"Master Effective Note-taking on iPadOS 16 with Scribble"

An iPad’s functionality can be enhanced considerably with the addition of an Apple Pencil, particularly when the Scribble feature of iPadOS 16 is activated. Once Scribble is enabled, you can easily handwrite text in any text field by using the Apple Pencil, and the writing will be converted into standard digital text by the operating system automatically.

Woman using an iPad on her desk.

REFER TO: iCloud vs. OneDrive: Which is best for Mac, iPad and iPhone users? (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

If you, like me, tend to use the Apple Pencil frequently for tasks such as interacting with the tablet, enabling and using Scribble can be an absolute timesaver. With Scribble, you can respond to messages and take notes using the Pencil, eliminating the need to put it down, attach or enable the keyboard, and begin typing.

Verifying That Scribble is Enabled on iPadOS 16

iPadOS 16 automatically enables Scribble on compatible iPads. To confirm, access Settings and select Apple Pencil. Make sure the Scribble radio button (illustrated in Figure A) is activated.

Figure A

When an Apple Pencil is coupled with a compatible iPad, iPadOS activates Scribble by default. You can use the Apple Pencil 1st Generation and Scribble on the following iPad models:

  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation and later)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st and 2nd generation)
  • You can use the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation and Scribble on the following iPad models:
  • iPad mini (6th generation)
  • iPad Air (4th generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (all generations)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later)
When an Apple Pencil is paired to an iPad on a compatible device, iPadOS enables Scribble by default.

How To Take Notes with Scribble on iPadOS 16

To take notes within a document, such as Pages, use the Apple Pencil to tap on the document. This will open up the Scribble toolbar (as shown in Figure B). With the help of these tools, you can switch between handwriting recognition and use as a marker, eraser, or other available options.

Figure B

The Scribble Toolbar allows for text adjustments and switching between Apple Pencil operations, such as pen or eraser modes. When using the Apple Pencil, tapping the ellipsis icon will minimize the toolbar. When minimized, you can expand it again by tapping the compact menu.

The Scribble Toolbar showcasing the different tool options, such as the pen, eraser, and text.

To take notes in Pages, Notes (as shown in Figure C), or other compatible apps, ensure that Markup is turned off and that the Handwriting tool is enabled in the Markup toolbar. Then use the Apple Pencil to write within the text field, and iPadOS will instantly convert the handwriting into standard text.

Figure C

Scribble allows for handwriting text within the iPadOS Notes app and other compatible apps. If you need to make any adjustments or corrections, you can use the Scribble toolbar, attach a Magic Keyboard, or enable the iPad’s onscreen keyboard.

Scribble permits handwriting text within the iPadOS Notes application, among other apps.

Scribble is a fabulous tool for note-taking on an iPad that is loaded with a host of benefits. You can easily erase a word by jotting it out and identify the desired space to add text by holding the Apple Pencil at the specific spot - iPadOS will open up an empty space for you. Furthermore, circling text to highlight and move is a fantastic feature - select the text by dragging the Pencil in a lasso motion and drop it in your desired location. Additionally, Scribble offers double-tap word selection and triple-tap paragraph selection functionalities.

Disabling Scribble is a piece of cake too! Simply open Apple Pencil settings and turn off the Scribble radio button.

For more tips related to iPad and iOS 16 Control Center customization, read Erik Eckel's informative articles: how to customize the iPadOS 16 Control Center and how to extend the iPad’s battery life.

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