iPadOS 18 Allows Apps to Offer Custom Drawing Tools for Apple Pencil

Starting with iPadOS 18, which will be widely released later this year, iPad apps can offer custom drawing tools for the Apple Pencil.

iPadOS 18 Custom Drawing Tool Apple Pencil
For example, in a WWDC 2024 coding video last week, Apple demonstrated how an app could implement a tool that allows for cat paw prints and other animal-related symbols to be added to a drawing. The custom tools support features on the new Apple Pencil Pro, including the squeeze gesture and barrel roll action.

iOS 18 and visionOS 2 also support custom drawing tools in apps, but the iPhone and Vision Pro do not support the Apple Pencil. As always, any drawing tool can also be controlled with your finger and other input methods.

iPadOS 18 Custom Drawing Tool Apple Pencil 2
In addition to custom tools, apps across iPadOS 18, iOS 18, and visionOS 2 are able to change the selection of default drawing tools that appear in the system tool picker. Apple said apps are even able to offer multiple tools of the same type for added convenience, such as two colors of pens or two colors of markers.

iPadOS 18, iOS 18, and visionOS 2 are currently in beta.

Related Roundups: iOS 18, iPadOS 18

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Top Rated Comments

NMBob Avatar
3 weeks ago
Isn't it a violation of human rights or something that the iPencil doesn't work on other tablets, and that other tablets can't use the iPencil? Where's the EU when you need them?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PlayUltimate Avatar
3 weeks ago
it would be nice if the Apple Pencil was usable on the iPhone Maxes. They are almost as big as iPad Minis.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
boak Avatar
3 weeks ago

it would be nice if the Apple Pencil was usable on the iPhone Maxes. They are almost as big as iPad Minis.
I believe the iPad mini's screen area is more like double the screen area of the iPhone 15 Pro Max?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PlayUltimate Avatar
3 weeks ago

I believe the iPad mini's screen area is more like double the screen area of the iPhone 15 Pro Max?
Agree that the physical dimension is double in size. And the screen resolution of the iPPM 15 is higher than that of the current iPad mini. I still think the pencil would work well for notes et al on the phone.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
holmesf Avatar
3 weeks ago
They say this but the support for custom tools is very bare bones. The custom tools get a very generic look in the tool picker with only a basic icon to differentiate them from built-in tools (see the paw print icon on the custom tool in the screen grabs). The custom tool content also has to be rendered in a separate view from the rest of the drawing, so developers do not benefit from Apple's gesture handling or low latency rendering. For this reason developers cannot intermix their custom tool drawing content with the built-in tool drawing content. If you run the sample code the paw prints are always on top of the built-in tool content, even if you go in and try to draw on top of them, which is pretty unacceptable.

I hear a lot of people suggesting that developers "just use pencil kit". But for many applications it's just not flexible enough and continues to not be flexible enough.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)