So you have a new iPad… what should you know?

Tuesday I covered some apps to get you started.  Today I’ll be filling you in on some iPad tips and tricks to keep you going.  First off Everything that I covered in iOS 5 – The big updatesiOS 5… those other useful updates probably should be read so you’re brought up to date with the operating system your running.  I won’t be covering that stuff in this post (as it would be redundant).  This is all about making the most of your iPad.

Customizing
Lets start out simple.  Customizing your iPad.  You have a few options at your disposal, but the primary thing you’ll change is your background.  This can be customized two ways.  You can set them to be the same on the lock and app screens, or separate images.  To set this up go to Settings, then Brightness & Wallpaper. Choose an image and choose lock screen, desktop or both. Keep in mind this image might get cropped when going from landscape to vertical, so be sure to choose something that will look good in both orientations.

Organization
Your going to find that you will quickly be adding applications to your device.  And although you have tons of space now, this quickly will get filled as you add more and more apps (not all useful) to your collection.  What to do with it all?

Well the first thing to realize is that you don’t have to keep them all on the pages they end up in.  Pressing and holding on an app will allow them to wiggle and be moved from one part of a page to another or to a completely different page.  I tend to keep the applications that i use often on the front page and everything else ends up on later pages.  Even if that means some empty space.  But even with that organization, you’ll find that eventually you’ll want more apps on the front page than will fit.  The solution? Folders!

Folders can be used to organize many applications into one location.  By default the iPad will try to guess what the folder should be called based on the first two applications you pair together, but you can change that at any time.  To create a folder just place one application on top of another.  Viola.  As an added benefit, for folders you might need access too at all times (say a communication folder) you can drag a folder down into the dock just as you would any application.

Picture Frame

You have all that real-estate at your disposal and your sure not to always be using your iPad.  What to do?   Well the iPad has a handy little feature called Picture Frame.  With Picture frame enabled you’ll be able to display any album, face, or events on your lock screen with a push of a button.  To enable this feature go to Settings, then Picture Frame. You can select which albums on your iPad you can use as well as the style of the slideshow.  I prefer origami as it shows more pictures and is a bit more interesting.  Then to enable simply lock your iPad and click the picture icon to the right of the swipe bar.  To end the slide show simply unlock your screen.

Gestures
This is something that often gets overlooked when using the iPad.  However I have come to rely on them so much, when I use my iPhone I find myself trying to use them on there too.  Unfortunately the screen on the iPhone is too small to really make use of them.  Not a problem on the iPad.  All these moves can be done with 4 or 5 fingers.  Here are the three basic moves:

  • The pinch.  This is a great shortcut to hop back to the home screen when in an application.  Yea you can also use the home button… but this just flows with using it without having to remove yourself from the screen.
  • Swiping left or right.  This allows you to quickly access applications directly to the left or the right in the multitask bar.  You can travel as far back or forward as you like. It’s a great way to hop back and forth without having to double-click the home button, then select the app.  Much more efficient.
  • Swiping up.  This will reveal the multitask bar.  Perhaps not as useful as the other two moves, but still handier than trying to double tap the home button.

Messaging
This is something that was covered in my previous posts, but something worth noting for iPad users.  With the recent iOS5 update, the iPad can now take advantage of iMessaging with other iOS users.  But this will only work if you set your phone to match the same iCloud account that is set as the default on your iPad.  To set this go to the settings app, and choose “Messages”.  Make sure iMessage is turned on and your received at is set, as well as your “caller ID” is set to the same on all your devices.  This is becomes wonderful when you realize you no longer have to go to your phone to SMS your friends.  Just grab your iPad.

External accessories
Not everything that will enhance your iPad experience is software.

  • A Case:  Choose something with a small form factor, but will still protect the screen.  I recommend a case that will allow you to have the iPad at different viewing angles.
  • Stylus:  Although not required, many applications will benefit from having a pen like experience.  Writing hand written notes, drawing, or even some games all can benefit from having a stylus.  There are many to try out on the market.  Choose one that fits you best.  Some are good for drawing while other better for writing.
  • Video Out:  There are two main ways to share your content on the big screen.  One is with an Airplay device such as the AppleTV ($99).  The other is with either the VGA or HDMI dongles ($20-$30) Apple sells.  Both are very useful for getting your video, photo, or even many application content up for all to see.
  • Bluetooth keyboard:  This is useful if you find yourself writing a lot on the iPad.  Although the iPad has an on-screen keyboard, for those serious writers, having access to a full keyboard is priceless.  I prefer keyboard that are separate opposed to ones built into cases as you don’t always need the keyboard.

Assorted Goodness…

There’s tons out there for you to learn about using your iPad (such as safari’s ability to recover recently closed tabs).  I tend to keep up to date on new and interesting iPad features, applications, and accessories by watching the TWIT network’s iPad Today show.  Tons of great tips, applications and information about using your iPad to it’s fullest.  You can even download the episodes directly on your iPad or via iTunes on your computer.   Incredibly useful.

Do you have your own tips and hints you’d like to mention?  Leave a comment below.

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About Tasel

Sometimes writer on things technology, Disney, MineCraft, and food.
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One Response to So you have a new iPad… what should you know?

  1. Pingback: January Meeting Notes | Charlestown Apple Users

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