50 really useful iPad tips and tricks £429

9th May 2012 | 09:00

50 really useful iPad tips and tricks

New iPad tips, iPad 2 tips and original iPad tips

50 iPad and iPad 2 tips

With great new features like two video cameras, a faster processor and a Retina display, the new iPad 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 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 and iPad 2, so owners of any generation of iPad shouldn't feel neglected.

For 50 more iPad tips, check out a new iPad app called 100 Tricks & Tips for iPad 2, brought to you by our colleagues on MacFormat.

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.

iPad 2 running apps

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.

iPad 2 orientation

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.

iPad 2 passcode

5. Home Sharing

First, turn on Home Sharing in iTunes (Advanced menu) and on your iPad (Settings > Music/Video and enter your Apple ID). Next, launch the Music or Video app on your iPad. In the Music app, tap the "More" button at the bottom, find the little house with "Shared" next to it. Tap on that and then on one of the Shared Libraries. It might take a few seconds to update, but then you can listen to all of that Library's media on your iPad. For video, tap the Shared tab at the top of the screen.

Really useful iPad tips

6. Control iPad notifications

By going to Settings > Notifications, you can decide which apps can pop up alerts, which have notifications at the top of the screen, and which appear in Notification Center. This means you can make sure that noisy apps don't clog things up for you, and you notice the important things.

Really useful iPad tips

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.

iPad 2 vpn

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.

iPad 2 wifi

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.

iPad 2 battery percentage

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.

iPad 2 volume mute

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 and new iPad to your HD television using Apple's 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 and new iPad support video mirroring, so your entire Home screen will appear on the TV, not just the videos you play.

Connect ipad 2 to hdtv

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!

Stream ipad 2

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 to let you switch between apps, to bring up the multitasking bar, and to close an app and go back to the Home screen. You can turn them on in Settings > General, but be warned that they clash with some apps.

iPad 2 multitasking gestures

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.

iPAd 2 spotlight searches

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 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.

iPad 2 google calendar

19. Find My iPhone (or iPad)

Apple's Find My iPad works for all iCloud users. In Settings > iCloud, enter your Apple ID and then turn Find My iPad on near the bottom of the screen. Now if you lose your iPad, you can go to icloud.com or use Find My iPhone on another device to locate the iPad. If you have a Wi-Fi-only model, it will need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network for this to work.

Find my iphone

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.

AirPrint

21. Use a Smart Cover

Apple's 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 and new iPad, so it's a perfect fit. It doesn't work with the original iPad.

Smart cover

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.

Share from pages

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.

iPad caps lock

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.

iPad 2 copy paste

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.

iPad 2 replace word

25 more iPad and iPad 2 tips

26. Hidden apostrophe key on the keyboard

This is a great tip for any app, such as Notes, Pages or Mail, that you type into using the iPad's virtual keyboard. Rather than having to go to the second screen of the keyboard every time you want to type an apostrophe (which is a real pain) just tap and hold on the ! key and a hidden apostrophe option will appear - then just slide your finger up to access it.

iPad apostrophe

27. Quick quotes

You don't have to move the iPad's second keyboard screen to enter a quotation mark either. Simply tap and hold over the ? key and a quotation symbol appears, which you can select by moving your finger upwards.

iPad quote marks

28. Add a full stop

Another great keyboard tip for typing in apps such as Pages, Notes or Mail is to doubletap the space bar at the end of a sentence. This adds a full stop and a space for you, which can be enormously time-saving when you're writing long articles.

iPad full stop

29. Dim your iBooks

You can lower the brightness setting down to a low level using the Brightness option under Settings. But the iBooks app has its own brightness slider, which you can use to lower the level down more conveniently.

iBooks brightness

30. Change days

There's no way to swipe to change between days in the Calendar app, but don't forget the navigation bar along the bottom of the screen - this can be used to switch to different days (or weeks/months, depending on the view you've chosen). The current day is always shown in blue, or you can just tap the Today button to return to the current day.

iPad calendar

31. Street View in Maps

The Maps app running Google's Street View is one of the coolest features of the iPad, yet accessing it is so confusing few people even know it's there. To access Street View you need to have dropped a red pin on the map (which happens when you do a search). You then tap the red and white icon of a person to enter Street View.

iPad street view

32. Directions in Maps

There's no free sat nav for the iPad, but directions in Maps are a substitute if you're walking, driving or taking the bus. Just tap Directions on the top left of Maps and the iPad even works out where you are right now, then takes you step-by-step through each stage of your journey. It will even suggest more than one route, so you can take or avoid motorways if you want, for example.

iPad maps

33. Display PDFs

There are two ways to display PDFs on your iPad: you can either email them to your iPad, in which case you get an Open in iBooks button appear, or you can sync PDFs from your Mac or PC via the Books tab in iTunes.

To do this just drag and drop the PDF into iTunes, then when you sync your iPad click on the Books tab and select the PDFs you'd like to sync. In iBooks you click on PDFs in your library to see the PDFs you have ready to display.

iBooks pdf

34. Camera focus and meter

In the Camera app, tap on your subject to both focus on and meter the light properly. In this shot, notice how the chair is dark and the boy outside is properly metered. You can reverse that by simply tapping on the chair.

iPad camera focus

35. Get a grip

You'll probably hold the iPad by its sides, but it'll rotate to put the shutter button at the bottom, making you wobble when you reach for it. So use the orientation lock to put the shutter where you can easily thumb it, then just rotate your images or videos afterward in an image editor.

iPad rotate

36. Take charge in FaceTime

Once you've started a video call, you can move the picture-in-picture window that shows you by simply dragging it around with your finger.

iPad 2 facetime

37. Photo Booth fun

Sure, you're great, but Photo Booth is even more fun if you point it at friends or family. Simply tap the 'twirly camera' icon in the bottom right. to use the camera on the back You can also snap stills by hitting the shutter button, but Photo Booth doesn't do video.

Photo booth

38. Download photos straight from your camera to your iPad

You can't plug an SD card from a digital camera straight into your iPad to view the photos, but you can purchase the iPad Camera Connection kit from Apple. With this device attached you can transfer photos straight from your camera's memory card. Get it from the Apple Store online.

39. Quicker websites

Save time typing web addresses in Safari by using the iPad's ".com" key when typing in a URL. A little-known timesaver is that if you hold down the .com key you get access to a menu that offers a .co.uk and other options too.

iPad com key

40. Quick Safari scroll

You can jump up to the top of any web site - indeed any list - by tapping on the top of the title window. It's much faster than scrolling by hand.

iPad quick scroll

41. Zoom in on websites

You can zoom in on any website by pinching out with two fingers on the screen. This also makes it easier to select words and tap links. To zoom out again, just pinch in with two fingers. Double-tap on any text or image to auto-zoom so it fills the screen.

iPad zoom in website

42. Turn on Bookmarks bar in Safari

We all know you can tap the bookmarks icon in the Safari toolbar to access your bookmarks, but you can significantly cut down the number of taps it takes to get to them by turning on your Safari Bookmarks Bar permanently. In the Settings app, tap Safari, then turn Always Show Bookmarks Bar to ON.

iPad safari bookmarks

43. Clear browsing history in Safari

Need to cover your tracks online? You can delete your Safari browser history in a flash. Just open the Settings app, then tap Safari and tap on Clear History. Note you can also wipe your Cookies and clear your Cache here too. There's also a Private Browsing mode you can turn on, so your history won't be tracked. Turn this on in Settings > Safari.

iPad clear browsing history

44. Open Safari links in a new tab

You can open links in a new Safari tab, rather than always opening them in the current one. Just tap and hold on the link and a pop-over menu appears giving you the option to open the link in a new tab.

really useful iPad tips

45. Find text on a page

You can search for a particular word on an open page in Safari. Type your word into the Google search box. You'll see a list of suggestions appear, and near the bottom you'll see "On This Page", showing how many times that word appears on the page. Tap the Find option to go to the first instance of the word.

Find text on a page

46. Turn off iPad email alert chimes

You can turn off the chime for new emails. Go to Settings, then General, then Sounds and turn off the New Mail sound. You can also adjust sound levels here.

iPad email alert

47. Preview more of your emails

The iPad's Mail app defaults to previewing two lines of each email before you tap on it. Sometimes however it would be handier to be able to see more of an email before loading the whole thing in, especially if you are on a slow connection. To do this open the Settings app, then tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendars and change the Preview options to add more lines.

iPad mail preview

48. Turn off iPad push mail

Most mail accounts default to Push as a delivery mechanism, if available. This automatically 'pushes' any new emails your way as soon as they are available. If you find this annoying or distracting you can set your Mail accounts to check for new messages at intervals, or manually so they only check for new messages when you tap the Refresh button. To turn off Push, select the Settings app and Mail, Contacts, Calendars and choose Fetch New Data, then turn Push on or off.

Turn off push mail

49. Make an iPad backup

If you want to make sure your iPad's data is properly backed up then you can force iTunes to back it up. When you're conencted to your Mac or PC, open up iTunes and right-click on your iPad in the Devices list and select Back up. However, you can also use iCloud to back up. Turn this on in Settings > iCloud. When you do so, your iPad will stop automatically backing up to your PC.

iPad backup

50. iPad is flat and won't charge

If your iPad battery is completely flat then it can take a while for the red battery symbol to appear when you plug it in to charge, indicating that it is charging. Don't panic, just leave it plugged in and wait - the charging symbol will appear eventually.

iPad won't charge

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