Apple confirms: iOS 9.3 won’t break Pencil functionality, back in next beta
Do you fear software updates, or look forward to them with open arms? In general, yes, updates bring new features, fix outstanding bugs, and do all they can to make our user experience as enjoyable as it can be. But then there are always those updates we dread, ones that end up removing existing functionality, all in the name of … well, we’re sure the dev had what seemed like a good reason, but we’re sad to see those features go, all the same. With its upcoming release of iOS 9.3, Apple’s certainly delivering some valuable-looking new abilities, but we’ve been worried they’d come at the cost of important Apple Pencil functionality. Now Apple’s speaking up to put our fears to rest, assuring us that the Pencil will keep on being just as useful as ever.
The problem first started popping up in earlier iOS 9.3 beta releases, where testers on the iPad Pro noticed that they could no longer use their Apple Pencil for general navigation throughout the system’s UI – tap input and text-related stuff still worked, but you couldn’t use the Pencil as a stand-in for your finger, swiping around apps as you pleased.
Apple explains that it’s been working on ways to improve the navigation experience with the Pencil, and while that meant disabling some functionality for these past few betas, it’s coming back:
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. We will add this functionality back in the next beta of iOS 9.3.
With the public release of iOS 9.3 expected to just be a few more weeks away we were starting to get worried that we wouldn’t be seeing any more big changes like this; luckily for Apple Pencil fans, it seems there’s indeed time left for some last-minute salvation.
Now it just remains to be seen what all this Apple Pencil tinkering spells for rumors of stylus support on the iPad Air 3.