Photo by Apple
Charging an Apple Pencil Can Keep You From Unlocking Your Car
File this one under “Apple news of the weird.” On the main support document about the Apple Pencil, the company now acknowledges that when a second-generation Apple Pencil is charging from an iPad Pro, it can interfere with car key fobs. Apple says:
If you’re charging your Apple Pencil (2nd generation) with your iPad Pro and your car’s keyless entry device (key fob) is nearby, signal interference might prevent you from unlocking your car with your key fob. If this happens, you can simply move your iPad Pro away from the key fob or remove your Apple Pencil from your iPad Pro and store it separately. When Apple Pencil is finished charging, any resulting signal interference will cease.
Chances are that this is very much an edge case, but if you own an iPad Pro and a second-generation Apple Pencil and have trouble unlocking your car, you now know what to check!
I’ve experienced this several times now.
The way this story written suggests it is unlikely because who charges their Apple Pencil in their car? But when I carry my iPad and Pencil (2nd generation), I have to connect the Pencil to the iPad or I’ll arrive at my destination with a dead Pencil. My 2019 Toyota key often refuses to work when I carry the fob and the iPad+Pencil in the same bag or backpack.
Once you are used to keyless entry, t’s really annoying to have to dig for the fob. I’m experimenting with different pockets to see if I can figure out where I can store the fob and still be able to get into my car reliably.
This wouldn’t be a problem if the Pencil was like the first generation unit and would hold its charge when stored separately in a bag. Or, if you could turn off the Pencil so it wouldn’t stay active (and kill the battery) when it sensed it was in motion near the iPad.
We’re suggesting it’s an edge case because there are a lot of variables that all need to be true for it to affect you. But we published it to begin with because we thought it was sufficiently annoying and hard to track down that anyone who was experiencing it would appreciate knowing what was happening.
Join the discussion in the TidBITS Discourse forum