A future Apple Pencil might let you find it via the Find My app

A Find My Apple Pencil feature could be in the works, but it’s probably going to require a future stylus from Apple capable of vibrating when nearby.

Closeup showcasing the end of Apple Pencil with branding, with a blurred iPad Pro in the background
Apple Pencil stylus was last updated in 2018 | Image: Daniel Korpai/Unsplash
  • A future Apple Pencil might support location tracking via the Find My network and use acoustic signals to telegraph its location.
  • This would benefit users as the Pencil is very easy to lose due to its size.
  • However, such a feature can’t be implemented on existing Pencils via software because those models can’t emit sound as they lack a built-in speaker.

Find My Apple Pencil could be in the works

Playing a high-pitched sound is helpful when locating a lost device via the Find My app on the iPhone, iPad, Mac and iCloud.com. You can make a device play a sound in Lost Mode to help you find it once you’re nearby. The sound emitted gradually increases in volume, playing for approximately two minutes.

Might Apple make the current Pencil models compatible with the Find My network?

It might. The Pencil has Bluetooth that the Find My network uses to detect and report a missing device’s location. But without alerting a nearby user of its presence in the physical world, spotting the tiny stylus is easier said than done.

Apple may attempt to solve this problem with a future Pencil.

A recent patent application it filed with the US Patent & Trademark Office under application number 20230161545 describes the use of acoustic resonators within the device’s end-cap to play a sound and produce vibrations.

Apple Pencil may get acoustic resonators

Patent drawing showing a future Apple Pencil with an acoustic resonator in the cap
Acoustic resonators within an Apple Pencil | Image: Apple/USPTO

Titled “Peripheral device with acoustic resonators,” the invention outlines locating a lost stylus or another peripheral input device by leveraging acoustic resonators. In one embodiment, the resonators could be located underneath the cap at the top of the stylus, which currently houses the haptic feedback module.

“Locating a lost stylus or other peripheral input device can be made possible by acoustic resonators integrated within housing structures of the stylus,” Apple posits.

“Acoustic resonators can be formed at an end of the stylus opposite its tip and can include portions of the stylus outer housing that are thinned down to an engineered thickness that has a particular resonant behavior or frequency,” it continues.

“The drive signal generated at the haptic module can be transferred to the acoustic resonators through a path of material that mechanically couples the acoustic resonators to the haptic module,” reads the description.

The importance of a resonant frequency

Patent drawing showing a closeup of an acoustic resonator within an Apple Pencil cap
Resonant frequency would make a Pencil vibrate | Image: Apple/USPTO

An acoustic resonator emits a resonant frequency that makes a medium vibrate at the highest amplitude. In the context of Apple’s idea, your iPhone would emit a sound matching the resonant frequency of the Apple Pencil’s cap.

Doing so would make an Apple Pencil vibrate audibly, making it easier to find if you’re within Bluetooth range—assuming your hearing is good and the stylus is nearby. For those wondering, the patent application leaves no room for implementing this feature on the existing Pencil models in software.

Will this invention see the light of day?

Patent drawing showing how an acoustic resonator in a future Apple Pencil would emit sound
Crucially, a user must be within acoustic range | Image: Apple/USPTO

We don’t know if Apple will add acoustic resonators to the next Pencil or a later model. Also, Apple often patents various solutions as a defensive strategy, so there’s no guarantee that this invention will ever see the light of day.

Finding a lost Pencil using an iPad

In the meantime, first and second-generation Pencil owners can resort to our tips for finding a lost Apple Pencil using their iPad. One of the tips involves going to Settings > Bluetooth and seeing if your Pencil shows up there, indicating the stylus is within Bluetooth range of 10 to 15 feet, or about five meters.

Another solution requires downloading a specialized Bluetooth tracker app. However, both solutions have limited utility because they can only be used to locate a lost Apple stylus on a map if you’re within Bluetooth range.