Getting Started with iPad – A Few Basic Tips

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iPad Getting Started Tips

A quick set of Getting Started tips for the iPad

Today is iPad Launch Day Part 2 – the day that the iPad WiFi + 3G models hit the streets.  I’ve had my WiFi only iPad for just about four weeks now, so this seems as good a time as any to share a few quick ‘iPad Starter’ type tips.

Read on for some categorized tips that I hope may be helpful if you’re just getting to know your lovely new iPad …

iPad Hardware Buttons

You’ve likely noticed straight away that the iPad has very few buttons.  When holding the ipad in Portrait mode, there are the Power button at the top right, the Home button bottom center, and the Volume and Screen Rotation Lock buttons near the top of the right-hand side of the iPad.

How to Power Off the iPad: To power off the iPad, just hold down the Power button for a few seconds, until you see the ‘Slide to Power Off’ bar across the top of the screen.  Slide across that and the iPad will shut down.  To restart it just press the Power button again for about 3 seconds.

Screen Rotation Lock Is Your Friend: Just above the Volume button is the very handy Screen Rotation Lock button.  This may well become one of your best friends on the iPad.  It’s great to use when you are using the iPad while laying down or sitting well back, as it can be very easy for the screen to flip from portrait to landscape (or vice versa) when you don’t want it to.  Locking screen rotation will stop this from happening.

How To Snap a Picture of What’s on Your iPad Screen:  Want to take a picture of what’s on your iPad screen?  It’s easy to do.  Just hold down the Home button and Power button simultaneously for a quick second.  You’ll see the screen flash white for a moment.  The image will be saved to your Saved Photos album in the Photos app.

You can also create new images from existing pictures by using the screen capture method.  For instance, you might have a picture of a person, showing their whole body.  You can pinch to zoom in the Photos app on that image and zoom in on just their face, for example.  When zoomed in, take a screenshot.  That screenshot will immediately be added to your Saved Photos album.

How To Force an Application to Close: If you have an application on the iPad that has stopped responding properly, and will not close just by the normal method of pressing the Home button, here’s how to force it to close down.  Hold the Power Button for a few seconds until you see the Slide to Power Off bar – don’t slide on that, and don’t hit the Cancel button at the bottom of the screen – go and press and hold the Home button for a few seconds while those are showing and wait until you see the app go away and a drop back to the home screen.

How To Quickly Mute the iPad’s Volume: To mute the iPad’s volume (across all apps) just hold down the volume down (bottom) portion of the Volume button on the right side of the iPad for 2 seconds.

How To Bring Up Search: Using the Spotlight style search on the iPad is a great way to find things quickly and even to launch apps quickly. To bring up the Search screen, when you are at the first home screen just swipe left to right once.  From any other home screen, just tap the Home button once (to return to your first page) and then once again (don’t do two quick presses together – one and a pause and one more).

Double-Tap Home Button Options: You have a few choices for what happens when you double-tap the Home button.  You can choose to have this action take you to the home screen (just as a single press does, so sort of a waste), or go to the Search page, or to the iPod application.  To make your choice, go to the Settings app, then to the General section, then tap on the Home section in the right-hand pane.

Home settings

Some iPad Software Basics

Choose your own wallpaper for the home and lock screens: Everybody likes making the iPad a little more ‘my own’ by customizing their wallpaper choices.  Customizing your wallpaper is very easy, here are two quick methods:

— Go to the Photos app and choose an image you’d like to use as your wallpaper. Tap on it to show it in full screen view.  Then tap on the Sharing button at the top right of the screen (just to the left of the trash can icon). This will popup a dialog with a short set of sharing options – tap on ‘Use as Wallpaper’.  Then the next screen will let you choose whether to set this wallpaper for use on the lock screen, the home screen, or both.

Set iPad wallpaper

Or …

— Go to the Settings app and choose the Brightness & Wallpaper section in the left pane.  Then tap on Wallpaper over in the right pane. In the Wallpaper section, you can choose from built-in wallpapers, or photos and images in your albums.  You can also add more wallpaper choices via several third party apps that you can find in the App Store.  These should add themselves to the Wallpapers library.

Where is the iBooks app? You have probably heard quite a bit about Apple’s new iBooks app for the iPad, their eReader and eBooks Store application.  You will not see a home screen icon for it when you first fire up your new iPad.  It is a free app though and it’s easy to get it.  Just open up the App Store, and you’ll be prompted to add iBooks.

How To Use The iPad as a Digital Photo Frame: Being able to enjoy all your great photos and images on the iPad while its idling in its dock is a great little feature.  Here’s how you set it up to be a digital picture frame:

In the Settings app, tap the Picture Frame bar in the left-hand pane – it’s the fourth item down, below Wi-Fi, Notifications, and Brightness & Wallpaper.

– Select which of your albums you want to include, transition effects, whether to zoom in on faces, and so on.

– Then put the iPad in sleep mode and press the Home or Power button to wake it back up.  Don’t slide to unlock. Instead, tap on the button just to the right of the slide to unlock bar (with a flower icon it).

iPad Picture Frame settings

iPad as picture frame

How To Show the Battery Percentage in the Status Bar: If you like keeping track of how much battery life your iPad has left, you may want to choose to have the remaining %age displayed in the status bar at the top of the iPad screen.  To toggle this feature on or off go to the Settings app, and tap on the General section in the left pane. Towards the bottom of the list of items in the right pane, you’ll see Battery Percentage – just tap to set it to On or Off.

A Few General Things

Look for Apps Designed Specifically for the iPad: Your mileage may vary, but I have found that although nearly all my iPhone apps do work on the iPad, very few of them are a pleasure to use as genuine designed-for-iPad apps are.  They look rather silly and small at their normal size and often look blurry and odd when run in 2X mode.

It is expensive in many cases to change over to iPad apps, but worth it most of the time I think.

It’s a Major Fingerprint Magnet, Think About a Screen Protector: Many folks are not fond of using screen protectors with iPhone or iPads – but you will quickly notice that the iPad (despite all the blurb about its oleophobic coating preventing this) is constantly showing tons of fingerprints that detract from its loveliness.

There are many third party manufacturers that offer all sorts of screen protector options.  I still haven’t found a favorite option amongst these, but I think it’s well worth looking into getting one, as they offer some scratch protection and should keep the iPad screen from being constantly covered in fingerprints.

Importing Photos from an iPhone or Camera with the iPad Camera Connection Kit: If you’ve bought the iPad Camera Connection Kit, you’ll be able to easily import photos from your iPhones or cameras.  Here’s a post I made earlier running through how to do that:

Lots More Information and Tips

If you’re after a more complete overview of, and guide to using, the iPad I recommend the Macworld iPad Starter Guide.  It’s very thorough, well written, can be imported for reading right on the iPad itself, and comes in at an attractive price point of free.  Go here for details on how to grab the guide and get it on your iPad:

I hope this post is helpful to some of you as you get to know your shiny new iPad.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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