How to Customize Your iPad

Personalize your tablet with these easy tips

What to Know

This article explains how to customize your iPad experience, including creating photos and setting a personalized background image.

Organize Your iPad With Folders

The first thing you want to do with your iPad is to learn some of the basics, including how to create folders for your icons. You can create a folder by dragging one app and dropping it on top of another app. When you have an app held just above another's icon, you can tell a folder will be created because the target app is highlighted.

You can dock folders at the bottom of the iPad, which gives you quick access to those applications. When you don't have quick access, you can use Spotlight Search to look for any app, music, or movie on your iPad. You can even search the web with Spotlight Search.

Personalize Your iPad With Pictures

Perhaps the easiest way to customize your iPad is to change out the background wallpaper and the image used on the lock screen. You can use photos of your spouse, family, friends, or just about any image you come across on the web. Best of all, it really makes your iPad stand out compared to everyone who just uses the default background wallpaper.

Woman takes photo of flowers using a tablet

Sunwoo Jung / Getty Images

The easiest way to set your background picture is to go into the Photos app, navigate to the picture you want to use, and tap Share > Use as Wallpaper. When you select this option, you have the choice of setting it as your lock screen background, home screen background, or both. 

Give Yourself or Someone Else a Nickname

This is a really cool trick that can turn out to be quite funny. You can tell Siri to call you by a nickname. This can be an actual nickname, like calling you "Bob" instead of "Robert," or it can be a fun nickname like "Flip" or "Sketch." 

Multicultural friends with funny nickname labels on foreheads

LightFieldStudios / Getty Images

Here's how you do it: Just activate Siri and say, "Siri, call me Sketch." 

The fun part is that you can give anyone a nickname by filling in the nickname field in the contacts list. So, you could "text Mom" to send a text message to your mother or "Facetime Goofball" to call a friend. 

Add a Custom Keyboard

The latest iteration of the iPad operating system allows you to install widgets. A widget is a small slice of an app that can run in the notification center or take over other parts of your iPad, such as the on-screen keyboard. 

iPad Keyboard
Justin Sullivan / Staff

You first need to download a custom keyboard like Swype or Google's GBoard from the App Store. Next, you "enable" the keyboard by launching the iPad's Settings app and going to General Settings > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard. You should find your newly downloaded keyboard listed. Tap the slider to turn it on. 

How do you get your new keyboard to pop up when the on-screen keyboard appears? There is a globe or a smiley face key on the keyboard next to the voice dictation key by the space bar. You can tap it to cycle through keyboards or tap-and-hold to select a keyboard.

Customize Your iPad With Sounds

Another neat way to make your iPad stand out is to customize the different sounds it makes. You can use custom sound clips for new mail, sending mail, reminder alerts, and text tones. You can even set a custom ringtone, which is handy if you use FaceTime. Among the different custom sounds are a telegraph (great for the new mail sound), a bell, a horn, a train, a suspenseful horn section, and even the sound of a magic spell being cast.

iPad sounds settings

You can customize sounds in the iPad's Settings app by tapping Sounds on the left-side menu. You can also turn off the keyboard clicking sound from these settings.

Lock and Secure Your iPad

Let's not forget about security! Not only can you lock your iPad with a passcode or an alphanumeric password, but you can also turn on restrictions to disable certain apps or functions on your iPad. You can even restrict features on the App Store so it allows you to only download apps fit for kids, for example.

Man using touchscreen device, close-up

Andrew Brookes / Getty Images

You set a passcode by going into the iPad's Settings app and tapping either Touch ID & Passcode from the left menu or simply Passcode, depending on if you have an iPad with Touch ID or not. Select Turn Passcode On to get started. 

The latest update defaults to a 6-digit passcode, but you can use a 4-digit code by tapping Passcode Options

If you have an iPad with Touch ID, you can even bypass your passcode by resting your finger on the fingerprint sensor (Home Button) while on the lock screen. It's one of many cool things you can do with Touch ID beyond just buying stuff. It also means there's no reason not to have your iPad secured with a passcode, since you won't need to type in the code yourself. 

There is a lot more you can do to tweak your iPad, including a few settings that can make your battery last longer. You can also turn on multitasking gestures, which can make switching between apps easier, and even set up home sharing to share music and movies from your PC to your iPad, which is a great way to save storage space.

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