Using your iPad with Stylus

8 May

There are lots of accessories for the various generations of iPad, but catching my eye recently were the range of styluses available.  What is a stylus?  Basically, it is a pen for your iPad or iPhone (or finger-alternative perhaps?)  There are many models available and a quick internet search will show you more than you thought.  I simply went down to electronics and entertainment section of  my local Big W store and found a nice range there.  There was a blingy stylus for the yummy mummy or glamour iPad user, one that had a real pen inside, some attached to iPad stands, and styluses in various colours.  They all work exactly the same, so I picked two of the more basic varieties, each just under $20.  Shop around and you will find similar styluses at similar or cheaper prices.  Any of these styluses will work on any touch screen device, including other Tablets and Smart Phones.

Why Use a Stylus?

Accuracy – The main advantage of a stylus over just using a finger is accuracy.  This might not matter much with most of the apps I’ve reviewed here, but it is certainly a bonus when it comes to drawing. For most drawing and for large writing (e.g. in painting Apps) I find that the finger works just as well, but if you want to do small details, the stylus can be very useful.  I can’t speak from experience for iPhone or iPod touch users, but I imagine it would be a lot easier to use the keyboard with a stylus than with a finger.  Perhaps someone could offer a comment below.

Clarity – When using my finger, I sometimes find that my hand obscures much of the screen and even the point I’m tapping.  Using the stylus has meant that I have been able to see what I’m tapping more accurately.  I took a couple of photos below to compare my hand and the stylus.  (I was taking the photos with my left hand in a rather awkward position, so do excuse the lack of professional quality.)

Using my finger to draw – obviously not in the running for the National Art prize.

The Gecko Stylus – You can see more area around the tip of the stylus than you can around the tip of my finger.

Cleanliness – Although I make my children wash their hands before they use the iPad, and despite having a screen guard permanently on my iPad, it quickly becomes covered with finger prints and general muck.  Using the stylus has made a noticeable difference to the cleanliness of my iPad screen, and I am not having to wipe it as often.

Which Style of Stylus?

As mentioned above there are many styluses available, and all the ones I have seen feature the same type of soft, rounded rubber tip that mimics your finger tip.  I went for two basic models, but feel free to go for the ones covered with bling, shaped like rocket ships or crayons, or any other quirky one you might find in a store or in cyberspace.

The first of my styluses is the Belkin Stylus Pen for iPad/Tablet.  It feels like I’m holding a normal pen and it has a clip that means it could be clipped to folders, notebooks etc.  As it is shorter than the average pen, I find it easy to slip into my wallet, and it looks classy.

My Gecko Stylus GLOW pink and my Belkin stylus.

The Gecko Stylus GLOW Pink is my second stylus. (This is also available in green, orange and blue.)  This stylus is fluorescent in colour and glow-in-the-dark, so is easy to find both in the day and the night as it stands out (unless your children have scattered bright crayons around with gay abandon).  The Gecko Stylus GLOW has been designed for children to use and features an ergonomic, triangular grip and a rubber exterior.   You won’t have to worry about it scratching your iPad screen.  It is the same length as my first stylus and a similar weight, but I have to confess that I find it more comfortable to use.  Not that the other one isn’t comfortable, but the triangular grip and the non-slip rubber just feels nicer in my hand.  More importantly, I can now get my children to practice their pencil grip while they are practicing their hand writing using rED Writing and another handwriting App that will be reviewed shortly.  It is a little chunkier than the Belkin stylus so I won’t be trying to slip it into the wallet.


Now that I’ve tried them, I think I’d miss the stylus if it wasn’t around.  I can do everything I want to on the iPad without one, but it makes life easier (and more accurate) with one, so you could say that it adds a little extra functionality.  I like the way that I can see more of the screen while I use it.  I know there are a few Mums who read this blog who might like to know that the one with all the bling is under $30 if you want to drop hints for Mothers’ Day.

10 Responses to “Using your iPad with Stylus”

  1. Hiking Mama 09/05/2012 at 1:14 am #

    Thanks for sharing. I had thought about trying a stylus, but wasn’t too sure about it. Your post was very timely and helpful 🙂

  2. Frank murphy 15/03/2013 at 7:12 pm #


    • Sarah DeBellis 15/03/2013 at 7:38 pm #

      Hi Frank. I’m not sure what is going on. I’m sorry you are having such difficulties using what is essentially a pen for a touch screen. If you are using the stylus with an iPad, iPhone or any other device with a touch screen, it should respond the same way it does when you use your finger. If it isn’t working, you might need to change the pressure you use. The other thing that can cause problems is if the screen is dirty. I haven’t had any problems with mine so I’m sorry you are having problems. The only other things I could suggest are contacting the store you bought it from or contacting Belkin or Apple. Of course, if you are trying to use it with a computer screen that is not a touch screen, you are not going to have any luck.

  3. Pablo Bannatyne 10/02/2014 at 12:36 pm #

    Hi Onsarahsipad,
    Maybe a little off topic, however I am receiving an iPad for use in college (I go to two significant educational facilities so I have to have to have as little function as attainable) and I am preparing on taking notes/filling out papers on it. I know I can variety notes and that type of detail but I will require to write too. I was thinking if anyone knew of a stylus with a pointier suggestion that built it less difficult to write neatly? All of the kinds I have are a nubby tip so it is tough to generate or attract properly. I dont know if they make one particular with a idea a lot more like a pencil, but if anybody knows of one that would be fantastic. Thank you!
    Great Job!

    • Sarah DeBellis 20/03/2014 at 11:57 am #

      Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. I have a friend who uses an Adonit Swivel pro stylus and it is like writing with a pen. I’ve noticed they have a lot of different models at different prices. I had a play with it and found it to have great accuracy, and the fine point meant that I could really target exactly where I wanted it to go. Possibly the best one I’ve used for handwriting. This is just one model in the Amazon store, but there are a lot of others. You might want to search for them. I’m not sure about local suppliers, but there maybe someone who stocks them near you. Adonit Jot Pro Fine Point Stylus for iPad, iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPhone, & Kindle Fire – Gun Metal


  1. School Writing – the Must-Have App for all schools « On Sarah's iPad - 02/07/2012

    […] with a finger is one way to reinforce letter and number shapes, but I’d strongly recommend using a stylus to help develop good writing skills with a good pencil grip.  There are heaps available, but the […]

  2. School Fonts – Learn to Write: Review and Giveaway « On Sarah's iPad - 10/10/2012

    […] will help children to learn the different patterns, letters and numbers, but I would suggest trying a stylus to practice pencil-grip […]

  3. Literacy by Demografix « On Sarah's iPad - 01/11/2012

    […] Students might find it easier to use a stylus for some activities. There are many types available, including two I reviewed earlier this year. […]

  4. School Writing Revisited – Version 2 delivers | On Sarah's iPad - 23/08/2013

    […] with a finger is one way to reinforce letter and number shapes, but I’d strongly recommend using a stylus to help develop good writing skills with a good pencil grip.  There are heaps available, but the […]

  5. JukeStyle Stylus Review and Giveaway | On Sarah's iPad - 17/09/2013

    […] Although tablets and smart phones work well with fingers, I still like to use a stylus. I now have several of them, including a couple I reviewed last year.   […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: