Apple Pencil Navigation Functionality to Return in Next iOS 9.3 Beta

The early iOS 9.3 betas removed key functionality from the Apple Pencil, an unpopular move that eliminated its ability to be used for navigation. There were rumors suggesting the feature removal was intentional, but Apple today told The Verge that's not the case.

apple_pencil_white
Apple has confirmed that the features that have been removed in iOS 9.3 will be returning in the next beta, and that they have been 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."

Since the first iOS 9.3 beta, the Apple Pencil has not been able to be used for tasks like selecting text, scrolling, swiping between apps, accessing menus, and general editing functions in non-drawing apps. These are all features that are available in iOS 9.2, and their absence from four betas in a row led customers to think the removal was both permanent and intentional.

The inability to use the Apple Pencil for navigating has been frustrating for iPad Pro owners, and many of our own MacRumors readers said they would not upgrade to the new operating system if it meant being unable to use the iPad Pro outside of drawing apps.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Related Forums: iPad, iPad Accessories

Top Rated Comments

cdm283813 Avatar
106 months ago
This is why it's good to complain people. Just don't sit there and take it.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
trifid Avatar
106 months ago
Good to see public outcry influences Apple.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
XTheLancerX Avatar
106 months ago
Wow, that is extremely weird of Apple to say something so exact like this, like "It's coming in next beta" rather than be all secretive and vague.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DoctorTech Avatar
106 months ago
That is good to hear. Now hopefully the feature will be compatible with iPad Air 3 :)
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GFLPraxis Avatar
106 months ago
Where did you read that in the article?
Apple made the statement so fast because of the public outcry. When Macrumors, Serenity Caldwell, and John Gruber are writing their opinion on it, it's hit the Mac scene big.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Porco Avatar
106 months ago
Good news.

"We believe a finger will always be the primary way users navigate on an iPad"
They would also believe that a finger will always be the primary way to respond to the FBI, were it not for the need to make those actual pesky legal argument things....
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

iOS 18 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Friday April 12, 2024 11:11 am PDT by
iOS 18 is expected to be the "biggest" update in the iPhone's history. Below, we recap rumored features and changes for the iPhone. iOS 18 is rumored to include new generative AI features for Siri and many apps, and Apple plans to add RCS support to the Messages app for an improved texting experience between iPhones and Android devices. The update is also expected to introduce a more...
iOS NES Emulator Bimmy Feature

NES Emulator for iPhone and iPad Now Available on App Store [Removed]

Tuesday April 16, 2024 11:33 am PDT by
The first approved Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) emulator for the iPhone and iPad was made available on the App Store today following Apple's rule change. The emulator is called Bimmy, and it was developed by Tom Salvo. On the App Store, Bimmy is described as a tool for testing and playing public domain/"homebrew" games created for the NES, but the app allows you to load ROMs for any...
iGBA Feature

Apple Removes Game Boy Emulator iGBA From App Store Due to Spam and Copyright Violations

Sunday April 14, 2024 9:22 pm PDT by
Apple today said it removed Game Boy emulator iGBA from the App Store for violating the company's App Review Guidelines related to spam (section 4.3) and copyright (section 5.2), but it did not provide any specific details. iGBA was a copycat version of developer Riley Testut's open-source GBA4iOS app. The emulator rose to the top of the App Store charts following its release this weekend,...
Delta Feature

Delta Game Emulator Now Available From App Store on iPhone

Wednesday April 17, 2024 9:58 am PDT by
Game emulator apps have come and gone since Apple announced App Store support for them on April 5, but now popular game emulator Delta from developer Riley Testut is available for download. Testut is known as the developer behind GBA4iOS, an open-source emulator that was available for a brief time more than a decade ago. GBA4iOS led to Delta, an emulator that has been available outside of...
iGBA Feature

Game Boy Emulator for iPhone Now Available in App Store Following Rule Change [Removed]

Sunday April 14, 2024 8:06 am PDT by
A week after Apple updated its App Review Guidelines to permit retro game console emulators, a Game Boy emulator for the iPhone called iGBA has appeared in the App Store worldwide. The emulator is already one of the top free apps on the App Store charts. It was not entirely clear if Apple would allow emulators to work with all and any games, but iGBA is able to load any Game Boy ROMs that...
iPhone 15 Pro Action Button Translate

All iPhone 16 Models to Feature Action Button, But Usefulness Debated

Tuesday April 16, 2024 6:54 am PDT by
Last September, Apple's iPhone 15 Pro models debuted with a new customizable Action button, offering faster access to a handful of functions, as well as the ability to assign Shortcuts. Apple is poised to include the feature on all upcoming iPhone 16 models, so we asked iPhone 15 Pro users what their experience has been with the additional button so far. The Action button replaces the switch ...