Need a little convincing? Read on for seven fantastic tips straight from AppStart for iPad - these will get you started feeling comfortable on your iPad. For more information, head to the App Store and put AppStart for iPad on your tablet today!
So, you've got an iPad: Apple's "magical and revolutionary" 9.7-inch touchscreen tablet, which promises to change your digital life for the better. While the iPad doesn't need much of an introduction (we've all seen the ads, right?), here at AppAdvice.com we do have six essential tips we think all new iPad owners should check out. So let's jump right to it and learn the basics.
Tip #1: Moving Icons & Creating Folders
You've probably already noticed that your iPad's screen features a wide variety of different icons. Each icon corresponds to a different app, and touching the icon launches the application. Since icons represent apps, and apps represent functions, wouldn't it make sense to move these icons around and organize apps based on your unique preferences? Apple thought so too, and built in the ability to move icons around, and even create "folders" of icons, allowing you organize your apps like you might organize files on your computer.
In order to move icons around, you need to enter "jiggly" mode. No, that's not the technical name, but once you see it in action, you'll agree it should be. To do this, simply touch an app icon, and hold your finger down on it for two seconds. The icons on your iPad will now start jiggling. All apps not preinstalled on your iPad (third party applications downloaded from the App Store and web apps) will also feature a small "x," in the top left corner of the app's icon. Touching this "x" will delete the application.
Once you're in "jiggly" mode, you can drag the icons to easily rearrange them. Simply hold your finger down on an app, drag it to where you want it to be placed, and let go. The icon will then take the chosen position, and other applications will shuffle to accommodate the change.
In order to create a folder, simply drag one app onto another while in "jiggly" mode. The two will merge into one folder, and you"ll be asked to choose a name for that folder.
Your iPad will suggest a name based on the apps you've combined, touching the text box will allow you to choose any name you want for the folder.
Once you've finished moving apps and creating folders, you can exit "jiggly" mode by pressing the Home button (circle button on the bottom of the screen). Applications will stop jiggling, and you'll no longer be able to rearrange them, or create folders. All the folders you created will also be closed. Simply touching a folder opens it, and from there you can open apps within the folder by touching the app's icon.
One thing to consider while choosing app positions and folders is that eventually you will have several dozen, if not hundreds, of apps. So think about what makes the most sense for you. Do you want to make folders for specific use cases, "Work Apps," "Video Watching," "Music," "Games," "Photography," etc. Or, do you want to make folders and arrange apps by primary use, "Everyday Apps," "Free Time Apps," "Entertain Kids," "Newly Purchased," "Apps to Show Off," etc. The idea here is to organize your iPad to get to the items you are looking for quickly and efficiently. BTW, yes you can search for an app by name and we'll cover that later in this article.
Tip #2: Multitasking & Orientation Lock
All iPads are able to "multitask," meaning certain apps (such as VoIP and GPS applications) can run in the background to continue performing a function even when you are using a different app, or not using any app at all. Other apps simply remember their place when you leave them, allowing iPad owners to resume exactly what they were doing upon re-opening the app. In order to switch back to an app or control multitasking, you can use the "multitasking bar," which shows all the applications you have used recently. Some of these may just be remembering where you left off, while other apps may be literally running in the background.
Accessing the multitasking bar is simple; all you need to do is double-press (tap twice quickly) the Home button on your iPad. Doing this will shift everything on the iPad's screen up, and a multitasking bar will appear along the bottom of the screen, arranged in the order of most recently used apps.
Reopening An App (Fast App Switching)
You can swipe right through the multitasking bar, and relaunch the app by touching its icon. Your current app will save where it is and be placed first in the multitasking bar; the app you just clicked will take front and center, exactly as it was when you left it.
Closing An Application (Quitting An Application)
Sometimes you'll want to stop an application from running in the background, or even have it start over. For example, if you are using a navigation app and decide you don't need directions anymore, you may want to stop it from running. Alternatively, an app may not be functioning properly, or may be frozen, and multitasking may leave you "stuck." Quitting the application and reopening it will often solve these problems. The process of quitting an app also happens in the multitasking bar. To close an application completely, launch the multitasking bar and then hold down the icon of the app you want to close (in the multitasking bar, not from your homescreen). Once you hold an app in the multitasking bar, it will once again, enter "jiggly" mode, but this time, each app icon will have a red minus sign in the upper left hand corner.
Other Multitasking Features And Orientation LockWithin the multitasking bar, iPad owners can also access a variety of other features, such as a brightness control, a volume control, and an orientation lock control. In order to do this, simply swipe left within the multitasking bar, and you"ll find the approproate section.
Here, the most important feature is the "orientation lock" button, which is the furthest icon to the left. Touching this icon locks your iPad"s orientation. Once you've pressed this key, holding your iPad in a landscape or portrait orientation will not cause the screen to rotate. This feature is ideal for using the iPad while lying down, for example.
If you would prefer to have the mute switch on your iPad to be the orientation lock, you can do this as well by following these steps: Settings, General, and then scroll down to the "Use Side Switch To" option. You can customize your side switch to either be the orientation lock or mute toggle, whichever is easiest for you!
Next to the orientation lock icon is a brightness toggle, which allows iPad owners to quickly and easily turn their iPad's brightness up and down. Next are some iTunes controls, and there is also a volume toggle. These controls make interacting with your iPad a lot easier, which is why they are definitely worth knowing.
Tip #3: SecurityPassword Protect Your iPad
In the Settings application, it is possible to "passcode lock" your iPad. In order to activate this feature, launch the Settings app, click on the "General" section, and you'll see the option for "Passcode Lock."
Passcode lock allows iPad owners to set a code to be entered before anyone can use the iPad.
After touching "Turn Passcode On", users will be asked to set a numerical passcode. An alphanumerical passcode can also be set, by disabling the "Simple Passcode" toggle, which is set to "on" by default.
Once users have set a passcode, they'll be asked to re-enter the passcode (to make sure you didn't make a typo and lock yourself out of your own iPad!) Once this has been done, every time you wish to unlock your iPad, you'll have to enter a passcode:
Once you've entered the correct passcode, your iPad will unlock. In order to remove the passcode lock, simply turn the passcode off in the Settings application (you'll need to know the current passcode to turn it off). But please, don't forget your passcode, it will require a full restore to get back into your iPad.
Restrict Certain Applications
Within the same Settings app, it is also possible to enable "restrictions" on your iPad. To do this, navigate over to the "Restrictions" section of the Settings app, which is located beneath "Passcode Lock." Restrictions are controlled via a passcode, and can be enabled for Safari, YouTube, iTunes and the App Store, along with changes to Location and Accounts. Content can also be restricted along with Game Center. If you plan on sharing your iPad and don't want anyone to use your iPad to access certain content, you have the power to make it so.
Locate Your iPad If It Gets Lost Or Stolen
A fear everyone has with expensive shiny toys is, "What if this thing gets lost or stolen?" Luckily iPad owners don't have to worry quite as much. Everyone should enable "Find My iPhone" on their iPad immediately! The process should be familiar by now. Launch the same Settings app as you used to setup a passcode lock, and your restrictions, but this time, don't click the General button. Instead choose "Mail, Contacts, Calendars" and hit add an account. At this point you'll need to select MobileMe and enter your Apple ID and password (you can also create an account if you do not have one).
At this point you can flip "Find My iPhone" to on (yes it works for iPad too, even though it's called Find My iPhone). After setting this up, your iPad can be tracked or remotely wiped by logging in to the MobileMe website (http://me.com). You'll see an map of where the iPad is and even be able to send it a message, and make it play a very loud sound.
Tip #4: Search
On the iPad, it is possible to search through the entire device via Spotlight, conduct a Google search, or even find a Wikipedia page right from your home screen!
Spotlight In order to search through all the information stored on your iPad you can use the built in "Spotlight" function. Spotlight is just like searching your home computer's hard drive. To activate Spotlight swipe left when you are at the the first page of the home screen (hitting the home button on any page of the home screen will return you to the first page, then swipe left). You'll then be presented with a blank screen, and a virtual keyboard. Typing in the search box at the top of the screen will pull up a variety of results. Applications, email messages, contacts, notes, and music will be displayed among the Spotlight search results. Simply touching a single result will open it – whether it's an app, a song, or an email.
Searching The Web & WikipediaAfter Spotlight shows you all the results located on your device, you'll see an option to search the web, or search through Wikipedia. Searching the web from Spotlight is just like opening Safari and doing a Google search. Choosing to search Wikipedia, similarly, is like conducting the same seach in, you guessed it, Wikipedia. Once you become familiar with Spotlight you'll save time because you can search without launching Safari or looking through all your folders.
Find Information on a Page
Sometimes when reading a long webpage on the iPad, you may want to jump to a specific part or word. When using Safari, it is possible to search within a page using the Safari search box in the top-right corner of the Safari app. Simply type in the text you want to find, and you will see an option for "On This Page." Safari will then pull out instances of that term found on the webpage you're viewing, allowing you to drill down to the exact information you are looking for.
Tip #5: iTunes Sync & Backup
One of the easiest things to learn that most new users don't understand is how to get information onto and off of their iPad, and also how to keep that information backed up. The way this occurs is through syncing, and you should do it regularly.
Whenever you plug your iPad in to your computer, it will charge and sync via iTunes. Users will be able to view iPad information on the device screen within iTunes. From here, users may also choose exactly what is synced to their device. During each sync, a backup is automatically performed.
In order to sync your device, simply hit the "Sync" button which is located in the bottom-right corner of the screen. However, users must first choose the content they want synced to their device. Along the top of the iTunes application, users can choose what kind of digital content they want to sync to their iPad. For example, to sync an audio track (song), select the "Music" tab and check the tracks you want iTunes to sync to your iPad.
If you want to sync an application, then open the "Apps" screen, and check the apps you want on your iPad. Once you've made your selections, click "Sync," and iTunes will transfer the selected content over to your device.
Importantly, when iTunes syncs with your iPad, it also performs a backup. This process of "backing up" your iPad's data ensures its survival, if something were to happen to your iPad. If you're backing up regularly and later encounter a problem with your iPad, it is possible to "restore" the device to an earlier backup, and fix the problem.
With iOS 5, your iPad can actually sync wirelessly with your computer. However, to activate this, you will need to plug it in once, and then make sure that you check off the option to "Sync this iPad over Wi-Fi." Apply that setting change, and now your iPad can be synced whenever you want by your home wireless network (as long as your computer and iPad are on the same network).
In addition to syncing wirelessly, your backups can be stored locally on your machine, or backed up to the cloud with iCloud. Do be aware that your backup may not be successful if you do not have enough space in iCloud (free accounts are 5GB). Restoring from these backups can be done over iCloud as well.
Tip #6: FaceTime (iPad 2 and 3 Only)
Apple's second and third generation iPads come complete with a couple of cameras, and a built in FaceTime application. With FaceTime, iPad 2 owners can make video calls (over Wi-Fi) to iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4G) owners, as well as Macintosh computers.
In order to use FaceTime on your iPad, launch the application, and touch a contact. You'll initiate a FaceTime call and, if your contact is available to talk, the video call will begin. To end the call, simply touch the red bar at the bottom of the video. You can turn your iPad around, and continue the call in landscape mode - the video should switch automatically.
When people FaceTime call you, you can answer by hitting the green icon (when unlocked), or "sliding to unlock" and answering the call (when the iPad is locked).
Tip #7: iMessageWith iOS 5, all iPad users have access to a nifty app called iMessage. To access iMessage, locate the green icon on the device labeled "Messages."
iMessage will allow iPad users to send messages to other iOS users (iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches). The only thing that you need to do before using it is to setup an email address to be associated with iMessage. If you're familiar with how Messages work on an iPhone, then you should already understand how iMessages works on your iPad. Users can send each other text messages, and even images and video, as long as there is a working data connection. You will see when your message was delivered to the recipient, and you have the option to send read receipts as well (Settings, Messages, "Send Read Receipts" toggle). When the recipient is typing a response, you will see an indicator at the bottom of the message area.
In iMessage, all messages are delivered instantaneously like IM services (instant messaging services like AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo!, etc.). This is Apple's own answer to BlackBerry Messenger, and with the millions of iOS devices out there, this is a very nifty service to have on your iPad.
You ready to take the iPad world by storm? Check out the complete AppStart for iPad app by heading over to the Apple App Store. If you still have questions or need suggestions for apps to try out, remember you can always ask our very own Mobile Gurus, D-Rob and Sol, questions. Simply click on the "Submit a Question" button up on the top right-hand side of the page and tell us what you need to know! Until then, happy tapping.