It Can Do That?!: 21 Tips & Tricks for Using Your iPad

So you might know the basics of your iPad, but the device has many helpful features that might be underutilized. Here are 20 tips and tricks that might make you ask, “It can do that?!” (P.S. Be sure your iPad’s operating system is updated to iOS5 to access all these features.)

How to Lock your iPad

Don’t want anyone else messing with your iPad? Lock it with a password.

  1. Navigate to Settings > General  > Passcode Lock.
  2. Tap “Turn Passcode On”.
  3. Enter a 4-digit passcode, and the same again to confirm.

Each time your iPad is turned on, you’ll have to enter the 4-digit passcode to access your iPad.


Auto-destruct! (kind of)

If you have sensitive data on your iPad, you can enable a feature that will erase all the data on the device if someone inputs the incorrect passcode 10 times. Navigate to Settings > General > Passcode Lock > Erase Data.


How to Lock Screen Orientation

What if I want to lock the screen orientation so that it doesn’t rotate every time you move? Easy.

  1. Double-click your iPad’s Home button to see a row of icons at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Flick right until you see the Orientation icon.
  3. Hold the device to the orientation you want and tap the icon to lock it.

To unlock it, tap the Orientation icon again.

How to Rearrange Icons

When you install new iPad apps, the system stacks up the icons automatically. But you can arrange them anyway you want on the home screens or on the Dock.

  1. Touch and hold any icon on your screen until the icons start wiggling (don’t be alarmed).
  2. Drag an icon to a different spot on the screen or to the Dock, which allows for six icons.
  3. You can also drag an icon to the left or right edge of the screen until it starts sliding, then drop the icon on a different screen.
  4. Click the Home button to finish.


How to Remove an App

Installing apps is pretty easy, and removing them is easy too.

  1. Touch and hold an icon on your screen until the icons start wiggling.
  2. Tap the X sign on the icon of the app you want to remove.
  3. Select the Delete button to confirm.

Note: If you have synced your apps with the iTunes on your computer, uncheck the deleted app in iTunes or it will be restored to your iPad when syncing.


How to Create, Rename and Remove Folders

Some people like to keep things organized, and that can be difficult with multiple screens full of icons. You can easily create folders to group similar apps together.

  1. Touch and hold any icon until the icons start wiggling (again, don’t be alarmed).
  2. Drag an icon over the top of another. Your iPad will automatically create a named folder, with the two icons placed in it. You can then drag similar apps to the folder when needed.
  3. Click the Home button to finish.

And folders can be renamed—simply touch and hold the folder icon to make it wiggle, tap it to expand, then edit the folder name after selecting it.

Removing a folder is just as easy—make the folder icon wiggle, tap it to expand, then clear all items inside the folder either by dragging them out or deleting them one by one. The now empty folder will remove itself.

Stop Asking to Join Wi-Fi Networks

If you’re tired of messages asking if you’d like to join Wi-Fi networks, navigate to Settings > Wi-Fi and turn off “Ask to Join Networks”. You can still join networks from this same screen, but you will no longer be asked on a constant basis.


Turn Battery Percentage Off

If you find the battery charge percentage distracting, you can turn it off very easily. Navigate to Settings > General  > Usage and turn it off there.


Take a Screenshot

By pressing Home and then the Sleep/Wake button, you can capture a screenshot of your iPad. The screen will flash and you’ll hear a click, indicating that a photo has been taken. Your screen shots are saved automatically in your Photos gallery.


How to Split, Merge, Dock and Undock a Keyboard (iOS 5 only)

If you’re holding your iPad with both hands, you know it’s difficult to thumb type either in both portrait and landscape views. With iOS 5, you have the option to split and undock a keyboard.

  • Touch and hold the Keyboard key, then choose an option to split or undock a keyboard. Repeat the steps to merge or dock it.
  • Or, use two fingers to unpinch the keyboard to split it, and pinch to merge it.

Use Caps Lock

To type in all caps (you know, in case you need to yell on Facebook), simply double tap on either shift key.

Copy and Paste

Copy and paste text by tapping and holding down, and then choosing Select to select the exact portion of text you’d like to copy.  Then tap Copy, go to a different app, tap and hold down again, and then tap Paste from the menu that appears. And if you want to select an entire paragraph, simply tap four times.


How to Type Faster with Multiple Spaces

Instead of typing a period at the end of each sentence and follow by a space, you can double-tap the space bar, or tap once with two fingers, to get the same result.

While the iPad doesn’t have a Tab key, but you can tap the space bar with three fingers at the same time to get three spaces, four fingers to get four spaces, and all five fingers from five spaces.


How to Turn Off Auto-Correction

If you find auto-correction annoying, you’re not alone. That’s why there’s an option to turn it off.

  1. Navigate to Settings > General  > Keyboard.
  2. Turn off “Auto-Correction”.

How to Undo and Redo by Shaking

When you accidentally cut away some text and need to undo your last action, you can tap the Undo key on the Number keyboard. To redo, switch to the Symbol keyboard, then tap the Redo key. And as a possibly fun alternative, you can shake your iPad to undo and redo, like this:

  1. After deleting some text, hold your iPad firmly with your both hands and give it a quick shake, and the Undo button will appear.
  2. To redo, shake it again, but don’t drop your iPad!


Use an Apple keyboard

Missing a real keyboard? If you have a Bluetooth enabled keyboard, it can be used with your iPad.

How to Change an Email Signature

If you want to get rid of the default email signature, “Sent from my iPad,” you can replace it by following these steps:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Signature.
  2. Clear the signature “Sent from my iPad”, or replace it with your signature or name.
  3. Tap the “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” button when done.

How to Download PDFs to iBooks via Browser

The app iBooks is free to install and it supports the PDF format. When you download and read a PDF file in a browser on your iPad, you can transfer the PDF file to the library for reading in iBooks. When you have a PDF open, tap the screen and select “Open in iBooks”. The PDF will automatically be added to your library.

Adjust Screen Brightness

Just double-tap the Home button and swipe right until you see the brightness indicator, then adjust manually to suit the needs of your eyes.


Use Your iPad as a Picture Frame

By pressing the Picture icon in the lower-right corner of the lock screen, your iPad will display your photos as a slideshow.


Show Traffic Conditions

Open Maps, press the dog-eared page icon in the lower right, and then turn on the “Traffic” overlay. If your iPad has an Internet connection, Maps will show real-time traffic conditions in the displayed area. Green means traffic is going at the posted speed limit, yellow means traffic is slower than the posted speed limit, and red means traffic is stop-and-go.

Do you have any iPad tips or tricks you’d like to share? Include them in the comments below!


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