Great iPad Pranks to Pull on Friends

Pranks for April Fool's Day or Just for Fun

It doesn't need to be April Fool's Day to pull a good prank.  In fact, most good pranks don't happen on April 1st, when everyone is expecting a prank. Okay, many people are a little naive, so it isn't too hard to get them on April Fool's, but a good prankster is ready to prank 356 days a year!  

These pranks for the iPad should give you plenty of ideas, but remember, the point is to have a laugh, so let's try not to be too mean. So stick around and tell them how to put their iPad back once the prank is done.  (Unless they really, really deserve it, of course!)

Frustrated man with tablet
Getty Images / Vitranc

While setting a reminder or an alarm to go off at a strange time might not sound like the greatest prank to pull on someone, there's a good reason why it is first on the list: you can do it to almost any iPad.  

Siri is the voice recognition personal assistant for the iPad, and by default, it is turned on even when the iPad is on the lock screen. So the victim of your prank can have their iPad protected by a passcode and you can still pull a prank on them.

Simply activate Siri as you normally would by holding down the Home Button and give her a command. One funny prank is to create a string of reminders, such as:

  • "Remind me at 9 PM to check my tire pressure"
  • "Remind me at 9:10 PM to really check my tire pressure"
  • "Remind me at 9:15 PM that tire pressure is the gateway to safe driving"

You can also use Siri to set an alarm at a way-too-early time or schedule a fake meeting. Just remember, this prank could be pulled on you too so you might want to turn Siri off while on the lock screen. More »

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The Screenshot Background

The screen shot prank involves taking a screenshot of the home screen and using it as the wallpaper for the lock screen. This can cause your unsuspecting victim to think the iPad is ready to use, but all in the taps in the world won't open an app until they slide to unlock.   

This prank is easier on earlier versions of iOS. The parallax effect in iOS 7 causes pictures used as wallpaper to zoom in, which means you can simply take a screen shot and have it size perfectly when using it as a wallpaper picture. It can still be done by either: (1) not worrying about how the iPad looks zoomed in because it is still a funny prank or (2) using Dropbox or a similar method to upload the screen shot to a computer, add about 200 pixels to each side of the photo (usually done by changing the canvas size), and downloading it again before setting it as the lock screen wallpaper. You can also use an app like InstaSize to do this.

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The Screenshot Home Screen

This one is similar to the screenshot background.  Start by taking a screenshot of the first page of apps on the home screen. Next, move every app from the first screen to any other page of apps. Then, add the screenshot as the home screen background.  Last, delete the screen shot from the Photos app to keep your target from figuring out your prank.  

The result is a home screen full of apps that won't launch because they are actually part of the wallpaper. The victim can still launch docked apps and can still move to a different page to launch an app, but even moving to a different page gives the iPad a broken effect when the original apps seem to stay in place.

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The Blue Screen of Death


This one is funnier if you are targeting an IT professional or anyone that knows a bit about computers. The famed 'Blue Screen of Death' is the error screen Windows gives when the operating system crashes.   Having the Blue Screen of Death appear on an Apple device may or may not trick someone who knows a thing or two about computers, but at the very least, it should draw a good laugh.

Click the photo for a blue screen that can be sized in iOS 7 so that it doesn't overfill the screen. I like to place it between the time being displayed and the slide to unlock instruction.

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Invert the Colors

The accessibility options in the iPad settings can be a goldmine for a prankster.   The ability to invert the colors can make the iPad look all out of whack with no easy way to put it back to normal, and unless your target has really experimented with all the iPad settings, they probably won't figure it out. The funny part is it inverts all colors, not just those in the user interface, so if the go into the Photos app, all of their pictures will have inverted colors.

Make it funnier: Suggest they reboot the iPad because that solves most problems. Of course, rebooting won't do anything, but the process of doing it will make the issue seem even more serious.

You can get to the accessibility options by going into the iPad's settings, choosing "General" and locating "Accessibility" in the general settings.

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Put the iPad in Zoom Mode

The accessibility options also have a zoom mode, which is great for those with vision problems and those who want to have a laugh at a friend's expense. After turning zoom mode on in the accessibility options, you can click the home button three times to zoom the iPad in and leave it that way for your friend to find.   

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Lock Rotation

This one is more subtle, but it can still be funny.  First, make sure the side switch on the iPad is set to Mute and not Lock Rotation.  You don't want to make it easy for them to unlock the rotation, after all.  You can find this under General settings. Next, use the control panel to lock the orientation of the iPad.  You can get to the control panel by swiping up from the very bottom of the screen in iOS 7 or following these instructions on previous versions. The lock rotation button is a lock with an arrow partially circling it.  

The locked rotation prank could take some time to expose itself, but you can help it along by suggesting an app and then suggesting it is best if used in landscape orientation after having locked it in portrait (or vice versa).