Category Archives: iPad Tips & Tricks

The iPad and the iPad 2 are amazing and powerful devices. To help you do amazing things with it, we offer this collection of tips and tricks and how-to articles.

Some of these are iPad Basics sort of stuff that are helpful for newer users- for instance, how to instantly jump to the top of a web or email page, how to save images from the iPad web browser or email apps. Others are how-to’s that are useful even for iPad power users – things like how to print from the iPad, or the best ways to get photos and videos transferred from an iPhone to the iPad without having to connect to a PC, or how to disable In-App purchases so your kids can’t inadvertently run up your App Store spending.

I hope some of these iPad tips will help you get the most out of your iPad.

Launch Apps With A Keyboard in iOS 9.3

  

I’ve never had a keyboard attached as often as the Smart Keyboard has been on this iPad Pro. iOS 9.3 beta 4 came out four days ago, and even this incremental beta has new changes over iOS 9.3 b3. I can now CMD + Tab between applications and have the text cursor follow me to the new active app, even in Split View mode. I’m also seeing little bug fixes for iMessage displaying properly as the keyboard is dismissed during Split View. 

What all this means is that iOS is just feeling more reliable, and I’m feeling more and more confident about working and writing on the iPad Pro. As I spend more time on this gigantic slab of glass, I’m settling into a new habit for launching apps.

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How to install the iOS 9 Public Beta on your iPad

Apple_Beta_Software_Guide-iOS9_3

With the release of iOS 9, Apple introduced the iOS Public Beta Software Program. This was a big change for Apple and how they previously guarded new features that had yet to be released on iOS. For the first time they were welcoming input from the typical user, and not just from developers. This was a well thought out decision on their part, as there are millions of active users who could prove to be invaluable. iOS users could assist Apple in detecting bugs and unforeseen issues that can arise in the wild, and then provide feedback to Apple engineers through an app that is downloaded to their device during the installation process.

The Public Beta Program is available to anyone willing to install beta software on their iOS devices.  As with any beta software, there may be times when the stability of the operating system might not be ideal.  You could potentially experience occasional to frequent crashes and re-springs. While this may not happen during your experience, it is the trade-off for early access to new features. Continue reading

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iOS 9.3 Allows You To Delete Photos Within Albums

iOS 9.3 delete photos in albums

iOS 9.3 has a great feature that seems to have flown under the radar: the ability to delete (not just remove) photos inside of albums. Previous to this, the only thing you could do to a photo within an album was remove it by tapping on the trash can button. However, removing photos from an album does only that: remove a metatag that associated those photos with a particular album. Those photos will still exist on your camera roll and take up space.

This is an issue if you’re re-reviewing old albums and you happen upon some pictures you don’t really like or need any more. It was easy to pick out the images I wanted to delete, but instead of deleting them from right within the album, I had to find them in the Photos tab (under a specific Moment) and delete them there. It was a silly extra step.

This limitation is what prompted me to use Favorites (the hearts on iOS) to tag photos for deletion. I would previously add a heart to any photo I didn’t want to keep, and then I’d head to my Favorites album, select all items, and delete everything. Specifying an item as a Favorite is really just another way of adding a metatag, but Apple gave this folder the extra special privilege of being able to delete photos within it. If you press on the trash can while viewing Favorites you won’t see an option to remove photos, you’ll just be prompted to delete them.

However, as of iOS 9.3, were now given a choice of whether you want to remove a photo from an album, or simply delete it altogether. This is a simple, lovely change that makes a lot of sense.

My new workflow in iOS 9.3 for culling large numbers of photos is to add them to an album called Rejected. This is working better than Favorites because I could only ever tag one photo as a Favorite at a time. This meant moving from picture to picture and tapping on the Favorite button to tag each one for deletion. Today I can select multiple thumbnails from the Photos tab and add them all at once to a Rejected album.
Once that’s done, I head to the Rejected album in the Albums tab, select everything, and tap on the trash can. This is a wonderfully easy way to cull shots after a day of shooting.

This has also freed up the Favorites button for its intended use: for tagging the pictures I like the most. I’ll be using this Favorites list for tagging shots for Instagram or 500px because the Favorites album tends to have a favoured spot in iOS 9. It’s usually near the top, just under the All Photos view in any photo picker, and it also displays its pictures in chronological order (unlike user-created albums).

It’s really feeling like Apple is listening to user feedback and is paying attention to the little trouble spots in iOS, and I’m really impressed by how much has made it into iOS 9.3 thus far. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a few hundred pictures to delete.

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iMessage Read Receipts; the Pros and Cons of activating this feature on your iPad

iMessage-icon

I love iMessages.  In a world of smart phone and tablet parity, it’s one of the more compelling reasons to use an iPhone or iPad.  This is especially true if your friends and family also use iOS.  During my one year Android experiment a few years ago, it was one of the main features I missed, because the majority of my contacts used iOS. So what is it about iMessage that makes it stand out in a crowded world of messenger apps?  Well there are several features that come to mind…

  • iMessage Read Receipts (I’ll expand more on this in a minute).
  • The ability to see if the person you’re texting with is currently typing.
  • Built into iOS, therefore making it the default messenger app for millions of iPhone and iPad users.
  • iMessage forwarding to other devices signed into your iCloud account–like your Mac
  • The ability to send and receive at multiple iOS devices using multiple accounts.
  • The ability to block and/or turn off iMessages from people who are not in your contacts, and sort them into a separate list.
  • The ability to send and receive audio and video messages

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Using Spotlight in iOS 9 for Offline Conversions and Calculations

  
 

It can be difficult to memorize all of them, but there’s no denying that keyboard shortcuts provide the fastest way of navigating an operating system. I do still think Apple has a lot of holes to plug with regards to missing shortcuts on iOS, but they are making strides with every dot update (ex. iOS 9.3 brings new shortcuts for iBooks). 

However, one feature that has really grown over the past few years is Spotlight. It got some major upgrades in iOS 8 with Spotlight suggestions — little contextual suggestions based on location or app usage — but there was still a strange disconnect between what Spotlight and Siri could provide. Siri could do calculations and quick conversions, but only if you used your voice. If you typed a conversion request like “53 CAD to USD” into Spotlight in iOS 8, you’d simply get an offer for a web search. 

iOS 9 changed that by integrating Siri with Spotlight, granting some more intelligent and proactive parsing to the universal search bar. Having the Smart Keyboard attached 99% of the time has made Spotlight into the Swiss Army Knife of my iPad Pro — the quick tool I utilize in a lot of my daily activities. I love how quickly the feature activates, and how I can summon it regardless of which app I’m in.

One of my favourite use cases after I press Cmd + Space to activate Spotlight is as a quick conversions and calculation tool. The iPad has long been missing a default calculator app (what’s with that, anyway?), but I no longer pine for one in iOS 9. Spotlight can help me in a pinch with lightning fast calculations and conversions. It’s so good that it has even replaced long-standing third party apps like Calcbot (which offered great conversion options and a really fun calculator interface).

Typing “3 lbs in kg” into Spotlight will show me a live conversion as the first search result, but what’s even cooler than that is that Spotlight knows I’m likely converting from imperial to metric, so simply writing “3 lbs” will show me the same search result. This is really handy, and much faster than any other third-party app I’ve used.

The same seems to go for my ever-worsening currency conversions from USD to CAD. Any time I’m about to shop for something online, I end up checking the exchange rate in Spotlight. It’s both depressing and highly efficient. I have done this enough times that I can simply write 300 USD and Spotlight will suggest the (much larger) sum in Canadian Dollars.

One last thing I realized only recently is that Spotlight seems to cache currency conversion rates. I’m not sure how often it refreshes the cache, but it does make enable currency conversions offline, which came as a pleasant surprise to me. I’ve always known Siro to be a service that’s completely dependent on an Internet connection, it’s interesting to see that certain aspects can be cached for offline use.

My next step for Spotlight would be to have it automatically parse other types of data. I want to be able to type “Event Lunch at Red Lobster Sunday 12pm” and see an option to create that exact event in my default calendar, and have it show up as the first search result in Spotlight. The same should be possible for creating Reminders. I don’t mind having to learn a specific syntax to do this, or mimicking the existing syntax for creating notes, events, and reminders within Siri. I also don’t see any reason why this couldn’t be an entirely offline module for Spotight, as well. If this type of enhancement could make it into an iOS 10 preview this June, I foresee Spotlight being one of the biggest selling points of iOS for power users.

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How to record and display active demonstrations on your iPad screen

QuickTimePlayer

With its large display, the iPad is a great demonstrative and teaching tool–especially in the classroom.  However, there may be times you find yourself trying to describe a procedure, or possibly where to locate a hidden iOS feature, and the person you need to share this information with is not in the same room.  Writing for a tech blog, I find this to be an invaluable tool that is rather easy to reproduce–and best of all, it’s free, too!

Start by connecting your Lightning / USB cable to your iPad or iPhone.  Unfortunately this procedure will not work with older devices that utilize the 30-pin dock connector.  In addition, your Mac needs to be running Yosemite (10.10) or El Capitan (10.11).  Now  launch QuickTime Player, and choose File–> New Movie Recording.  QuickTime will open with the default iSight Camera active.

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How to add a text-replacement shortcut to your iPad keyboard

iPad-keyboard-text-replcement

If you type routinely enough on your iPad or iPhone using the onscreen keyboard, it doesn’t take long to realize that there are certain words or phrases that you use on a regular basis,  This is especially true for iPad users–who are even more likely to pair their iPad with a bluetooth keyboard.  Since a detached keyboard can provide a more comfortable extension of your iPad, users are even more likely to do some serious typing.

Having said that, wouldn’t it be nice to use shortcuts while typing on your iPad the same way you can on your Mac? Turns out you can, and it’s easier than you think.  Oh sure, there are third-party apps that provide the same functionality.  But why not use the built-in option that Apple added way back in iOS 5.  I know I have been using it since then, but it still remains largely unknown by the average iPad and iPhone owner.

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Evernote at the Office: Round 2

  
I recently started a new job and have decided, once again, to use Evernote as my main note taking system. I know OneNote isn’t the best for me, and although I was strongly considering the default Notes app, the lack of Windows support keeps me on Evernote.

This time around I wanted to avoid doing what I did at my last job: logging into my personal Evernote account on my office machine. I have thousands of notes in my account and only a quarter of them ever applied to work, so it slowed me down to have them appear in search results while at work. There are Saved Searches to filter specifically for a notebook, but they require an extra tap every time I initiate a search. I’d rather just tap the search bar and be done.

When I first used Evernote at work, I was hoping to selectively sync specific notebooks to the machine (similarly to how Dropbox works on desktop machines). However, that kind of data splitting isn’t possible within the same Evernote account. OneNote can selectively sync notebooks to a device, but Evernote only online notebooks — which sync to every logged-in device — and offline notebooks, which don’t sync at all.

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How to monitor battery usage on your iPad

battery-widget-icon-ios

Check this feature off in the very helpful, but wish I would have discovered it sooner category.  Perhaps you were searching for how to turn your battery percentage on in your iPad status bar and were lucky enough to stumble across it sooner than me. No matter how you might, or might not have gotten there, knowing how you spend your valuable iPad battery charge can be very empowering.

To navigate to the battery settings go to Settings–>Battery. Not only can you monitor your battery usage over the last 24 hours, but you can also see a snapshot of what your activity level was over the last 7 days, and the proportion of the battery used by each app you interacted with.  In addition, by selecting the clock icon to the far right of the battery usage menu you can view the actual amount of on screen hours the app was active as well as the amount of time each app was running in the background.

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(9) of the most useful Safari shortcuts on the iPad

SafariWho doesn’t love a great shortcut?  If there’s an easier way to accomplish a task on my iPad or iPhone, I’m all for it. One of the apps I use the most on my iPad is Safari. From browsing the internet, to blogging on iPad Insight, to managing my finances, Safari on the iPad is a workhorse for me. There are many shortcuts that make your experience on Safari more enjoyable and easier to navigate., While some of these shortcuts might be known to many of us, hopefully you will find a few in this list that haven’t previously known.

Re-order, Dismiss and remotely delete tabs

This shortcut is 3-in-one bonus that makes it easier to keep your Safari tabs in order. After you have launched the Safari app, select the tabs button in the upper right corner of your screen. To re-order your active tabs, tap and hold on any page and move it to the desired order of your choice.  To dismiss a tab, once again select the tabs button in the upper right corner and slide the active page of your choice to the left off the screen.  It will disappear from your active tab window.

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iPad Apps with Night Mode / Dark Theme Support

OmniFocus 2 night mode

Before the release of the iOS 9.3 beta and Apple’s Night Shift feature (which warms the screen’s colour temperature at night), I had spent months looking to re-haul the apps I used on a daily basis. I wanted to optimize my home screen for apps that worked just as well in the day time as at night. This meant the inclusion of some sort of night mode or dark theme, which is a strangely under-served feature on the App Store. I have a lot of wonderful apps in my App Store account, but I’d reckon that only about 10-20% of them have thought about how the apps appear at different times of day.

If you aren’t familiar with night mode, it usually involves switching up the colour scheme and contrast levels in apps, turning whites into blacks, and vice versa. Many times this simply involves inverting all of the colours on the screen, but the best apps choose colours that suit light and dark themes equally.

A lot of this was inspired by my experience with iBooks and the dark theme in that app. I like to do an hour of reading when I get into bed, and iBooks is my main app for devouring ePub files. The default theme tends to blind me when the lights are low (or off), whereas the black theme feels easier on my eyes. It’s not so dim that I have to struggle to read, but it isn’t so bright that I’m being blasted by light as I’m trying to go to sleep.

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