Apple Pencil hover feature gets more powerful in iPadOS 16.4

Home » Apple Pencil hover feature gets more powerful in iPadOS 16.4
Apple Pencil hover feature gets more powerful in iPadOS 16.4


One of the features of iPadOS 16.4 is an improved Apple Pencil hover feature, in the form of support for Tilt and Azimuth.

Apple and Procreate execs have highlighted the benefits to both users and developers of the latest feature for iPad Pro and Apple Pencil users …

Apple Pencil hover feature

The first version of the Apple Pencil hover feature was first introduced in October of last year, and was intended to save artists the hassle of trial and error when it came to selecting the desired brush stroke. Instead of having to try one and undo, the hover feature presents a preview of the stroke, so that they can adjust it to suit before committing it to paper screen.

Apple Pencil is now detected up to 12 mm above the display, allowing users to see a preview of their mark before they make it. This also allows users to sketch and illustrate with even greater precision, and makes everything users do with Apple Pencil even more effortless.

The feature was warmly welcomed by Procreate.

According to Procreate CEO James Cuda, the Hover feature helps artists and creators draw with even more precision. “The ability to not make a commitment or damage the artwork is transformative,” Cuda says.

iPadOS 16.4 adds Tilt and Azimuth

With iPadOS 16.4, the hover feature gains support for Tilt and Azimuth. Apple’s director of input experience Leslie Ikemoto told TechCrunch that the preview is now more accurate and precise.

“If you look at Procreate, they have the pencil brush, which is small and thin when you’re perpendicular to the display, and then gets wider as you Tilt for shading,” says Ikemoto. “With Tilt and Azimuth, Procreate can render an exact outline of the mark that you’re going to make when you set down your pencil brush, and that’s a huge accelerator for their users.”

Neither Ikemoto nor TechCrunch explain what the Azimuth feature does exactly, but the name suggests that it adjusts the brush preview not only by the vertical tilt of the Pencil, but also the horizontal angle at which it is held – that is, whether you are angling it to the right or left.

Apple also emphasized that developers need do little to no work to support the features.

 “We wanted hover to be as easy to adapt as possible, so we used the existing APIs that we used for the Magic Keyboard Trackpad,” Ikemoto adds. “That’s UIPointerInteraction and UIHoverGestureRecognizer. For developers who have already adopted UI pointer interaction in their app, they get Apple Pencil hover for free without doing any work. It will just work. Developers who want a more custom experience with hover can use UI hover gesture recognizer, which we’ve extended to report the location of the tip of the Pencil in 3D and also the angle at which the Pencil is being held.”

Alongside the Apple Pencil hover enhancements, check out more iPadOS 16.4 features here.

Photo: Procreate

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