Can You Use an Apple Pencil on a MacBook Pro Trackpad?

If you’ve been wondering whether you can use an Apple Pencil directly on your MacBook, we’ve got you covered. While it may not be possible due to hardware differences, we’ll explore alternative methods that allow you to connect your Apple iPad and MacBook for a seamless drawing and sketching experience. 

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Can You Use an Apple Pencil on a MacBook Pro Trackpad?

While Apple devices offer a range of tools that can be used across different devices, using an Apple Pencil on a MacBook Pro trackpad is not possible due to differences in hardware integration. However, there are alternative methods to connect your iPad and utilize your MacBook Pro trackpad as an extension.

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Key takeaways:

  • Using an Apple Pencil directly on a MacBook Pro trackpad is not possible due to hardware differences and compatibility issues with Apple devices.
  • Alternative methods exist to connect your Apple iPad and MacBook, such as the Sidecar application, Continuity Sketch, and Universal Control.
  • Apple is hinting at the possibility of future MacBook models supporting the Apple Pencil.

Is the Apple Pencil Compatible with a MacBook Pro Trackpad?

These devices feature non-integrated hardware and belong to different generations, so using the Apple Pencil directly on your MacBook trackpad can be challenging.

Fortunately, advancements in technology have opened up alternative ways to connect your Apple iPad and MacBook trackpad, allowing you to utilize the Apple Pencil through this connection. Apple is continually improving its offerings, such as the integration of the iPod Touch, to enhance the user experience further.

Connecting Your Apple iPad and MacBook: Methods and Steps

There are several ways to connect your Apple iPad and MacBook for seamless integration. Here are two methods you can use:

Using the Sidecar Application

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The Sidecar application allows you to make your MacBook Pro compatible with this Apple accessory. By utilizing Sidecar, you can mirror your Apple iPad’s activity on your MacBook’s screen.

Before proceeding, ensure that your devices are compatible with the Sidecar feature by checking the Apple community system. Connect both your Apple iPad and MacBook to the same Wi-Fi network and enable Bluetooth. Make sure you are signed in to the same account on both devices.

To set up Sidecar, follow these steps:

  • Click the Apple logo on your MacBook.
  • Select “System Preferences” and then choose “Displays” from the options.
  • Click on the popup menu and choose your Apple iPad from the list.
  • Your iPad’s screen is now connected to your MacBook, allowing you to operate your MacBook indirectly using your Apple Pencil on the Magic Trackpad, depending on your system preferences.

Using Continuity Sketch

Continuity Sketch is useful for tasks like adding handwritten signatures to documents or creating preliminary sketches on your Apple iPad before finalizing them on your MacBook.

To set up Continuity Sketch, ensure that your devices meet the application requirements listed on Apple’s website. Verify that your devices are connected to the same network and that no conflicting software is present on either device.

Follow these steps to use Continuity Sketch:

  • On your MacBook Pro iPad, open the document you wish to work on.
  • Click on the specific area where you want the sketch or signature to appear.
  • Choose the “File” option from the menu and select “Insert from iPad.”
  • A box will appear on the screen. Select “Add Sketch” from the box.
  • Alternatively, press the CTRL button in the document, choose the action menu, and select “Insert from iPad.” Then, choose “Add Sketch” to create a sketch using your Apple Pencil.

Remember not to save the sketch on your MacBook once you’re done, as it will maintain the same appearance as if it were sketched on an Apple iPad or iPhone.

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Utilizing the Universal Control Feature

The Universal Control feature offers a similar functionality to Sidecar, but with a distinct advantage: it enables you to control your iPad using the keyboard and mouse from your MacBook trackpad, rather than simply extending the display.

One of the benefits of Universal Control is the ability to draw using various apps on your iPad and then seamlessly drag the artwork to your MacBook using the Apple iPad pointer.

To utilize Universal Control effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Verify Compatibility and Establish Connection:
    • Check the Universal Control requirements to ensure compatibility between your selected iPad and MacBook.
    • Connect your iPad Air and MacBook Air’s Magic Trackpad using the same Apple ID, and ensure they are connected to the same Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networks.
  2. Enable Universal Control:
    • On your MacBook Pro, click on the Apple icon on the screen.
    • Choose “System Preferences” and select the “Display” option from the popup window.
    • Enable all the settings by clicking on the Universal Control button.
    • In the “General,” “AirPlay,” “Handoff,” and “Available” options, ensure that your MacBook’s keyboard and cursor are turned on. These settings are essential for Universal Control to function.
  3. Establish Connection between iPad and MacBook:
    • Position your iPad and MacBook close together, adhering to the fundamentals of using Universal Control.
    • Once in close proximity, move the MacBook cursor towards your iPad’s screen.
    • You will notice the pointer appearing on your iPad’s screen, indicating successful connection.
    • Now, you can utilize an Apple Pencil to draw on your iPad while seamlessly controlling it with the MacBook’s keyboard and mouse.

By following these steps, you can harness the power of the Universal Control feature, allowing you to effortlessly draw and control your iPad using your MacBook’s keyboard, trackpad, and mouse.

The Possibility of Future MacBook Models Supporting Apple Pencil

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While currently, using an Apple Pencil with a MacBook Air necessitates the presence of an Apple iPad, Apple is hinting at the potential for future MacBook models to support the Apple Pencil.

Through various demonstrations and illustrations, Apple has provided clues that point towards an Apple Pencil resting on a MacBook iPad and similar scenarios.

These indications suggest a strong likelihood that Apple is actively considering and working towards incorporating configurations that would enable MacBook devices to support the Apple Pencil in the future.

As Apple continues to innovate and enhance its product offerings, it is not far-fetched to anticipate the arrival of MacBook models with built-in Apple Pencil support, providing users with even more versatility and creative possibilities in their workflow.


While using an Apple Pencil directly on a MacBook Pro trackpad is not currently possible due to hardware differences, there are alternative methods to connect your Apple iPad and MacBook for a seamless experience.

As technology evolves, there is a possibility that future MacBook models will support the Apple Pencil.

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