Apple Pencil Needs an Eraser and Swipe Gestures for Cut, Copy, Paste, Undo, Redo [Update]

Apple Pencil

Apple should update the Apple Pencil. I’ve been using it as of late and enjoy it with the iPad Pro, but it needs a few things to make it a lot more useful. Basically, we need to add an eraser, copy, paste, undo and redo to this thing. Here’s a simple demo of how it might work.

For copy we could add a swipe gesture. Single tap and then drag your finger upwards along the flat pencil edge. Then for cut, we could repeat that gesture twice, i.e., conveying: “I really want to get this selection off the page.” Then the reverse of copy for the paste gesture: single tap, and then push your finger downwards towards the pencil point.

For undo, a double tap and swipe up. For redo, double tap and push down.

For the eraser, Apple needs to cave and make the back of the pencil behave like an eraser so you can flip it around, and use the back end to erase.  Maybe texture the back of the Apple Pencil a bit to feel different when you use it on an iPad.  Perhaps this could also double as a broad brush in some apps. But the standard behavior should be an eraser just like in the real world.

Then leave single tap and double tap gestures as-is (to be application assignable).

I know this would make my work flow worlds more productive. What do you think? Register your votes or comments below, or better yet, vote in this Twitter poll we posted.

UPDATE: This article was updated changing the cut gesture from a triple click to doing the copy gesture twice instead.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Are You out of your freaking mind, John? Were you on the Apple Remote design team? I’d never be able to get this pencil you describe near the screen without it messing up my whiteboard, turning the lights off, locking the doors and putting the iPad into a state that needs a factory reset to recover! …So nice to hear you again, John. I’m your biggest fan. You’re an island of don’t-hold-back-tell-me-what-you-really-think in a sea of others making excuses for Apple’s every head-scratching decision. HOWEVER… What’s wrong with tap an object to get a pop-up menu (cut, copy, paste, move,… Read more »


Great podcast, and you redeemed yourself in style, going off about other topics… except this one. Good to hear from you again. You’re still the best Apple commentator, despite this minor slip. );


This is an excellent idea John. Unfortunately my own handwriting is horrible so typing is my preferred means of writing but I know many who would love this.


This is an excellent idea John. Unfortunately my own handwriting is horrible so typing is my preferred means of writing but I know mayn who would love this.

Lee Dronick

Maybe a touch sensitive, or button, on the side towards the tip.

Lee Dronick

I do not yet have a Pencil 2. I still have some life in my older model iPad Pro and Pencil 1.

“Hey Siri, copy highlighted text”