14 Must-Know iPad Tips & Tricks
Whether you’re new to the iPad or a longtime user, here are some great tips to help you get the most out of the device. A few of these are intended for using on the new iPad, but most of them will be relevant to all iPad models of all ages.
Switch the Mute Button to Orientation Lock
Tap on Settings > General > Use Side Switch to: Lock Orientation. The side switch defaults to mute, but with volume buttons right underneath it this makes no sense, and there’s nothing more annoying than an iPad screen that’s constantly rotating if you’re reading in bed.
Double-Tap Home Button to Access Brightness
The iPad screen is extraordinarily bright, this is wonderful for daytime use but give your eyes some rest in dimmer environments and at night time by manually adjusting the brightness, just double-tap the Home button and swipe right until you see the brightness indicator, and adjust manually as the lighting fits.
Use the Split Keyboard
Typing while holding the iPad is made much easier by using the split keyboard. Just pull apart the keyboard by swiping with both thumbs from the center outward, or tap the little keyboard icon in the lower right corner and pull it up, the keyboard will split in two and be much easier to type on using your thumbs while holding the device.
Use Speech Dictation
Speaking of typing, why type when you don’t have to? The dictation feature works really well, just tap the little microphone icon and speak, tap it again when you’re finished for your words to be translated into text
Remember the Multitasking Gestures
You have three basic multitasking gestures which are enabled by default, remember these and use them. Arguably the most useful is the four-fingered app switcher, but learn them all.
- Four finger swipe to return to Home screen
- Four finger swipe up to reveal multitasking bar
- Four finger swipe left or right to switch between open apps
Add 6 Items to the Dock
By default the dock contains four items, but it can hold up to six on the iPad. Just tap an hold on an icon until it jiggles, then drag a couple more apps, folders, or website that you use frequently into the dock.
Move Unused Apps into a Folder
Everyone has a handful of default apps they don’t use at all but that can’t be deleted, for me that’s Game Center, iTunes, YouTube, Contacts, and iBooks. Move them all into a folder and put it on another screen to get them out of the way. Unfortunately you can’t move Newsstand into another folder, so just throw that onto a second page if you don’t use it.
Bookmark Favorite Websites to Home Screen
While in Safari, load up your favorite websites (like this one) and tap on the box with an arrow in it, alongside the URL Bar. Select “Add to Home Screen” and give each site a short name so it doesn’t abbreviate itself. Better yet, make a whole folder full of your favorite websites bookmarks.
Don’t Use Black or Dark Wallpaper
The darker the wallpaper, the more you’ll see screen smudges and glare. Try to use a lighter wallpaper image and you won’t see all the oils and fingerprints nearly as much
Disable In-App Purchases
This is mostly for those who share an iPad with other people or with kids, but the last thing you want is someone accidentally charging up your iTunes account with nonsensical or accidental in-app purchases. Disable these easily by tapping on Settings > General > Restrictions > Enable Restrictions, then scroll down to “Allowed Content” and swipe In-App Purchases to OFF.
Take Screen Shots
Want to show off your iPad home screen or a cool app? Take a screen shot! Hold down the Home button and tap the Power button briefly, you’ll hear the familiar screenshot sound and the screen flashes white. Screen shots are stored within the Photos library, and can be messaged, emailed, or just preserved for posterity.
Set Up Mail and iMessage
The iPad makes a great communication device, be sure to set up iMessage and Mail so you can talk to people easily and for free.
iCloud syncs messages, mail, reminders, bookmarks, enables Find My iPad, and provides for the most painless backup solution there is. It’s easy to configure and free, here is how to set it up if you haven’t done so already
Enable Find My iPad
Find My iPad lets you locate your iPad (or iPhone, Mac, or iPod touch) on a map, allowing you to see exactly where it is, and even letting you send messages and remotely wipe your data. This goes along with setting up iCloud, but if you don’t have it enabled you can turn it on after configuring iCloud by tapping on Settings > iCloud > Find My iPad > ON. Hopefully you won’t need this, if you ever lose your iPad you’ll be happy to have it enabled.
Want more? Check out our iPad archives!