There are two main methods for capturing text while using your iPad. One way is by using Siri to carry out an ever growing variety of commands and tasks. The other method is through dictation accessed via your iPad keyboard. While Siri is a perfectly capable tool to use for dictation, and might be your preferred way to capture text, we have found that our favorite digital assistant especially shines when asked to answer questions and perform tasks. Thomas recently wrote about some of his favorite uses for Siri on his iPad. Dictation, however, is more of a quick and dirty way to collect your thoughts and have them transposed right onto your iPad screen whenever you typically would need to enter text in an app. Think of it as an alternative to typing. While a very helpful tool, there are some initial challenges to dictating effectively on your iPad or other iOS device. The manner in which we speak doesn’t always translate exactly to how we write–or even how we collect our thoughts. As a result we’ve collected some tips to help you be the most efficient at using dictation.
With iOS 8, Apple expanded the iPad’s ability to share information in many different ways. This has long been a frequently requested feature that was already available on various other mobile platforms in one form or another. Sharing information and data, in any form, can be a very useful tool for all iPad owners. I want to discuss three of the best ways iPad users can share information, and the processes they can use to make this possible.
To use Apple services you need to start with an Apple ID. Your Apple ID is based on an email address you would like to associate with your account. Your Apple ID is your gateway to adding all kinds of content to your iPad, including Music, Apps, Movies, and Books. When you set-up your Apple ID you have the option to also use the same ID for your iCloud services account. However, this isn’t a requirement. You can also choose to set-up one Apple ID for for iCloud services, and a separate account for your iTunes, App Store, and iBook Store purchases.
Confused yet? Apple recommends creating one ID for both services to eliminate some of the confusion. They caution that using multiple Apple IDs might be confusing and might cause issues with accessing purchased content or using some services. However, in the event that you still want to keep your services separate, he is a quick and dirty how-to.
Security–it’s on our minds more than ever before. It seems like there isn’t a week that goes by where we don’t hear about some new exploit that allows someone to hack your most personal information. With our mobile devices containing more of this information with each new iteration, we need to stand up, take notice and do something about it. Through our own due diligence we can monitor some of this information. But what about our devices? What can we do to keep our iPads, and our data more secure?
One of the more useful ways to get the most out of your iPad is to set-up iCloud during the initial set-up process. Although if, for whatever reason you don’t, you can always come back to the set-up procedure at anytime in the Settings app on your iPad.
Update your iPad to the latest version of iOS
Making sure your iPad is running the latest version of iOS is the best way to ensure it is running at optimal performance. With every iOS update, even the incremental ones, Apple increases functionality of the device, by fixing bugs in the OS and making it that much more efficient. To check that you are running the most recent version of iOS, go to the Settings menu, select General–> Software Update. If there is a newer version available, follow the directions to complete the process.
I tend to use Siri a lot more on my Apple Watch and iPhone 5S, but there are still some great uses for it on the iPad. Apple wasn’t exaggerating those numbers during WWDC either: Siri really has gotten a lot faster over the past year — especially during the last few months. So if you’ve dabbled with Siri before but found the service a little too slow, I suggest you give it another try.
Incidentally, you’ll notice that I reference Siri as a “he”. That’s because I’ve chosen the male British accent for Siri, which makes me feel like I have my own version of Tony Stark’s Jarvis AI.
Now, without further ado, here are a few of my favourite uses for Siri on the iPad:
This is a bit more of a niche tip, but it could save a bit of pain for those who import camera photos onto the iPad. As I’ve written before, iCloud Photo Library is a great way to mirror your personal photos and videos across all of your iOS and OS X devices, but it requires Wi-Fi in order to update.
This means that the camera pictures I import to my iPad using the Sony PlayMemories app won’t propagate to other devices until I access Wi-FI network.
In these circumstances it can be tempting to forego the wait and just use AirDrop to transfer pictures to my Mac or iPhone, but I’ve found a pretty annoying issue with this process. iCloud Photo Library doesn’t seem smart enough to realize that the imported photos from the camera are the same photos that I’ve AirDropped to one of my other devices, so I’ve ended up with duplicates in my library: one set that was initially imported from the camera to the iPad, and the other set that I Airdropped from iPad to iPhone. Both sets end up in the library once all uploading is completed.
It takes a while to notice this because iCloud Photo Library needs some time to upload multiple 24 Megapixel JPEGs, but after a few instances of this, I realized that AirDrop was the culprit.
So my current camera workflow is as follows:
- Import pics to iPad using PlayMemories
- Wait for iCloud Photo Library to transfer the pictures to my other devices
This means I can’t easily preview the photos on other devices while I’m out and about, but it’s a cleaner process in the end.
While using your iPad there are occasions when, while reading or composing an email or text, you might have the inclination to look up the meaning and/or spelling of an unfamiliar word. If you’re never previously attempted to do this,
- Select the word you wish to define by holding your finger on the word to highlight it.
- Next, choose define. In a text message, you will have to choose select and then define.
Last week Apple “officially” introduced Apple Music to the public with the release of iOS 8.4. If/when you decide to activate the streaming music service on your iPad you will be able to use it for absolutely free for the next 3 months. Thomas recently posted his thoughts on Apple Music–and by the title of his article, I’d say he’s rather happy with it thus far. For some reason I’ve never really been a big fan of streaming music. However, with nothing to lose but the opportunity to try the service for free, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to test the waters across all my iOS devices.
After the free-trial period has ended, you will have two membership options available for continuing your streaming service. The first offering is a single user account that will cost $9.99/month. The second option is a Family plan that can accommodate up to six members and costs a surprising $14.99. Both versions will grant you access to the full Apple Music library, along with recommendations, and unlimited skips on each of the radio stations.
During the World Wide Developer Conference a little over two weeks ago, Apple released the first beta version of iOS 9 to developers. Many tech bloggers expect the public release of iOS 9 later this summer to be a “minor” upgrade from iOS 8 in terms of “new” features. However, it is widely believed that a concentrated effort made to focus primarily on stability and performance would be a welcomed deviation with an operating system as mature as iOS. The lack of a “laundry list” of new features is unlikely to deter the die-hard iOS faithful, and probably won’t play a big role in discouraging users from wanting to test out the beta.
There is always a electric buzz in the air this time of year for Apple and iOS. WWDC serves as the kindling for the summer excitement that continues to catch fire and build until new iPhones and iPads are released alongside a refreshed version of iOS in late September/early October. With this excitement, comes a desire by many to acquire access to an iOS developer account which grants them certain “privileges” the average consumer must wait for–specifically, the ability to download the latest beta version of iOS ahead of the public launch.
With great power, comes great responsability
I know what you’re thinking–I _really_ want to try out iOS 9 NOW–I don’t care that it’s still in beta. Well, truth-be-told, beta is beta. Pre-released versions of iOS software are released exclusively for those who develop for Apple, and iOS. Access to beta software aids developers in making their apps the best they can be so that when the newest iPads and iPhones are released to the public their apps work from the start. From Apple…
So this year your family said enough is enough–it’s time Dad got caught up with the times and started using an iPad like the rest of the world! Great! Awesome! Exciting! Now what? I know there are plenty of tech savvy Dad’s out there that know what they’re doing with regard to their favorite gadgets. I’d like to think I’m one of them–at least most of the time. However, maybe for you it’s been a while since you’ve been pushed out of your comfort zone and tried something new. Regardless of your level of expertise, there is a basic set of steps every one should take after purchasing/receiving a new iPad, and we’re going to highlight a few of the most important ones to get you on your way to enjoying your new device ASAP.
Back-up you data
I know this doesn’t necessarily pertain to those who are getting a new iPad for the first time, but I felt it was important enough that it should be the first thing we talk about. First and foremost, and this can never be overstated enough–anytime you are upgrading to a new device, you need to back-up your data–preferably in more than one place. I generally back-up my devices in iCloud as well as in iTunes. It might seem excessive until that one time when you don’t have it. Backing up your data should also continue _after_ you go through the initial process. I highly recommend you turn on automatic iCloud back-ups. It’s easy, convenient, and it happens in the background while you sleep at night as long as you are connected to Wi-Fi.