Setting Up an iPad for First-Time Use

Get started with your new Apple tablet

The process to set up an iPad to use for the first time is simple now that Apple has cut the cord from the computer to the iOS device by allowing the setup to be done without connecting your device to your computer.

You need to know your Wi-Fi network's password if you have a secured network. With that bit of information, you can have your new iPad up and running within five minutes.

These instructions apply to iPads with iOS 12 or later.

How to Set Up Your New iPad

Your new iPad comes out of the box with a full battery, so you don't need to use the included cable to charge it before you set it up for the first time.

Here's how to set up your iPad for the first time.

  1. Press and hold the power button to turn on the iPad. It's on top of the device, opposite the Home button on an iPad that has a Home button.

    iPad with screen facing, highlighting the Sleep/Wake button in the upper right corner fo the device and the Home button in the lower center
  2. The first screen you see says, "Hello." Either press the Home button or swipe up on the screen to continue on an iPad without a Home button.

  3. The first setting is Language. The language you select is the one the iPad uses for text and directions. English is the default, but tap if you prefer a different language.

  4. The iPad needs to know the country you're in to connect to the correct version of the Apple App Store. Not all apps are available in all countries.

    Tap your country or region to continue.

  5. If you have an iPhone with iOS 11 or later, use Quick Start to import your settings and log in to your Apple ID automatically.

    Place the iPhone next to the iPad you're setting up to use Quick Start, or tap Set Up Manually to continue.

  6. The next step is to select a language for the keyboard on your iPad. A default language is chosen based on the language you chose, but you can choose another keyboard language if you want.

    Make your selection and then tap Next.

  7. Tap the name of your Wi-Fi network and enter the network password.

  8. Read the Data & Privacy statement on the next screen and tap Continue to proceed.

  9. If your iPad supports Touch ID, which secures your iPad with your fingerprint, or FaceID, you can opt to set up this feature now. Tap Continue to do it now or select Set Up Touch ID Later or Set Up Face ID Later to skip this step.

    If you choose to set up Touch ID or Face ID now, the iPad walks you through the process.

  10. You don't have to create a passcode to use an iPad, but a passcode provides an extra layer of security and lets approved people use your iPad without needing your fingerprint or face to unlock it.

    Enter a six-digit passcode and confirm it to continue.

  11. Choose to set up your iPad as a new one or to restore a backup.

    If this is your first iPad, select Set Up as New iPad. Otherwise, import the apps and settings from another device, either one you're storing on your computer or one in Apple's iCloud service.

    If you're restoring from a backup, the iPad asks for your iCloud username and password and which backup you want to use.

    You can also import contacts and other info from your Android phone or tablet by tapping Move Data from Android.

  12. If you use another Apple device, you have an Apple ID. Use the same Apple ID to sign in to your iPad. You'll be able to download your music and apps to the iPad without purchasing them again.

    If this is your first time with any Apple device, create an Apple ID. You may want to install iTunes on your PC as well. Even though the iPad no longer requires it, having iTunes can simplify your life and enhance what you can do with your iPad. If you have an Apple ID, enter the username (usually your email address) and password.

  13. Agree to the Terms and Conditions. When you do, the iPad gives you a dialog box confirming that you agree. You can also have the Terms and Conditions emailed to you by touching the button at the top of the screen.

  14. The next screen gives you the option to accept Express Settings for other options, like Siri, Location Services, and Analytic Data.

    Tapping Continue turns all of these settings on. Tap Customize Settings to set them up individually.

  15. Decide whether you want your iPad to update automatically when a new version of iOS comes out. If you do, tap Continue. If not, tap Install Updates Manually. With the second option, you'll receive a notification when an update is available, but your iPad won't download and install it unless you tell it to.

  16. Decide if you want to turn on Location Settings on the next screen. This setting lets apps on your iPad know where you are to do things like give driving directions or show nearby restaurants. Even an iPad without 4G and GPS can use location services by using nearby Wi-Fi networks to determine the location.

    Tap Enable Location Settings to turn them on or Disable Location Settings to leave them off.

    You can turn off location services later or choose which apps you allow to use them and which apps can't use them.

  17. You are prompted whether you want to use Siri. Like Apple's voice recognition system, Siri can perform a lot of great tasks, such as setting up reminders or telling you the name of the song on the radio.

    Tap Continue to leave Siri on or select Set Up Later in Settings to turn it on later.

  18. Your next decision is whether to turn on Screen Time, a utility that gives you information about how much you or your family use the iPad.

    Tap Continue to use Screen Time or Set Up Later in Settings to turn it off.

  19. The next screen asks you to send a daily diagnostic report to Apple. Doing so is your decision.

    Apple uses the anonymous information to better serve its customers, and you shouldn't be worried that your information is being used for any other purpose. However, you can choose not to share the information.

  20. If your iPad supports True Tone Display, which adjusts the colors on the screen based on the device's surroundings, you'll see how it works on the next screen.

    Tap and hold the See Without True Tone Display button in the center of the screen for a preview of what you'll see if you turn off the feature. You can't turn it off during setup, so tap Continue to move on.

    True Tone Display is available on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and later, as well as the 2019 or later iPad Air and iPad Mini.

  21. The next few screens are informational only and tell you how to perform some features on the iPad. Tap Continue when you're done reading each of them.

  22. Tap Get Started. The iPad takes you to its Home screen and is ready for you to use.

Was this page helpful?