10 iPadOS 13 Tips You Should Know for iPad

Oct 1, 2019 - 7 Comments

Must know iPadOS 13 tips and tricks

Now that iPadOS 13 (well, 13.1.2) is in the wild, you might be wondering what some of the most compelling features are for the latest and greatest operating system for iPad.

Whether you have an iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, or iPad mini, read on to learn some of the new must-know features and tips to try out in iPadOS 13.

1: Try Dark Mode

Dark Mode changes the entire interface of iPadOS to be much darker (unsurprisingly as the name implies) which can make the visual appearance easier on the eyes for some users, and others may just prefer the way it looks in general.

You can change from Dark Mode (and Light Mode) appearance themes at anytime by going to:

Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Choose “Dark”

Dark Mode in iPadOS

Some people may want to use Dark Mode all the time, but otherwise Dark Mode works particularly well when set on a schedule to turn on and off automatically from sunset to sunrise.

2: Get Home Screen Widgets with Today View

The Today section can now be pinned to the iPad Home Screen, letting you get a quick glance on the Home Screen for things like weather, Reminders, upcoming appointments in Calendar, stocks, Shortcuts, and so much more. If it’s a widget available in the Today section, you can now have it always visible on your Home Screen with the latest iPadOS.

Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Set “Keep Today View on Home Screen” to the ON position

Widgets on iPad home screen

3: Change Home Screen Icon Size

You can now change the size of app icons on the iPadOS Home Screen. Currently there are only two options available; smaller / “More” and “Bigger” / fewer, but if you’ve ever felt like the iPad home screen icons were too small or too big, now you can adjust them.

Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > under Home Screen Layout choose “More” or “Bigger”

Change the size of Home Screen icons on iPad

4: Use a Mouse with iPad

One of the best features of iPadOS for many power users is the ability to connect a mouse to iPad. This works best with a Bluetooth mouse, though if you have a USB cable and appropriate adapter you can use a USB mouse with iPad now too.

But first you have to enable this feature (be sure the mouse you want to use is in Bluetooth discover mode):

Go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch > Devices > tap on the Mouse to add it to the iPad

Connect a Bluetooth mouse to iPadOS

5: Learn How to Update Apps

Many users who have updated to the latest iPadOS and iOS releases are wondering how to update apps, or if the ability is no longer available. Updating apps in iPadOS 13 is still done through the App Store, but now it’s tucked into a different section of the app.

Go to App Store > tap your profile icon in the upper corner > scroll down to find available app updates

6: Connect to File Shares & Servers in Files App (Mac, Linux, Windows PCs!)

You can now connect to remote file servers on the same network and browse network shares directly through the Files app. Any SMB share can be connected to:

Files app > tap the triple dots button > choose “Connect to Server” and enter the destination IP and login credentials

Connect to Server from Files app on iPad

7: Access External Storage in Files App

Got a USB storage device, SD card, a USB flash drive or external disk, or some other storage medium you want to access directly from Files app on iPad?

Now you can, just connect it to iPad and it’ll show up in the Files app.

Note you may need a separate Lightning to USB cable to USB-C to USB adapter, depending on what your storage device is.

8: Try the New Image & Video Editing Tools in Photos App

Photos app has revised powerful capabilities for making quick adjustments and edits to images and videos.

Go to Photos app > choose a video or photo > tap “Edit” > make the adjustments as needed to things like Brilliance, Saturation, Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, Tint, and much more.

New photo and video editing tools on iPadOS

9: Take Full Webpage Screenshots

Now you can easily take full screenshots of an entire webpage right from Safari. Here’s how it works:

Go to Safari > open a website (like osxdaily.com) > take a screenshot as usual > tap “Full Page” at the top of the preview screen

Take full page screenshots of webpages on iPadOS

Remember that snapping screen captures varies per iPad device:

10: Download Files from Safari to iPad iCloud Drive

Now you can easily download files directly from Safari to the iPad and iCloud Drive.

Tap and hold on any linked item you want to download, then choose “Download” and confirm that you want to download the file.

Or, if the file is something like a PDF document that is already open, tap the Share icon (box with an arrow flying out of the top of it), then locate and choose “Save to Files” in the list.

Save files from Safari on iPad

You can find the file(s) you download from Safari on the iPad by opening the Files app, going to “iCloud Drive” and then looking in the “Downloads” folder.

What do you think of iPadOS 13 on iPad? Do you have any favorite tips, tricks, or new features? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

And if you haven’t installed iPadOS 13.1 yet, consider taking some steps to prepare for iPadOS 13 before jumping in and updating to the latest iPad operating system.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Mom says:

    Hello, is there a way to remove the large “private browsing mode” banner in Safari? My home page contains my bookmarks on iPad 5th gen. I’ve been browsing in private mode for years and never had the bother of a large banner on the home page, just a quick reminder and then it dissolved. Since the update, a very large banner stays on the screen and uses too much screen real estate. Any help would be appreciated.

  2. Eddy P says:

    Great article. I’m amazed how many things listed here are not in the onboard Hints app. Plus I thought they’d opted to not have mouse support after the beta but great to see that’s an option. I’ll try it out shortly.

    Thanks, Paul!

  3. Anna says:

    Thank you for this article. I particularly like the full-web-page screenshots & will use that a lot. I had tried & failed before reading this tip.

    I’m also very interested in being able to access external storage devices through the Files App & hope that you will have an article about that.

  4. Nedda Honig says:

    I wish they had not changed the access to all the functions when replying or printing or whatever in the MAIL app. Plus they moved the reply arrow to the bottom of the screen. Dumb move! when for years it has been at the top. Also, now there seems to be an extra step/click when you want to mark bulk emails as read. Mail was working so smoothly and now to muck it up. Not a good idea.

    I do like the ability to change the icon size. Prefer the light mode to the dark mode. I have the 11″ iPad Pro.

  5. Mark Tennent says:

    I really want to be able to view all my Apps as a list of names, just like on my Mac. The icons mean nothing to me, I still search the names underneath them. But icons take up screen after screen of space that takes an age to scroll through. It’s especially annoying when you try to move icons and the presentation of all the Apps can shift. It’s all a bit 1980’s.

    Maybe there is an opportunity for an App designer to provide alternative ways to show how iPads and iPhones list their Apps.

  6. Kate tiedemann says:

    After downloading IOS 13.1 and .2 I can no longer automatically access an email address from my address book by typing a name into Cc or Bc

  7. Gayle Gorman says:

    Thank you for all your helpful info on this new software.
    Some of the new bells and whistles are a real pain.
    So much easier and simpler before.
    Gayle Gorman

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