What to Do With a New iPad

Have a New iPad? What to Do First

The iPad Pro. Apple Inc.

I have a new iPad. What do I do now?

You've just taken the 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.

Step One: Securing Your iPad

While it is easy to jump straight to fun and games, the most important thing you can do for your iPad is to make sure it is secure.

 This may include setting a passcode to protect your iPad from simply anyone being able to pick it up and use it.  Passcode protection isn't for everyone.  If you aren't worried about securing your iPad from children or prank-minded friends and don't plan on bringing your tablet out of the home, you might find a passcode more of a nuisance than it is worth.  But most people will opt for this basic protection.

You should have been asked to enter a passcode during the setup process.  If you skipped that step, you can add a passcode by opening the Settings app and scrolling down the left-side menu until you see "Passcode" or "Touch ID & Passcode," depending on if your iPad supports Touch ID.  Once inside the Passcode settings, simply tap "Turn Passcode On" to set it up.  

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.

 

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

And let's not forget to turn on Find My iPad.  Not only can this feature help you locate a lost iPad, it will also let you lock the iPad or reset it remotely.  You can find this feature in the iCloud settings, which are accessed from via "iCloud" on the left-side menu in the iPad settings app.  Turning on Find My iPad is as simple as flipping the switch, but you may also want to turn on Send Last Location, which sends the location of the iPad when the battery is low.  So if you lose it and the battery drains completely before you access Find My iPad to find it, you will still get a location so long as the iPad has Internet access.

Read More on Securing Your iPad

Step Two: iCloud and iCloud Photo Library

While you are in the iCloud settings, you may want to 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".

 This will 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.  

You'll also want to turn on iCloud Photo Sharing.  This will let you create a special photo album that you can share with your friends.  

Read More About iCloud Drive and iCloud Photo Library

Step Three: Filling Your New iPad Up With Apps

Speaking of apps, you will want to load up on some of the best apps as soon as possible. The apps that come pre-installed cover some of the basics, like web browsing and playing music, but there are a number of apps that deserve a spot on just about anyone's iPad. And, of course, there are all of the great games.

  • 25 Must-Have iPad Apps. This list will cover 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.  

Step Four: Getting 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.  You can download free books, get free movies and Apple offers 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. Unfortunately, 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 needing support from Apple.
  • Pro Tips.  Once you've mastered the basics of the iPad, you'll want to learn how to maximize the navigational techniques to become a real pro.
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