Inability to Use Apple Pencil for Navigation in iOS 9.3 Appears to be Intentional

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Over the course of the iOS 9.3 beta testing period, iPad Pro users running the update have noticed a disturbing feature removal that limits the functionality of the Apple Pencil. In the current version of iOS, iOS 9.2, the Apple Pencil can be used for navigational purposes, just like a finger. It's possible to tap on buttons, select text, scroll, swipe between apps, access menus, and access general editing controls in non-drawing apps.

    With iOS 9.3, much of that functionality has been removed. The Apple Pencil is no longer able to be used for selecting and manipulating text or doing things like scrolling -- it's only available for selecting buttons and drawing, sketching, and writing within apps.


    Early on, Apple Pencil users thought the feature removal was perhaps a bug, but full Apple Pencil functionality has not been restored in later betas and the release notes that accompany betas have never mentioned the Apple Pencil's inability to be used for navigational purposes as a known issue. In a recent podcast, co-founder Myke Hurley said he's heard that the decision isn't a bug, but an intentional design decision.
    Earlier today, iMore's Serenity Caldwell wrote an opinion piece outlining the issue and calling on Apple not to remove the Apple Pencil's existing capabilities. In her post, she points out the Apple Pencil can no longer be used for tasks like editing videos in iMovie for iOS.
    Many iPad Pro users have come to rely on the Apple Pencil as a finger replacement in some situations, and it is not entirely clear why Apple has opted to eliminate that functionality. iOS 9.3 is expected to be released in the spring, perhaps at Apple's March 15 event, which means the end of the beta testing period is fast approaching. As Caldwell points out, Apple still has time to re-add the Apple Pencil features back into the operating system ahead of that date.

    Article Link: Inability to Use Apple Pencil for Navigation in iOS 9.3 Appears to be Intentional
  2. gugy macrumors 68020

    Jan 31, 2005
    La Jolla, CA
  3. Paddle1 macrumors 68020

    May 1, 2013
    Well, this was what Steve was talking about...
  4. teknikal90 macrumors 68030


    Jan 28, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
  5. Norbs12 macrumors regular


    Apr 24, 2015
    Mountain View, CA
    Yeah, that strikes me as being pretty odd. At least make it a setting you can toggle.
  6. Zwhaler, Feb 22, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016

    Zwhaler macrumors 603


    Jun 10, 2006
    A $1,000 tablet can't use the stylus to navigate? Even worse is that it obviously can and the feature is being held back. Let's hope they enable it as they ought to.
  7. iisdan macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2010
    Makes sense. Apple has always known to remove the ability for a developer to provide poor user experience.
  8. farewelwilliams macrumors 6502a

    Jun 18, 2014
    *moves finger to select text*

    *releases finger off the screen*

    *iOS selects an additional character at the end*

    *touches the screen to move the slider to unselect the additional character*

    *it unselected too many characters*

    *touches the screen to move the slider to reselect the missing character*

    gg apple
  9. xnu macrumors regular


    Jul 15, 2004
  10. iLoveDeveloping macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2009
    Maybe it made Safari snappier when used in the app and Apple didn't like it! "It's to dam snappy I tell you, remove it.."
  11. theheadguy macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2005
    Apple will tell you what you're going to like, and you're going to like it!
  12. HiVolt macrumors 6502


    Sep 29, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    Heh, sometimes you wonder who makes these kinds of decisions... Release with a prominent feature, then take it away without consequence.

    I wonder if they'll refund anyone who brings the iPad Pro & Pencil back to the store.
  13. profets macrumors 68020

    Mar 18, 2009
    I can see what Apple is trying to do, but losing the ability to use the Pencil for fine controls, like editing video and audio, and selecting text doesn't seem like the best idea.
  14. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Well then it shouldn't have been in there in the first place. I find it useful. The Pencil never did everything a finger did (e.g. it doesn't activate the Notification screen in iOS 9.2), but things like selecting text and scrolling are useful features, particularly since if you already have the pencil in your hand, it's easier to scroll a list or the UI with it.
  15. joueboy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 3, 2008
    Once again Apple making decisions for us. That is why we love their products, because we know that they know what's best for us. I love it...!
  16. topdrawer macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2012
    this is awful. i don't use the pencil but i was planning to eventually. i use a wacom stylus plus touch on my mac, and switching between stylus and touch is not smooth or fun. i like to use on or the other for periods of time.
  17. sza macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2010
  18. Monkeydude macrumors member

    May 12, 2011
    Hamburg, Germany
    They told you years ago, that nobody needs a stylus. They showed you in 9.2 what it can do and in 9.3 they show you that you don't need it. Apple knows what is best for you. Who are you to doubt that.
  19. edgr.sanchez macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2013
    It makes sense, the Pencil is not meant to be used as a tool to navigate the UI with, it's meant to be used for drawing.

    Why Apple decided to introduce the Pencil WITH that feature is beyond me. They should have left it like it was instead of taking it away.
  20. MH01 macrumors G3


    Feb 11, 2008
    Navigating with the pencil was a positive experience for me .
  21. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 603


    Oct 13, 2008
    Everywhere And Nowhere
  22. Mascots macrumors 65816


    Sep 5, 2009
    It seems a lot like what happened with Apple and the switch on the iPad. Originally, it went back and forth as a "Flip to Mute" and "Flip to Lock Orientation" before Apple finally just added an option in Settings to please both camps.

    I could see the same happening here as there are implications for both decisions.
  23. 2010mini macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2013
  24. BruceEBonus macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2007
    Derbyshire, England
    A stylus is a finger replacement (obviously) so its right that Apple ensures it doesn't work otherwise fingers could seize up and eventually become redundant and fall off! It's a matter of using it in moderation .... for example a stylus can safely and sensibly for pointing at things. Or simulating a real pen. Or .... Oh no ... What am I saying? Its a marketing disaster and has now been known as Tims Second Folly (the Watch was his first) so it's no surprise why it's been neglected already ... Waste or eighty quid that was. Just wait til my missus finds out what I bought ... She's gonna kill me!
  25. Glideslope macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2007
    Another asinine move by the "Executive Daycare Team." :apple:

Share This Page