apps for creative work

How I use iPads

I use iPads for drawing - but mostly when I am at not my desk or when I am mobile. Otherwise when sitting at my desk I prefer to use a pen tablet or pen display.

I use these iPad models with an Apple Pencil 2:

  • Apple iPad Pro (12.9 inch) (3rd gen) - Does NOT support hover

  • Apple iPad Pro (11 inch) (4rd gen) - Does support hover.

I primarily these use iPad apps

I occasionally use these iPad apps

Transferring files between iPads and Windows

One easy way to send files easily back and forth between an iPad and Windows is to use a file syncing service. For example OneDrive - which is what I use.

I put my Clip Studio Paint files in a OneDrive folder and sync them to multiple PCs and my iPad. This allows me to edit them with whatever device I want. And changes are automatically synced to all the devices.


Other resources

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