6 Hidden iPad Secrets That Will Turn You Into a Pro

01
of 06

iPad Secret #1: Tapping the Title Bar and Skipping the Apostrophe

Getty Images / Peter Macdiarmid

Have you ever wondered if there was a quick way to do this or a better way to do that on the iPad?  Each year, Apple releases a new version of the iOS operating system that runs the iPad.  And with each new version, features are introduced that can increase productivity by helping you do certain tasks faster and more efficiently.  There's only one problem: not everyone knows about them.   Over the next few pages, we'll take a look at some of these secret features.

The First Secret Feature: Tap the Title Bar and Skip the Apostrophe

We'll start with two secret tips that will really help speed up your ability to manipulate your iPad.  Have you ever scrolled down a long list or been at the bottom of a large web page and needed to get back to the top?  No need to scroll.  You can tap the title bar of the app or web page to return to the beginning.  This works with most apps and most web pages, though not every web page is designed to be iPad-friendly.  Learn to Navigate the iPad like a pro.

Skipping the apostrophe is also a great time-saver and ranks as my number one keyboard tip.  The auto-correct feature on the iPad can sometimes be quite annoying, but at times, it can also really work for you.  For example, there's no need to hunt down the apostrophe for most contractions.  Auto Correct will automatically change "cant" to "can't" and "wont" to "won't". There are some exceptions.  It won't know the difference between "well" and "we'll", but it works quite well in most instances.

02
of 06

iPad Secret #2: Find Music, Contacts and Apps Quickly Using Spotlight Search

Did you know the iPad has a universal search feature?  There's no need to go hunting through pages and pages of apps for just the right one, and no reason to open music just to play a song.  "Spotlight Search" can find anything from music to videos to contacts to apps on your device.  It will even suggest websites to visit.   

You can launch Spotlight Search by swiping down with your finger while you are on the Home Screen, which is the name of the screen with all of your apps on it.  Anytime you are on the Home Screen (i.e. not inside an app or using Siri), you can swipe down to initiate a Spotlight Search.   The key here is to swipe down somewhere in the middle of the screen.  If you swipe from the very top of the display, you will open the Notification Center.

The great thing about Spotlight Search is that it searches your entire device, so you can even use it to search for a specific text message or email.  It will even search through Notes.  You can turn on and off different results through the general settings of your iPad under Spotlight Search.

03
of 06

iPad Secret #3: Download Free Books on Your iPad

Everyone likes free stuff!  And you can get plenty of freebies with your iPad if you know where to look.  For book lovers, the best freebie comes from something called Project Gutenberg.  The goal of Project Gutenberg is to take the world's library of public domain works and convert them to digital.   Treasure Island, Dracula, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan are just a few of the books you can download for free on your iPad.   

  • If you haven't already done so, you'll first need to download the iBooks application.  This is Apple's digital bookstore and reader.  
  • After you launch the iBooks app, tap the "Top Charts" button at the bottom of the screen.  This will bring up two lists: the top Paid books and the top Free books.  
  • Tap the "Categories" button at the top-left corner of the screen.  This will drop down a categories list.  If you are interested in reading some of the greatest literature of all time without paying a dime, select "Fiction and Literature" from the list.  
  • You will now be able to scroll through the most popular free novels available through iBooks.  You can further narrow the list by choosing a category like "Sci-Fi & Fantasy" or "Young Adult".  

Do you want a shortcut to some great books?  Check out our list of the best free books on the iPad.  

04
of 06

iPad Secret #4: Move an App to the iPad's Dock

Do you hate scrolling through multiple screens of apps looking for your favorite one? There are a number of tricks for finding an app on your iPad quickly, including using spotlight search, but one of the most overlooked tricks is simply docking your favorite app. The 'dock' refers to the final row of apps at the very bottom of the iPad's display. These apps are always present on the "home" screen, which means you don't have to scroll through page after page of apps to find them. And the best part is that you can move any app you want to the dock.

How to Move an iPad App

The iPad comes with five apps on the dock, but there is space for the sixth app of your choice. You can also move one of the default apps off the dock and put an app in its place. And moving an app to the dock is easier than moving it to a different page of apps.

  • First, touch the app you want to move and leave your finger on the screen until the app icons are jiggling. This puts the iPad's home screen into 'edit' mode, which lets you either move or delete an app.
  • Next, move your finger. The app icon will move with your finger. If you accidentally picked your finger up from the screen, you can still 'grab' the app by tapping on it and moving your finger without lifting it from the screen.
  • You can dock an app by moving it to the dock. You will want to place it between two existing apps on the dock and wait until those apps move apart to provide space for the app you want on the dock.
  • If you already have six apps on the dock, you will first need to move one of them off the dock before docking the app of your choice. You do this the same way you would put an app on the dock. Simply place your fingertip on the app you want to move off the dock and then -- again without lifting your finger from the screen -- move it to the page of apps. If you move it into the middle of a row, the apps will move apart to give it space. This is when you 'drop' the app on the row by lifting your finger.

Get a Guided Tour of the iPad

Did You Know: You Can Also Move Folders to the Dock?

This is a great trick if you have a handful of apps that you want easy access to but want to keep most of the default apps on the dock. First, create a folder of apps by moving one app onto another. Once you've moved all the apps you want into the folder, move the folder to the dock just as you would any app.

You can even use this method to create one screen for all of your apps. Put your apps into six categories, create folders for those categories and fill them with all he apps that fit the description, and then move those folders to the dock. You can leave your most used apps on the main screen, so you have quick access to them, and your other apps can be within one of the folders.

05
of 06

iPad Secret #2: The Hidden Control Panel

Apple loves the idea of hiding features above, below or to the side of the screen.  For example, if you swipe down from the very top edge of the iPad's display, you will reveal the notifications center.  The same is true for swiping from the very bottom edge of the iPad's screen where the display and the bevel meet.  When you swipe up from the bottom edge, you reveal the hidden control panel. 

You can do a lot of cool things from this panel such as access the AirDrop feature, turn the brightness up or down, go into Airplane mode and lock the rotation.  You can even launch a timer, and perhaps best of all, open the iPad's camera.  

You also have quick access to music controls by swiping from left-to-right on the control panel to reveal the playback section.   These controls will work whether you are jamming to a custom radio station on Pandora or playing your own music.   

Of course, if all you need to do is adjust the volume, don't forget the buttons on the side of the iPad! 

There is a similar control panel on the iPhone that includes a flashlight in addition to the features found on the iPad's control panel.

Bonus Tip: When you launch the Timer from the control panel, the iPad opens the Clock app.  This app also has a Stopwatch feature and an Alarm feature, so it is also a great way to set an alarm.

06
of 06

iPad Secret #6: Let Your iPad Read Selected Text to You

Do you want to give your eyes a rest?  Let your iPad do the heavy lifting -- or, in this case, the heavy reading -- for you.   The iPad has the ability to speak selected text to you, but first, you will need to turn this feature on in the accessibility settings.   The text-to-speech feature is designed to help the vision impaired, but it can be very useful to most people.   For example, the iPad could allow you to multitask by reading an interesting news article to you while your cook dinner.  

How to Turn On the iPad's Text-to-Speech Feature

  • First, go into the iPad's settings. 
  • Next, choose General settings from the left-side menu.
  • Tap "Accessibility" from within the General settings.  It is just above the section for Multitasking Gestures.  
  • From within the Accessibility settings, choose Speech.  This is the last option in the Vision block.  
  • Turn on "Speak Selection" by tapping the associated slider.  This setting will add a new "Speak" option to the menu that appears when you select text.   
  • If you think you may use the feature often, you can also turn on "Speak Screen".  This allows you to slide two fingers down from the top of the display to read the entire screen to you.  This doesn't work so well with web pages where the top of the screen is filled with menus, but it works well with other apps like Mail.  
  • You can also change the voice used by tapping the Voices button within the Speech settings.  Also, pay attention to the Speaking Rate.  This can be adjusted to have the iPad speak faster or slower.  

One great way to use the text-to-speech feature is within iBooks, where the iPad can read the book to you.  This isn't quite as good as a book on tape, where the reader can give the right inflection to the words and sometimes even portray the character's voices.  However, if you choose to speak the screen, the iPad will automatically turn pages and keep reading the book.

Read Next: The Best Free iPad Apps

Was this page helpful?