What to Do With a New iPad

Have a New iPad? What to Do First

The iPad Pro. Apple Inc.

You've just taken your brand spanking new iPad out of the box. Now what? If you are a little intimidated about the prospect of getting started with your iPad, don't worry. We'll take you through setting up the iPad for the first time, to learning about the app that comes with it, to the best apps to download and how to find new apps.

Securing Your iPad

The most important thing you can do for your iPad is to secure it against unauthorized access. Set a passcode to protect your iPad from data from prying eyes—even if you leave the device next to your living-room couch. 

Although you're free to avoid setting a passcode if you wish, this basic level of security protects your device against data loss if it's stolen, and prevents children from screwing things up on it.

You should have been asked to enter a passcode during the setup process. If you skipped that step, add a passcode by opening the Settings app and scrolling down the left-side menu until you see Passcode or Touch ID & Passcode or Face ID & Passcode. When you're inside the Passcode settings screen, tap Turn Passcode On to set it up. 

For step-by-step instructions, with screenshots, for setting up passcodes or Touch ID, check out:

If your iPad supports Touch ID and you didn't add your fingerprint during the setup process for the iPad, it is a good idea to add it now. Touch ID has many cool uses beyond just Apple Pay, perhaps the best of which is allowing you to bypass the passcode. So even if you think entering a passcode will be more of a nuisance than useful, the ability to unlock your iPad with your finger eliminates the nuisance from the equation. With Touch ID, simply tap the Home Button to wake your iPad up and keep your thumb resting on the sensor to bypass the passcode. Should you run into problems, consult Touch ID Not Working? Here's What to Do.

After you set up a passcode, consider restricting Siri or access to your notifications and calendar ("Today" view), depending on just how secure you want your iPad. It is handy to have access to Siri from the lock screen, but if you want your iPad locked down completely, you may have to live without it.

Activate Find My iPad

Not only will the Find My iPad feature help you locate a lost iPad, it will also let you lock the iPad or reset it remotely.

Sync iCloud and iCloud Photo Library

iCloud
iCloud and Devices. Image Courtesy of Apple.

Configure iCloud Drive and iCloud Photos. iCloud Drive should be turned on by default. It is also a good idea to flip the switch for Show on Home Screen to put an iCloud Drive app on your Home Screen that allows you to manage your documents. 

You can also turn on iCloud Photo Library from the Photos section of the iCloud Settings. iCloud Photo Library will upload all of the photos you take to iCloud Drive and allow you to access them from other devices. You can even access the photos from your Mac or Windows-based PC. 

You can also choose to Upload to My Photo Stream. This setting will automatically download your photos to all of your devices with My Photo Stream turned on. While it sounds like the same thing as iCloud Photo Library, the key difference is that the full-sized photos are downloaded to all devices on Photo Stream and no photos are stored in the cloud, so you wouldn't have access to the photos from a PC. For most people, iCloud Photo Library is the better choice. 

Also turn on iCloud Photo Sharing. This will let you create a special photo album that you can share with your friends

Add Apps to Your iPad

An image of the Apple App Store app icon on an iOS device screen.
Hoch Zwei/Getty

The apps that ship by default with your new iPad cover some of the basics, like web browsing and playing music, but there's a rich ecosystem of both free and paid apps you're welcome to explore:

  • 22 must-have iPad apps. This list covers the basics, such as Netflix and the iBookstore. And best of all, this list only contains free apps, so you won't have to worry about racking up a bill while you download them.
  • The best iPad games. The previous list included the best free apps, but if you want the best games, you'll need to spend a little money. But one of the best parts about the iPad is how cheap some of the best games are compared to game consoles. You'll find great games for as low as $.99 and premium games running in the $4.99-$8.99 range.
  • The best movie and TV apps and the best streaming music apps are both loaded with great apps that will keep you entertained. 

Get the Most Out of Your New iPad

Did you know you can connect your iPad to your HDTV? And when your iPad's screen goes dark, it is not actually powered down. It is suspended. You can power down and reboot your iPad to solve some basic problems, such as if the iPad is starting to seem slow. The following guides will help you learn a few tips on how to use the iPad more efficiently and how to troubleshoot problems that may occur.

  • Get freebies for your iPad. Let's start out with some free stuff. Download free books, get free movies, and enjoy a wide range of free productivity apps. 
  • The best uses for the iPad. Sometimes, even the simplest use of the iPad can be a mystery if no one tells you about it. This list can give you some ideas for how to put the iPad to better use in your home.
  • iPad tips. Did you know you can skip the apostrophe while typing on the iPad? The auto-correct will put it in for you. This keyboard tip is just one of many cool tips that can help you use the iPad more efficiently.
  • Basic troubleshooting. Life with an iPad isn't always perfume-and-roses. If you do run into problems, these troubleshooting tips can help you solve them yourself without support from Apple.
  • Pro tips. After you've mastered the basics of the iPad, learn how to maximize the navigational techniques to become a real "iPad pro."