Strangely Absent Apple Pencil Functionality to Return with Next iOS 9.3 Beta

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iOS 9.3 beta was released to developers back in early January, and has gone through a number of changes and tweaks since then. Beta version four was only released earlier this week, and brought with it an update to the Night Shift mode icon as well as new star icons in the Music section. However, one glaring thing is still missing: select Apple Pencil functions.


The Apple Pencil was introduced as Apple’s version of the stylus: a sleek, stylish, pencil-like accessory that functions both as a navigation tool and a drawing utensil. A majority of iPad Pro users have found the Apple Pencil extremely helpful, and other users tout the annotating and note-taking capabilities of the accessory. But a number of the features and functions of the Apple Pencil were not usable in the iOS 9.3 beta versions.

Initially, sources thought that Apple was taking these away because the Apple Pencil lacked navigation control (scrolling, swiping, selecting text, etc.) in the iOS 9.3 beta versions that have been released to developers thus far. Myke Hurley of shed some light on the situation early on, stating, “sources in the know confirm that removing the functionality of the Apple Pencil is a decision inside of Apple. It is not a bug they have overlooked for three betas. It is a decision.”


So the short answer? Don’t fret: Apple plans on bringing these functions back and with better use. Apple released a statement to The Verge that said, “we believe a finger will always be the primary way users navigate on an iPad, but we understand that some customers like to use Apple Pencil for this as well and we’ve been working on ways to better implement this while maintaining compatibility during this latest beta cycle.”

For now, Apple Pencil users will have to resort to using their finger once again for select features and controls…at least until iOS 9.3 debuts beta version five.

Learn More: Hands-On iPad Pro Video Review

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