Over the course of iOS 9.3 beta testing period, iPad Pro users noticed that their Apple Pencil units started to lose some of the features. It seems that some of the features that had been removed are connected to navigation, like tapping on buttons, selecting text, scrolling, swiping between apps, and accessing general editing controls in non-drawing apps.
With iOS 9.3, most of these features were removed which means that Apple Pencil is limited to drawing apps. Even though users were thinking that losing these features was perhaps a bug, later beta versions missed the opportunity to fix this. Additionally, release notes that accompany betas have never mentioned this as a known issue.
In a recent podcast, Relay.fm co-founder Myke Kurley said that he’s heard that the decision isn’t a bug, but an intentional design decision.
“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.”
However, Apple has finally confirmed that the features that have been removed in iOS 9.3 will be returning in the next beta. According to the statement, these features needed to be temporarily pulled as the company works on improvements.
“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,” a spokesperson said. “We will add this functionality back in the next beta of iOS 9.3.”
Even though the inability to use the Apple Pencil outside of drawing app has been frustrating for iPad Pro users (at least for those who test iOS beta versions), not you know that your stylus will be fully functional with the next update.