iPad optimize

10 tips for first-time iPad users

If you're new to the iPad, its functionality may be confusing at first. Brien Posey shares some basic instructions to get you past the awkward stage.

Although I have worked in IT for more than 20 years, I am a Microsoft guy and have always stayed away from Apple products. Recently, my wife purchased an iPad and asked me to help her configure it. I have to admit that I felt a bit like a fish out of water because I had never used an iPad before. So I decided to assemble a list of 10 pointers for brand new iPad users.

Note: The items on this list are based on the third-generation iPad.

1: Make sure that you have the latest version of iTunes

The first thing to do when setting up a new iPad is to make sure that you have the most recent version of iTunes. My wife's computer was initially provisioned with an older version of iTunes, and it wouldn't even recognize the iPad until the current version of iTunes was deployed.

2: Resize apps

Although the iPad is designed to run iPhone and iPod apps, they're designed to run on a device with a much smaller screen than the iPad's. Some apps will let you choose the display resolution, but most apps that were written for the iPod or iPhone will display in a small window in the center of the iPad's screen. If you want to resize these apps to run full screen, just tap the 2X button in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

3: Take advantage of iCloud

Oftentimes, iPad users also own other iOS-based devices, such as an iPhone or an iPod. Apple offers the iCloud service for those who want to keep all their iOS devices in sync. Apple makes the iCloud service available for free, although if you need more than a few gigabytes of storage you'll have to lease additional storage space.

Configuring iCloud synchronization is easy. On the iPad, tap Settings, tap iCloud, enter your Apple ID and password, and then tap Sign In. From that point, you can pick and choose the features you want to synchronize to the iCloud.

4: Turn on Airplane Mode when flying

If you travel with your iPad, you'll need to place the device into Airplane Mode while flying. To do so, tap the Settings button (on the Home screen) and then move the Airplane Mode slide bar to the On position.

5: Perform searches

The iPad's Home screen actually spans several screens. You can flick the screen to the left or right to access pages of icons. As you do, a series of dots near the bottom of the screen will show you which page you are on.

If you want to do a device search, just go to the main Home screen (the first page of icons) and then flick the screen to the left. This will take you to the iPad's Search screen. From there, you can search for apps and other types of content.

6. Add a Web site to the Home screen

If you want to add a Web site to the iPad's home screen, start by opening the Safari browser and navigating to the site. Next, tap on the Share icon (it's located to the left of the address bar) and then tap on Add To Home Screen. You will see a dialog box that lets you rename the icon if you want (or you can use the default name). When you are done, tap the Add button.

7: Adjust the screen brightness

You can adjust the brightness of the iPad's screen by pressing the Home button and then tapping the Settings icon. Next, tap Brightness And Wallpaper (which is located in the column on the left side of the screen). Upon doing so, you will be able to use a slide bar to make the screen brighter or darker.

8: Change the wallpaper

If you want to use a custom wallpaper on your iPad, press the Home button and then tap the Settings icon. Tap Brightness And Wallpaper and then tap the Wallpaper section. You are now free to browse various libraries and albums, where you can select an image to use as your wallpaper.

9: Enable Wi-Fi

To enable the iPad's Wi-Fi connection, first press the Home button and tap the Settings icon. Tap the Wi-Fi option in the list of settings and then drag the Wi-Fi slide bar to the On position. Finally, tap on the network you want to join and enter the network's security key, if prompted to do so.

10. Take a screen capture

Depending on what you're using the iPad for, you might occasionally want to make a screen capture. This is easy to do. Just press the power button and the Home button at the same time and hold them for a second. When you do, you will hear a sound similar to that of a camera shutter. You can view the screen capture by going into the Photos app and looking in the Camera Roll album.

Other iPad basics?

Do you have any other tips to pass along to first-time iPad users? Share your pointers with fellow TechRepublic members.

About

Brien Posey is a seven-time Microsoft MVP. He has written thousands of articles and written or contributed to dozens of books on a variety of IT subjects.

12 comments
sura.jan
sura.jan

Don't cut the onion on it! Don't wash it in the water! Don't wash it in the dishwasher! :-)

JamesCushing
JamesCushing

Multi-touch gestures are a great way of gaining valuable seconds when you're in a rush, and they're really easy to learn. As well as your standard Apple gestures (e.g. pinch zoom), there's a few 4-finger gestures: 1) Return to the home screen - do a 4-finger pinch 2) Switch between recent apps (ones that appear on your multitasking bar) - swipe 4 fingers horizontally 3) Hide/show multitasking bar - swipe 4 fingers up to show the bar and down again to hide it These can all be done using some steps involving the Home button, but it's personal preference and I find this quicker and easier to use (although I use the Home button for screenshots). This could also see a redundancy for Home buttons emerging in future.

Julees
Julees

Well, I help novices with their iPads as part of my work. I do not own one! It was pretty jolly easy to find my way around the first one I set my hands on ( my partner's iPad). I must say that I do like the addition of the front pointing camera, and its quality. I'm waiting for the Windows 8 tablet. I have downloaded first the 'Consumer Preview' and then the pre-release versions of the Win 8 OS. I find the Win 8 OS 'clunky' to use on a PC, but I really think Win 8 on a tablet is supurb, and it will seriously rival the iPad. I think Business's will stick with Win 7 for their PC's, and the tablet will be used in the field and brought back to sync - i'm assuming that Win 8 will sync with win 7.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm not looking for a tablet of any brand or OS. I'm just wondering if you had to dig these out by trial and error, web search, read an included manual, or watch an included tutorial? I would assume some type of included documentation would tell a neophyte user how to perform most of these. I've never laid hands on an Apple product and am not familiar with the quality of their new user support.

HDoug
HDoug

Re 7 adjusting brightness: 4-finger swipe up, then swipe apps all the way to the left. Adjust slider for brightness. But you have to have multi-tasking gestures turned on in Settings. Then you can 4-finger swipe left and right to open apps.

Kieron Seymour-Howell
Kieron Seymour-Howell

:P No seriously, it is a toy. Unless that is what you want, don't expect to do much actual work on it, unless you don't really do much work, then it is fine. It makes a passable eBook reader. The best use, is for playing games to pass the time (see above about not working). I had a look at them, and I for one, could not really see much use for it other than for amusement.

syntax_error
syntax_error

Get Dropbox/Skydrive/etc so you can actually get something off the dam thing and onto a pc to do some proper work. That's what most of our iPad pioneers appear to need help with :) Sent from my iPad

hatfieldcd
hatfieldcd

Press the home button twice and the apps will come up on the bottom. Just press on one of the apps and hold it until the apps wiggle then proceed to press on them one at a time until all apps are closed down.

jneville.work
jneville.work

If you use the iPad for drawing then it's worth splashing out 10-quid or so for an iPad specific stylus. Pens, or a stylus for other devices won't work. Also, getting a sturdy case is well worth the investment! IMHO you need a case that covers the front AND the back, not those flimsy flip-over ones that get given away free in a lot of mobile phone shops. And a quick warning - if you want to use apps which take advantage of the built-in compass, avoid a case with magnets. Lastly, if you're not using wifi or bluetooth at that moment in time, switch it off to save battery life.

tsmyther
tsmyther

At the bottom of the main Bookmarks menu in Safari, there is a link to an online iPad User Guide. It is a really great in-depth look at each built-in item and all of it's various functions. Great for learning, or just to look up a quick "how to."

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Does that automatically mean other people won't get value from it?

tsmyther
tsmyther

Seriously, you "took a look at them" and discovered you could not use them without any consideration for the difference between iOS and whatever OS you have been using? Is this also how you approached Windows? Or Linux? Those OS's, when folks first "took a look at them" seemed unappealing for work, as well. Remember those who derided the "Windows, Icons, Mouse, Pointing Device" user interface as "WIMP devices"? "Real work" had to have a command prompt, or it couldn't be a "true business machine." That was probably the attitude of those who moved from log tables to the slide rule and to calculators. You may think you're so sophisticated in your thinking, but you're really just close-minded and set in your ways.