50 really useful iPad tips and tricks
Updated: iPad 2 tips and original iPad tips – get ’em here!
Get more from your tablet with these iPad tips and tricks
With great new features like two video cameras, a faster processor and a thinner design, the iPad 2 is the world’s best tablet device.
It’s also fully capable of running the latest version of Apple’s iOS operating system and great apps like iMovie and GarageBand.
Here we present 50 really useful iPad 2 tips. We cover everything from customising your Home screen through to getting more from built-in apps like Mail and Safari.
The vast majority of these tips will also work on the original iPad, so owners of the first generation device shouldn’t feel neglected.
1. Create folders
iOS now supports folders. To create a folder all you need to do is tap and hold on an app until they all start to jiggle, then drag the app over another icon and release. Your iPad will create a folder with both the apps in. The folder will be named according to the category of the apps it contains, but you can rename it as you like.
2. Access all running apps
Double-clicking the Home button shows you all the apps that are running on your iPad in a bar along the bottom of the screen. To switch to a running app just tap on it here in this bar. Just swipe the screen downwards to remove this bar.
3. Orientation Lock or Mute?
The internet got mightily upset when Orientation Lock was replaced with Mute on the iPad during the last iOS update. Apple listened, and now you can head to Settings > General to choose between Lock Rotation and Mute.
4. Passcode Denied… DELETE ALL!
If you’re carrying around sensitive data, you can now enable a feature that’ll erase all the data on the device if someone inputs the incorrect passcode 10 times. Navigate to Settings > General > Passcode Lock > Erase Data.
5. Home Sharing
First, turn on Home Sharing in iTunes (Advanced menu) and on your iPad (Settings > iPod and enter your Apple ID). Next, launch the iPod app on your iPad. In the left column, find the little house with “Library” next to it. Tap on that and then on one of the Shared Libraries. It might take a few minutes to update, but then you can watch and listen to all of that Library’s media on your iPad.
6. Control iPad notifications
Have you ever played Tap Tap Revenge on the iPhone? Good, then you know how annoying notifications can be. These messages pop up on the iPad as well. but you can control them. Go to Settings, Notifications, and configure which alerts (and accompanying sounds) will appear.
7. Go VPN
The iPad supports a VPN connection. To configure it, go to Settings, then General > Network. Select the VPN and move the slider to On, then add a VPN configuration with your server and account details.
8. Stop asking to join Wi-Fi networks
If you’re fed up of getting bugged by messages asking if you’d like to join this or that Wi- Fi network all the time then head to Settings, Wi-Fi and turn off Ask to Join Networks. You can still join any network that will have you from this same screen, it just won’t bug you constantly when the opportunity arises.
9. Turn battery percentage off
Do you find the battery charge percentage distracting? The good news is you can turn it off very easily. Go to Settings, General, Usage and you can turn it off here.
10. Quick volume mute
When the iPad first launched, there was no dedicated mute button anywhere on the device. However, with iOS 4.3 Apple has given you the choice of using the lock switch to mute the sound or lock the iPad’s orientation. Either way, a good tip for quickly muting your iPad is to press and hold the Volume-down button.
11. Use an Apple keyboard
Missing a real keyboard? Any Apple Wireless Keyboard will work with the iPad. In fact, your iPad will work with any Bluetooth keyboard. Some iPad cases have a keyboard built in, which can be handy.
12. Connect to an HD TV
You can connect the iPad 2 to your HD television using Apple’s new Digital AV Adapter (which connects from your 30-pin Dock adaptor to a HDMI port) or a plain old Apple VGA Adaptor. Both are available from the Apple Store. The iPad 2 supports video mirroring, so your entire Home screen will appear on the TV, not just the videos you play.
13. AirPlay: Stream movies, photos and music
Whenever you see the AirPlay icon on your iPad it means you can stream whatever media you’re viewing to your Apple TV, which is usually connected to your living room TV. All you need to do is tap the AirPlay icon (which looks like a rectangle with a triangle in it) and it starts playing automatically – it’s so simple!
14. Take an iPad screenshot
You can take a screenshot on your iPad by pressing Home and then the Sleep/Wake button. The screen will flash and you’ll hear a click, indicating that a photo has been taken. Your screen shots are saved automatically in your Photos gallery. Here, you can view or email them as you see fit.
15. Avoid underpowered USB docks
The iPad does not charge when you connect it to some USB docks or even certain ports on some notebooks. Instead, plug in to a high power USB port (check you computer’s specs, or use a powered USB dock). On some PCs, USB ports on the front of the computer are lower power, so you will need to plug into one on the back.
16. Use Multitasking Gestures
Multitasking Gestures, which utilise four and five finger gestures, are available in Settings only to iPad owners who have installed Xcode on a Mac. You need to buy Xcode from the Mac App Store ($5/£2.99) and install it, then from the Xcode homescreen, select your iPad and click on the Use for Development button. You’ll be asked for your developer account details, but if you click on Cancel at this stage it still works.
17. Restrict your Spotlight searches
Swipe left on the Home screen to reveal the Spotlight search. By default it searches everything including songs in your iPod, podcasts, apps and events. To restrict the areas it searches, since you may not want all these categories included, look in Settings > General > Spotlight Search.
18. Add a Google Calendar
Want to add your Google Calendar to the iPad’s Calendar app? No problem. In Settings open Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Add an account and tap on Other. Tap on Add CalDAV Account and enter your Google Account credentials (the Server is http://www.google.com). Exit the Settings app and tap on the Calendar app and all your events should appear. By default all calendars are displayed, but you can tap on the Calendars button to choose which ones are shown.
19. Find My iPhone (or iPad) is now free
Apple’s Find My iPad works for MobileMe subscribers, but you can set it up for free on your iPad. In Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars tap the Add Account button and select MobileMe.
If you have an iTunes or MobileMe account then enter it here. Alternatively, tap on Create Free Apple ID. You may need to check your inbox and verify your account now. Return to the MobileMe screen and switch on Find My iPad. Now sign into me.com to see your iPad on a map, or install the Find My iPhone app from the App Store.
20. Use AirPrint
Thanks to AirPrint you can print right from your iPad, provided you’ve got a compatible printer, of course. If you’ve got an AirPrint ready printer then you just choose Print from the Share menu for virtually any open document. AirPrint works with the new range of printers from HP, and you can use a Mac app called Printopia (www.ecamm.com) to print to any printer connected to a Mac.
21. Use a Smart Cover
Apple’s new iPad Smart Cover (from £35/$39) is a must have iPad accessory – it’s not just a dumb cover. When you draw it over the iPad’s screen it puts it to sleep for you, and wakes it up when you open it. Also, it latches onto special magnets built into the side of the iPad 2, so it’s a perfect fit.
22. Share from Pages
Transferring Pages documents from your iPad by syncing with iTunes on your Mac or PC is a real hassle. It’s much quicker to use the Share menu to email the finished document to wherever you need it to be. Also, you can email it as a Word or PDF document if you like.
23. Turn iPad caps lock on
To type a capital letter on the onscreen keyboard you first tap the left or right shift key, then the letter. If you need to type a whole word in caps this can be painful. Save time typing in caps by turning the caps lock on. To do this double tap on either shift key.
24. Copy and paste
You can quickly copy and paste text by tapping and holding down, and then choosing Select to select the exact portion of text you’d like the copy. Next tap Copy, then go to a different app, and tap and hold down again, then tap Paste from the menu that appears. Top tip: To select an entire paragraph of text you need to tap four times.
25. Replace a word
When you hold down on a word to copy it, choose Select, then you will see a new option: Replace. Tap this and, you can see suggestions for alternative words that have similar spellings. It’s a good way of quickly correcting typos.