The iPad Quick Start Guide

How to Start Using Your iPad

Before you start rocking your new iPad, you'll need to get it set up, protected, learn the basics, and find out which apps are the best to download from the App Store. 

Set Up Your iPad

When you turn your iPad on for the first time, you are greeted with a Hello. The iPad needs to know information such as your Apple ID and iCloud credentials. The Apple ID is your account with Apple. You'll use it to buy apps, books, movies or anything else you want to purchase on the iPad. You will also use your Apple ID to set up iCloud, which is the online storage used to back up and restore your iPad as well as sync photos and other documents. 

If you have a newer iPad, you will be asked to set up Touch ID for Face ID. This process is a definite must even if you don't think you'll use these authentication methods. It can be used for much more than buying things. You set up Touch ID by pressing and lifting your finger on the Home Button, which is where the Touch ID sensor is located. Face ID relies on a camera at the top of the iPad to recognize your face.

You will also be asked to set up a passcode. This feature now defaults to a six-digit number. You can skip this for now, but unless the iPad isn't going to leave the house and you don't have small kids, you'll probably want to turn the passcode on. This is especially true if you have a model with Touch ID because you can use Touch ID to bypass the passcode. 

You will also be asked if you want to turn on Find My iPad. Find My iPad will help you locate your iPad if you lose it, even if you lose it in your house. The Find My iPad feature can be accessed at from any computer and you can have it make your iPad produce a ringing sound to help locate it. Most importantly, you can lock the iPad remotely, so if you do happen to lose it, you can protect your data.

Another big question is whether or not to use Location Services. Each app will individually ask if they can use these services, so if you don't want Facebook to know where you are, you can disable it for Facebook. But other apps like Yelp and Apple Maps are really enhanced when they know where you are located. 

Location Services can expose your location data to unscrupulous app developers. Reflect about the relative pros and cons of Location Services before you turn it on. You can always activate and deactivate it from within the Settings app.

You may also be asked to introduce yourself to Siri. The newest iPads have a "Hello Siri" feature that allows you to use Siri without even touching the iPad.

Protect Your iPad With a Case

If you didn't buy one with your iPad, shop for a case. Even if you only intend to use the iPad in the home, a case is a good idea. The iPad is designed to be portable, which applies to moving from room to room as much as moving from one location to the next.

Apple's Smart Cover isn't really a great solution as it offers no actual protection for a dropped iPad, but if you like the idea of the iPad waking up when you open it up, Apple's Smart Case provides both protection and offers utility.

If you plan on taking the iPad with you when you leave the house, you might want to double down on the protection. There are plenty of cases out there that provide more protection, even some designed for rugged or outdoor use.

Learn the iPad Basics


The iPad is designed to be intuitive, with most tasks accomplished by swiping with a finger, tapping on the screen, or holding your finger down. Once you start filling the iPad up with apps, move from one screen of apps to the next by swiping your finger horizontally across the iPad's display. Try it now without many apps by swiping from the left side of the screen to the right side. This gesture unveils the Spotlight Search, which is a great feature for launching apps quickly or finding information like contacts or a particular song. 

You can also move apps and create folders using the tap-and-hold technique. Try tapping an app and holding your finger down until the app icon starts jiggling. Use your finger to drag the app around the screen by tapping it and moving your finger without lifting it from the screen. You can move it to a different page by hovering near the left or right edge of the screen and you can create a folder by hovering over an icon, and after the icon drops into a new folder, lifting your finger from the screen to drop it.  

Check notifications by swiping down from the very top edge of the screen and reveal the hidden control panel by swiping up from the very bottom edge of the screen. 

Want to learn more? Here are a few articles that go into more depth about the iPad:

Say Hello to Siri

You may have been introduced to Siri during the setup process, but it is worth your while to really get to know Siri. She can do all sorts of things for you such as remind you to take out the trash, keep up with a birthday party on the weekend, jot down notes to create a shopping list, locate a restaurant, or simply tell you the score of the Dallas Cowboys game. 

Get started using Siri by holding down the Home Button until she activates. If you have "Hello Siri" turned on, you can simply say "Hello Siri." (Some iPad models require the iPad to be plugged in to use this feature, and older iPads don't support it at all.) 

Connect Your iPad to Facebook

If you love Facebook, you'll want to get your iPad connected to your Facebook account. This allows you to easily share photos and make status updates. You can connect your iPad to Facebook in your iPad's settings. Simply choose "Facebook" from the left-side menu and sign into your Facebook account. 

Not familiar with the settings? Get to the iPad's settings by launching the Settings app.

Load Your iPad Up With All Kinds of Apps!

This is what the iPad is all about: the apps. More than 1 million apps await your discovery in the App Store and most of them have been designed to support both the iPad's larger screen and the iPhone's smaller screen.

Check out the full list of must-have apps, or if you are into games, the list of the best iPad games of all time.

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