How to Get the Most Out of the iPad

Your 'magical' device makes for a great productivity and entertainment enhancer

The iPad is a great device that is capable of varied tasks such as streaming movies, entertaining you with great games, becoming your digital library, or simply letting you browse the web on your couch. Here's how to select the right iPad for you, get started with it quickly, and use it with your kids.

How to Buy an iPad

The iPad comes in three sizes: the 7.9-inch iPad Mini, the 9.7-inch iPad, and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. You can also buy an older refurbished iPad from Apple if you want to save a little money. Before you buy an iPad, decide how much storage you'll need and if you need a 4G LTE connection.

Woman reading on a screen

iPad Models

The iPad Mini model is usually the cheapest iPad. It's best for those who want to use the iPad while moving because it can be held in one hand and manipulated using the other.

The iPad Air model is the next step up. It is slightly more powerful than the Mini and has a 9.7-inch screen instead of a 7.9-inch screen. Other than the size and a slight boost in performance, the latest Air and the latest Mini are about the same.  

The iPad Pro comes in two sizes. A 9.7-inch like the iPad Air and a 12.9-inch model. These models feature laptop-like performance and are great if you want to focus on productivity with the iPad. The iPad Pro can be a great home iPad too. The 12.9-inch iPad may be the ultimate family iPad.

iPad Storage

One of your first important decisions is how much storage your hew iPad should have. Buy a device with at least 32 GB of storage. The iPad Pro models start with 32 GB, which is perfect for most people. The iPad Air and Mini models start with 16 GB and go up to 64 GB for the next highest model.

Cellular or Wi-FI Only? 

Most people will be surprised at how little they use cellular data on the iPad. With the ability to tether the iPad to the iPhone and use its data connection combined with so many Wi-Fi hotspots and coffee shops and hotels, it's easy to live without a built-in connection. If you use the iPad for work and know that you will be traveling with it, the cellular may be worth it, but otherwise, skip it. 

How to Get Started With the iPad

Once you have your iPad and set it up for the first time, you can start using it.

Basic navigation is simple on the iPad. Swipe the screen from left to right or right to left to move between pages. The Home button works as a Back button. So, when you tap an app to open it, you can get back out of the app by clicking the Home button.

Man using iPad to video chat with young boy
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If you are in an app such as the Safari web browser, scroll up and down by swiping up or swiping down. Swipe your finger in the opposite direction you want the screen to move. For example, swipe up to scroll down. You can also get to the top of a web page, email message, or Facebook newsfeed by tapping the clock at the top of the screen. 

To search the iPad, swipe down in the middle of the Home screen. This gesture activates Spotlight Search, which can search for anything on the iPad and checks the App Store, within apps, and the web.

How to Get the Most Out of an iPad

Now that you are working the iOS interface like a pro, it's time to find out how to squeeze the most out of the iPad. Several great features aren't readily apparent, such as being able to connect the iPad to a television set or how to multitask.

woman at a cafe with an ipad
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One of the most important power features of the iPad is Siri. The Apple personal assistant often goes ignored, but it can do things such as remind you about tasks or help you to find the best pizza place near you.

You can also communicate with friends and family using Messages or make calls with FaceTime.

A Parent's Guide to the iPad

The iPad can be a great entertainment tool for little ones and a great learning tool for kids of all ages. Secure your iPad so your child won't run up high iTunes bills or modify or view sensitive information on the device.

One of the best ways to use the iPad is to use it to interact as a family.
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The Best iPad Apps

Common apps that enhance the iPad experience include:

  • Google Maps: The iPad Maps app is good, but Google Maps is better.
  • Crackle: Crackle is a mini version of Netflix without the subscription fees.
  • Pandora: Create a custom radio station with Pandora.
  • Yelp: Search for nearby restaurants or shops and read user reviews.

Browse for additional free apps to find apps that entertain, inform, store your files, and help you get work done.

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