22 Useful iPad Tips

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by 4phun, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. 4phun

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    iPad Junkie

    Mar 21, 2010
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    22 Useful iPad Tips
    by Jeff Carlson <http://db.tidbits.com/author/Jeff%20Carlson>

    As many companies have discovered, you can't successfully slap a desktop
    operating system onto a tablet device. The iPad uses Apple's iPhone OS,
    which, although based on the guts of Mac OS X, was designed with a touch
    interface in mind. And when you're designing something from scratch, there
    are numerous opportunities to enhance the experience.

    Now that I have an iPad in my hands, I've discovered some new techniques and
    hidden shortcuts, and also found myself making heavier use of existing
    iPhone shortcuts (including a few I didn't realize were there).

    *Small Swipes for Large Actions* -- No doubt the iPad's biggest selling
    point is its large screen, especially compared to an iPhone or iPod touch.
    But it can also feel like a liability at times.

    In the Home screen or the Photos app, for example, you'll be tempted to
    swoosh across the entire width of the screen, which is what I've always done
    on the iPhone. Instead, only a small swipe motion is required. For example,
    to advance images in the Photos app, position your left thumb at the left
    edge of the screen (where it likely is if you're holding the iPad with your
    left hand supporting its weight) and just flick the thumb half an inch
    right-to-left or left-to-right.

    (This tip also applies to the iPhone and iPod touch, but the small size of
    the screen makes it less useful.)

    *Add Up to Six Apps to the Dock* -- The iPad ships with a basic iPhone
    layout, which includes four apps on the Dock that appears at the bottom of
    all Home screens. Take advantage of the extra screen size and add up to two
    more. Tap and hold an app you want to add until all of the apps begin
    jiggling. Then drag the app to the Dock. Press the Home button when you're


    Unfortunately, you can't put more than 20 apps on a screen, but there are 11
    screens. This will change with folders in iPhone OS 4.

    *Jump to the Top* -- This behavior was introduced on the iPhone, but you
    need it more on the iPad's large screen. Tap the status bar at the top of
    the screen to jump back to the top of the page or window you're viewing.

    I wish there were a similar action for jumping to the end of a page (such as
    when I want to read comments at the end of an article, for example). The
    closest there is to a workaround is Vais Salikhov's free End of
    which is actually a clever bookmarklet that works in Safari. (He also
    has a similar Find in
    that enables searching inside Web pages.)

    *Lock That Rotate* -- This may not qualify as much of a secret, since Apple
    promotes the feature, but in my early experience, it's terrifically useful.
    Flick the switch above the volume controls to lock screen rotation. The iPad
    is quite sensitive to orientation, and rotates its screen with little
    provocation. Locking rotation means sticking with the view you're in, even
    as you shift position, or place the iPad flat on a surface.

    *Quick Mute* -- With that switch repurposed for rotation lock, what happened
    to the iPhone's capability of using it to mute the volume? On the iPad,
    press and hold the volume down button. After about two bars of volume, the
    iPad's volume jumps to zero. (Take Control author Sharon
    Zardetto<http://ipadpunditry.wordpress.com/>gets credit for pointing
    out this tip.)

    *Use Spotlight to Launch Apps* -- Again, this is something not unique to the
    iPad, but I never used it on the iPhone. Once you've accumulated a bunch of
    apps, it can take a while to flip through several home screens to find the
    one you want. Although there's no equivalent to LaunchBar for the iPad
    (believe me, I'd buy it in a heartbeat), here's the next best thing.

    When you're on a home screen, press the Home button to get to the first
    screen, then either press the button again or swipe to the right to expose
    the Spotlight search interface. Tap the Search field and start typing the
    app name; you'll see that Spotlight also grabs everything similar, including
    Mail messages, song titles, contacts, and events, as well as the app. Then
    tap the one you want to launch.

    [image: Image]<http://www.tidbits.com/resources/2010-04/ipad_app_launcher.jpg>

    The iPad returns results on this page enormously faster than on an iPhone
    3GS or current iPod touch.

    *Type an Apostrophe from the Basic Keyboard Layout* -- The iPad's onscreen
    keyboard approaches the dimensions of a full-size keyboard (in wide
    orientation, at least), but accommodations still had to be made to get it to
    fit. One of the most maddening is the lack of an apostrophe key. I keep
    hitting the Return key with my right pinkie finger when I mean to type an
    apostrophe. You need to tap the ".?123" button to reveal the correct key,
    which itself is in an odd position at the bottom of the layout.

    Instead, press and hold the comma key. A pop-up variation appears with an
    apostrophe, and it even appears highlighted, which means you don't have to
    move your finger to select it. Simply tap, hold for a moment, then release
    to create the apostrophe.

    *Type Curly Quotes* -- Similarly, tap and hold the single or double-quote
    key to get a selection of real quotes (the curly kind) as used in major
    languages that use the Roman alphabet. This feature is in the iPhone, too,
    and I'd never discovered it, probably because I didn't notice typography as
    much on the small screen. When putting together a Keynote presentation,
    however, those curly quotes make a big difference. (Straight quotes -
    disparagingly referred to by typographers as "typewriter quotes" - often
    indicate the person is a graphics amateur.)

    The onscreen keyboard hides all kinds of other goodies, too, which seem more
    useful in extended typing on the iPad than on the iPhone or iPod touch. For
    instance, hold down the period key on some keyboards, and a list of domain
    extensions (like .com and .org) appear.

    *Access Alternate Characters* -- This tip isn't specific to the iPad, but
    it's worth remembering. Touch and hold a character on the onscreen keyboard
    to view related characters. For example, holding the E key brings up
    accented E characters, or holding the $ key brings up other currency
    symbols. (Thanks to reader "Arthur" for the reminder.)

    *Better Word Suggestions* -- This one isn't so much a tip as it is an
    observation. I've noticed that the iPad's word assistance is better than the
    iPhone's. When I miss the space bar while typing (especially now as I'm just
    getting accustomed to the onscreen keyboard), the iPad automatically
    suggests that something like "feellike" should be "feel like".

    *Practice Good Typing Form* -- I never realized that I rest my hands on the
    keyboard when I type until I started using the onscreen keyboard where every
    contact on the screen creates an action. Keep those fingers and palms up as
    you type.

    *Zoom Way, Way In* -- The Zoom accessibility option that's in the iPhone OS
    is even more helpful on the iPad than on a smaller device because of the
    additional screen territory. You can turn this on from Settings >
    Accessibility > Zoom by flipping Zoom to On.

    The Zoom screen explains the three options: double tap with three fingers to
    zoom in; drag with three fingers for panning around the screen; and use
    three fingers to double tap without releasing, and then drag up or down to
    zoom in or out.

    *Use an External Keyboard* -- When you want to do some extended typing, pair
    the iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard or plug it into Apple's iPad Keyboard
    Dock. In addition to better ergonomics, this setup gives you access to
    common keyboard commands like Copy (Command-C) and Paste (Command-V), and
    lets you make selections of text by holding down a Shift key and using the
    arrows for navigation. You can also delete words with Option-Delete, and
    entire lines with Command-Delete.

    It's also helpful for navigating a document. Press Command-Up arrow to jump
    to the top of a document (like a Home key), or Command-Down arrow to jump to
    the end (like an End key). Option-Left arrow and Option-Right arrow move the
    insertion point by words, as you'd expect.

    *Manage a Bluetooth Keyboard* -- If you've paired a Bluetooth keyboard, be
    sure to turn it off or disable Bluetooth when you're not using it. If you
    enter any editable text field that requires text input and the keyboard is
    within range, the onscreen keyboard won't appear.

    You can press the Eject button on the Bluetooth keyboard to toggle the
    appearance of the onscreen keyboard. But it's easier just to turn off the
    external keyboard when you're not going to use it for a while, or taking the
    iPad to another room.

    To turn off the Apple Wireless Keyboard, press and hold the power button for
    a few seconds. The status light will come on; wait until it goes out. Then
    the keyboard's power is off, and the iPad will resume using its onscreen

    You can also go to Settings > General > Bluetooth and set the Bluetooth
    switch to off, which both reduces battery usage and disables any other
    paired Bluetooth connection.

    *Master Shifting* -- The iPad has territory enough to offer a Shift key on
    both the left and right sides of the keyboard and for your hands to lie flat
    on the screen. This lets you take advantage of a feature found in the iPhone
    OS, but not quite practical to use on the iPad's smaller siblings: you can
    hold down the Shift key while typing a letter to a get a single capital
    letter, then release, as with normal physical keyboard touch typing. This
    can dramatically increase your typing speed. You can still tap a Shift key,
    which turns blue, and then tap a letter to get a single capital letter.

    I've actually disabled the Caps Lock key on my MacBook Pro because I hate
    accidentally hitting it and TYPING IN ALL CAPS, but there are times where
    turning on Caps Lock is helpful (such as writing about topics with lots of
    acronyms like AVCHD, HDCP, HDTVs, or
    You can do this in the iPhone OS too, though I never felt the need for it
    when typing on those devices.

    Go to Settings > Keyboard > Enable Caps Lock and set the switch to On. Then,
    when you're typing, double-tap one of the Shift keys. The entire key becomes
    illuminated in blue, with a white arrow in the middle, to indicate that caps
    are locked. Tap a Shift key again to exit the Caps Lock mode.

    You can also hold down either Shift key and type letters to create a series
    of capitals.

    *Easier Text Selection* -- This feature is also not unique to the iPad, but
    it's worthwhile and something I never knew about until a few days ago.
    Double-tap and hold a word to select it to circumvent the need to tap the
    Select button that appears, and then drag to extend the selection to
    additional words. It works on both sides of the selected word; when you're
    moving just the selection handles, that's not the case.

    *Replace Text* -- When you select a word, the familiar pop-up options
    appear: Cut, Copy, and Paste. The iPad adds a new option: Replace. Tap it to
    view alternate spellings or corrections.

    [image: Image] <http://www.tidbits.com/resources/2010-04/ipad_replace.jpg>

    *Use the Spell Checker* -- The iPad includes a built-in spell check feature
    that acts the same as the one in Mac OS X. If you misspell a word, it
    appears with a dotted red underline. Tap the word to view suggested
    spellings. (Thanks to reader "Rivka" for pointing this out.)

    *Watch iTunes-Purchased Movies on an HDTV* -- Movies in the iTunes Store are
    wrapped in Apple's FairPlay DRM, which uses HDCP to ensure that only devices
    that support HDCP can play the video. If you bought the iPad Dock Connector
    to VGA Adapter and hope to play video on your recent HDTV, you're out of
    luck because it won't carry the digital signal. If your television has
    component connections (red, green, and blue cables), buy Apple's Component
    AV Cable kit and hook your iPad to the TV. Voilà! It's like having a
    portable Apple TV with you at all times.

    *Always Show Bookmarks Bar in Safari* -- I use MobileMe to sync my Safari
    bookmarks to the iPad, and keep my most-used bookmarks handy by storing them
    in the Bookmarks Bar on my MacBook Pro. Safari on the iPad also features a
    Bookmarks Bar, but it's hidden by default. In fact, the only way to make it
    appear is to tap the Address field to position the cursor there. Instead, go
    to Settings > Safari and turn on the Always Show Bookmarks Bar setting to
    make the bar appear at all times.


    *Two-Finger Zoom for Web Video* -- Reader "Joe" pointed out that when you
    encounter a video on a Web page that the iPad can play, touching it with two
    fingers and expanding (the opposite of the pinch gesture) zooms the video to
    full-screen mode.

    *iBooks Easter Egg* -- I haven't heard of any Easter eggs - hidden
    programming surprises that developers sometimes include in software - in the
    iPad's software, but I did discover something similar. In the iBooks app,
    touch and hold the shelves that display your library, then drag down as far
    as you can to reveal a little surprise hidden behind the faux wood.

    Have you discovered any iPad tips? Share them in the article's
    comments<http://db.tidbits.com/article/11167#comments>and we'll update
    this article or write a new one (with full credit, of

    #1 4phun, Apr 14, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2010
  2. Bremen

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    iPad Addict

    Apr 5, 2010
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    The "'" (asterisk) one made my day......
  3. iVan

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    iPad Ninja

    Feb 19, 2010
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    I thought asterisk was <*> ?
  4. Tagg67

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    iPF Novice

    Apr 14, 2010
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    Good tips especially for those that have never used an Apple product.

  5. Techdad2

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    iPF Novice

    Apr 4, 2010
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    Good information , thanks.
  6. gentlefury

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    iPad Guru

    Mar 15, 2010
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    One more I discovered yesterday is if you encounter a frame of any kind (including really full text boxes) you can scroll them by using 2 fingers instead of one.
  7. Ghuda

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    iPad Fan

    Mar 25, 2010
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    had them mostly all figured out already, but thank you for the couple I had missed.
  8. dks

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    iPF Novice

    Mar 15, 2010
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    thanks for your work here... outside of the airport kiosk, I have never used a touch screen before & I am sure your information will be useful... IF & WHEN I ever receive my 3G version.
  9. Sincere11105

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    iPad Fan

    Apr 6, 2010
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    Nice tips
  10. TheBaron

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    iPad Fan

    Mar 1, 2010
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    wait....so if I buy the component AV cable kit from Apple, I can play the netflix app over my HDTV?!?! Has anybody tried this? I was about to buy a Roku player, but I'll totally just get the kit if it works.

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