10 Fun Tricks You Never Knew Your iPad Could Perform

man on ipad
Getty Images / Peter Macdiarmid

One of the biggest selling points of the iPad is the large ecosystem of apps and accessories that make so many things possible, from watching TV on your iPad to watching your iPad on your TV. This list of fun iPad tricks will not only help you out with those two features, but give you some more ideas on how you can stun and amaze your friends, or at the very least, get the most out of your iPad.

Use a Virtual Touchpad on Your iPad

Do you miss the touchpad on your laptop? The touch controls of the iPad are usually a quite sufficient --and in some cases even preferred—way to control the iPad. But when it comes to selecting text or simply placing the cursor, it's hard not to miss having a mouse or a touchpad. That is, of course, unless you know about the Virtual Touchpad. When you have the iPad's on-screen keyboard displayed, you usually have access to the Virtual Touchpad. Simply touch two of your fingers down on the screen at the same time to activate it. The keys on the keyboard will turn blank and you can move your fingers to move the cursor just as if you were controlling a real touchpad.

Connect the iPad to Your TV

Did you know you can get your iPad to output its display to your HDTV? There are actually a few ways to accomplish this trick, the easiest of which is to buy Apple's Digital AV Adapter. This adapter lets you plug your iPad into the HDMI input of your TV, and if you own an iPad 2, the TV will mirror the iPad's display. You can also accomplish this without the wires if you own AppleTV by letting AirPlay do the work.

Create Your Own Movie Trailer or Simply Edit Videos on Your iPad

If you have bought a new iPad (or iPhone) in the past few years, you have access to the iWork and iLife suite of apps for free. This includes iMovie, which is fully featured video editor that will allow you to cut and splice video together from multiple videos, utilize features like slow motion and bring music into the video.

It also has some really fun templates. When you launch a new iMovie project, you are given the choice between creating a Movie, which lets you work without a template, or a Trailer, which gives you fun choices like Fairy Tale, Romance,

Watch TV on Your iPad

There are a lot of great apps for viewing movies on your iPad, but what about watching cable television? There are a few ways you can get your favorite TV stations on your iPad, the best of which include Sling TV and the Sling Player Sling TV is Internet TV in the most literal sense, allowing you to stream channels to any of your devices. Sling Player is a bit different. It operates by intercepting your current cable broadcast and "slinging" it to your iPad. And these are just two of several ways to watch TV on your iPad.

Use Your iPad as a Second Monitor

This is a really neat trick. Your iPad can be used as a virtual monitor for your PC. Apps like Duet Display and Air Display let you turn your tablet into a monitor. The ability to have two monitors can do wonders for productivity, and if you already own an iPad, there's no need to spend $200 or more on another display when cheaper alternatives are available.


Plug Your Guitar Into Your iPad

The iRig and Gibson's GuitarConnect cable are both great ways to get hooked up, but once you've plugged your guitar into your iPad, you'll want to do something with it. The iShredLive app works great alongside the GuitarConnect cable, and it even works with Gibson's Stompbox, which lets you control which effects are active via a foot pedal. But the Stompbox isn't quite as great as it seems, and another solid way to get plugged in is through the iRig and IK Multimedia's AmpliTube.

And while you won't exactly be throwing out that Boss multi-effects package or junking all of your foot pedals, the sound you get out of these apps is actually pretty good, if not quite stage-ready.

Launch Apps Using a Magical Incantation

OK. So maybe the magical incantation sounds a lot like "Launch Mail". It still seems like magic. Siri is an extremely powerful tool that most people don't use enough. One of the very useful features is the ability to launch apps. So if you've ever hunted through screen after screen of app icons looking for Facebook, you could save a lot of time by just having Siri "launch Facebook" for you.

You can also use Siri to play music (even a playlist), dial a phone number from your contacts or read your text messages.

Control Your PC With Your iPad

We've talked about using your iPad as a second monitor, but what about controlling your PC with your iPad? Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a system that allows desktop sharing and can be used to allow the iPad to control your PC's desktop. Two great apps that are compatible with the VNC protocol are Real VNC, which lets you take a test run for free, and Parallels Access, which actually helps make Windows on your iPad easier to control via touch.

Turn Siri Into a Man... or British

Does Siri's voice grate on your nerves? You aren't stuck with it. In fact, the English version of Siri comes with both male and female counterparts. It also has American, Australian and British accents.

You can change the gender and accent by launching the Settings app, choosing Siri from the left-side menu and tapping "Siri Voice" towards the bottom of the Siri options. And if you really want to have some fun, you can change Siri's language to open up more options. The Language option is just above Siri's voice options.

Suck Real World Drawings Into the iPad

The iPad's popularity has led to a fantastic ecosystem of really cool accessories from an arcade cabinet that will turn your iPad into an old-fashioned coin-operated game to real-world race cars that are completely controlled by the iPad. One of the coolest kid's accessories we've seen is the Osmo system, which uses a mirror and the iPad's camera to recognize shapes and interact with the real world in a unique way. This allows your child to play games with the iPad without simply using the iPad screen. Instead, they can draw in front of the iPad and have their drawing interact with the objections on the display, creating a whole new way to play and learn with the iPad.