Great iPad Tips Every Owner Should Know

Make the most of your iPad

Man using iPad to video chat with young boy
Kathleen Finlay/Image Source/Getty Images

The iPad is a fantastic tablet, yet most people don't know all the handy tips and shortcuts that make life simpler with it. New iOS updates are continually adding cool new features, too, so you can be forgiven if you don't know everything your iPad might be able to do for you. We'll help you learn some of those key features here.

Find Apps Quickly

iPad Spotlight Search

How do you find a particular app you installed on your iPad when you have lots, and some collected under groups? Don't waste time flipping through the screens; instead, use the iPad's Spotlight search, which can be accessed by swiping down on the screen.

Once you get used to searching the iPad, you won't know how you had the patience to do it any other way. You can also use this method to search through your contacts or even your email.

Skip the Apostrophe When Typing

Turn off auto-correct on iPad

The iPad's autocorrect can sometimes get on your nerves, but at other times it can really be nice. If you type a lot, you'll no doubt need to use the apostrophe regularly, especially when you use a contraction like "can't" or "won't." Our favorite iPad typing tip is using the autocorrect to change "cant" to "can't" and "wont" to "won't."

Turn it on in the Settings app by going to General > Keyboards.

Onscreen Music Controls

The iPad has buttons on the side for changing the volume, but how about skipping a song? You don't need to launch the music app just to skip a song. The iPad's Control Panel will let you do things like adjusting the brightness of the screen, turn Bluetooth on, and even reach the timer. Simply slide your finger up from the very bottom edge of the screen. You can pause, play, or skip forward or backward.

Connect Your iPad to Your HDTV

airplay
AirPlay is one of the coolest features of the iPad, but it can be frustrating when things go wrong.

You aren't limited to the iPad's display if you are watching a movie or playing a game. You can also connect the iPad to an HDTV. The easiest way is through Apple TV, which supports AirPlay and lets you wirelessly cast your iPad's screen to your TV.

But even if you have no interest in Apple TV, you can buy an adapter to plug your iPad into your TV. The best solution is Apple's Digital AV Adapter, but you can also get composite or component cables.

Split the Safari Web Browser in Two

A demonstration of Split View in Safari

You'll need a newer iPad to make use of this tip. The iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4, and iPad Pro or newer tablets support a split-view feature with the Safari browser. This mode splits the browser into two windows side by side, which allows you to view two websites at the same time. Because the iPad needs a little elbow room for this one, you must be holding the iPad in landscape mode.

To enter split view in the Safari browser, tap and hold the Pages button—the button in the upper-right corner of the Safari screen that looks like a square on top of another square. When you tap this button, you will see all of your open web pages, but when you hold your finger down on it, a menu appears that offers you the choice of opening split view (if your iPad supports it), opening a new tab, or closing all of your Safari tabs.

When you are in split view, this menu appears at the bottom of the display. To close out of split view, do the same thing: hold down the Pages button to get the option to merge all tabs.

Install a Custom Keyboard

Even better than skipping the apostrophe when typing is installing a brand-new screen keyboard on your iPad. Now that widgets are supported, you can install a custom keyboard. These keyboards can come with many different advantages. Can install a third-party keyboard by downloading one from the App Store and turning it on in the iPad's keyboard settings.

Add Apps to the Home Screen Bottom Tray

iPad Home screen with Settings app

The iPad comes with four apps on the bottom tray of the home screen, but you can add up to six apps to it. You can even remove the ones that are there by default and add your own.

Simply tap and hold an app icon until all the apps start shaking. This gesture allows you to move apps around by dragging them with your finger. To get an app into the bottom tray, just drag it down and drop it on the tray. You'll see the other apps move over to make room for it, and that lets you know it is okay to drop it.

You can drop entire folders into the bottom tray, too. So if you have a bunch of games you always want quick access to, simply put them all in a folder and then drop the folder on this tray.

Organize Your Apps With Folders

Folder on the iPad

While using Spotlight to search for apps is great, typing an app name each time you want to access it may not be for you. Folders let you get to apps with a couple taps or swipes. Use folders to organize your iPad and separate apps into personalized categories. The iPad will create a default folder name that is often a pretty good description of the apps it contains, but you can rename the category title to anything you want.

To create a folder, simply hold your finger down on an app's icon until all of the apps begin to shake. Next, drag the app on top of another app, and the iPad will create a folder containing the apps. To add more apps to the folder, simply drag them over and drop them on the newly created folder.

You can even arrange your iPad so that most of your apps are stored in folders lined across the bottom tray and your most-used apps are on the first page of the Home screen.

The iPad's Virtual Touchpad Will Make You Forget Your Mouse

Did you know there's a virtual touchpad built into your iPad? This touchpad may not be as good as the real thing, but it's close. Use it any time the on-screen keyboard appears. Simply hold two fingers down on the keyboard and move them around the screen. You will know it is activated because the letters on the keyboard will go blank.

As you move your fingers around the screen, the cursor will move with them. If you tap and hold for a moment before moving your fingers, you can even select text this way. And you don't need to tap your fingers on the actual keyboard for this to work. You can tap two fingers anywhere on the screen to engage the touchpad.

Reboot the iPad

Steps to reboot your iPad
Lifewire / Nick Reiter

Is your iPad running slow? Reboot it. Does an app quit every time you launch it? Reboot it.

Don't confuse putting the iPad into suspend mode with a hard reboot. To really give your iPad a fresh start, reboot it by following these steps:

  1. Hold down the Sleep/Wake button at the same time as pressing the Home button. Hold these for a few seconds. The iPad will then go blank as it shuts down.
  2. Hold down the Sleep/Wake button again to boot it back up. When you see the Apple logo appear, release the Sleep/Wake button. The iPad's home screen will appear momentarily.

Save Battery Life by Turning Down Screen Brightness

Brightness slider in Control Center for iOS on iPad

Conserve your iPad's battery by reducing the screen brightness. Open the iPad's Settings app and choose Display & Brightness from the left-side menu. (If you have an older iPad, the option may be called Brightness & Wallpaper.) Adjust the slider to change the brightness of the display—the dimmer the display, the less energy consumed.

Disable In-App Purchases

Turn off in-app purchases on the iPad if children will access your iPad. Otherwise, that seemingly free game may end up costing a lot of money after your 7-year-old buys a bunch of in-game currency at $4.99 a tap.

First, enable parental controls by going into your iPad's Settings app choosing General > Restrictions. In the Restrictions menu, enable restrictions, which requires a four-digit passcode.

After you've enabled these parental controls, scrolling down the page until you see the option for In-App Purchases. When you slide it to the Off position, most apps won't even show the screen for purchasing items, and those that do will be prevented from going through with any transactions.

Control Your PC From Your iPad

Want to take things a step further? Control your PC from your iPad. This trick works on both Windows-based PCs and Macs. You will need to install software on your PC as well as an app on your iPad, but it is simple to set it up. There is even a free software option, although if you plan on using it extensively, you might want to go with a premium solution.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg website

Project Gutenberg endeavors to bring public domain books to the digital world for free. These books are available through the iBooks Store, though Apple doesn't make it quite so easy to find them.

Find a list of all the free books by going to the store within the iBooks Store, tapping Browse and then Free from the tabs at the top. Not all the books here are from Project Gutenberg; some are just books that newer authors are giving away for free, but you'll see plenty listed if you prefer to browse.

Project Gutenberg includes a lot of great books like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. If you have a particular book in mind, search for it.