Keep Your iPad Running Efficiently

iPad Pro
Apple, Inc.

Like any computer, the iPad requires a little bit of maintenance to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. This includes clearing the iPad's memory, cleaning the screen, optimizing your battery life, as well as keeping it protected and bug-free. Unlike a computer, the iPad makes most of these tasks pretty simple to undertake.

Clean Your iPad's Screen

Cleaning a dirty iPad
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The best way to tell an iPad gets a lot of use is to look at the fingerprints covering the screen. In normal light indoors, these fingerprints can find ways to hide, but sunlight can create quite a glare. As for the not-quite-so-frequently-used iPad, it may not collect as many fingerprints. But it can pick up dust, so you still want to clean it.

Avoid window cleaner and any other cleaning solution, especially those containing ammonia. Instead, use a lint-free, scratch resistant cloth like the ones used to clean eyeglasses. Slightly moisten the cloth with water and clean the iPad's screen by running the cloth in even strokes across the screen.

The top, sides, and back of your iPad may not be covered with fingerprints, but they can still benefit from a good cleaning.

It's okay to use a regularly dampened cloth on the back and sides, but still avoid any cleaning solutions. 

Rebooting the iPad to Clear Memory

Powering off an iPad

The best way to clean the inside of the iPad is to reboot it. Powering down the iPad and then turning it back on will clear out the memory and give the iPad a fresh start. It's a good idea to reboot the iPad anytime it seems to be running slowly or when you have odd problems pop up with it, such as an app refusing to update to the latest version from the App Store. Rebooting can solve a lot of problems.

Hold down the sleep/wake button until the iPad prompts you to "Slide to power down." You can power it back on by holding down the same button. Release the button when you see the Apple logo appear.

Keep iOS Updated

Software updates on iPad

The iPad alerts you when a new version of the operating system comes out. This alert takes the form of a red notification on your Settings icon. When you see this notification, plug your iPad into a power source and go through the steps to update your operating system.

This option is in the General menu item in your iPad settings.

Keeping iOS updated will make sure you have the latest security updates as well as fixing various bugs found in the operating system, which can help your iPad run more smoothly.

Buy a Case for Your iPad

iPad case
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Accidents happen no matter how safe you try to be with your tablet, and because of its thin design, a simple drop could lead to a cracked screen. The best way to protect against this is to buy a case as soon as possible.

The best cases are form-fitting and provide adequate protection. Plenty of heavy-duty cases are available that will provide protection for iPads that are mostly going to be used in the home and even some that are designed to protect the iPad while on outdoor adventures. Avoid loose-fitting cases like leather binders. The iPad should fit snugly in any case you purchase; otherwise, you are not getting full protection.

If you have small kids or toddlers in the house, you may also want a screen protector. This can make sure that even the dirtiest little hands won't be doing too much harm to your iPad.

Optimize Settings for More Battery Power

iPad Battery

You can optimize your iPad to get the most out of your battery. Ways to do this include turning off data when you're not using it and turning down the brightness on your display. You can also tell the iPad to fetch your mail on a longer interval to help reduce draining the power throughout the day by repeatedly pinging your mail server and downloading new items.

Apple also recommends draining your battery once a month and then charging it back to full power, but this is a recommendation based on making sure the iPad accurately displays the amount of battery power left rather than anything that will actually help prolong the life of your battery. In fact, batteries of this type are usually better if you begin charging with at least 5% power left as draining it to empty isn't a great idea. So if you do decide to take this advice, don't drain it all the way down.

Back up Your iPad

iCloud in iPad settings

You can set up iCloud to perform regular backups of your iPad in the iPad's Settings under iCloud. These backups are done while you are charging, so they won't get in your way. They can also be a great way to make sure you can restore your iPad if you run into any problems. Use these backups when setting up a new iPad to make sure it has the same apps installed, the same email accounts set up, the same contacts, and the same settings as your previous iPad.

You can also sync your iPad to iTunes to make sure you have a valid backup on your PC. However, with the ability to automatically perform backups at a regular interval and with no need to connect to the same PC to restore backups, using the iCloud method is the most efficient.

Save Space on Your iPad

iPad Storage readout in Settings

The best tip for saving storage space or cleaning up storage space when you are running close to empty is to delete old apps you no longer use. The iPad's App Store keeps a full history of every app you have purchased and downloaded, so you need not worry about whether or not you might want to use the app in the future. You can always download the app again for free no matter if you paid for it or if it was free in the first place.

You can also download all of the apps you purchased on a previous iPad, on your iPhone, or your iPod Touch. Not all iPhone and iPod Touch apps are optimized for the iPad's screen.

Another great way to save space is to skip loading a bunch of music and movies on it and setup iTunes home sharing instead. Home sharing lets you share the music and movies stored on your PC with your iPad. This is done by streaming across your home wireless network. And because they aren't ever stored on your iPad, you can save a lot of space using this trick. Nothing prevents you from occasionally installing a few songs or a movie on your iPad, which can be great if you are going out of town for a little bit.