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32 iPad tips and tricks

Alex Wawro | March 20, 2012
You know that your new iPad will let you easily watch movies, browse the Internet, or play games on the go, but plenty of advanced features hidden beneath the surface of iOS can improve your tablet computing experience even further. To help you become an iPad master, we've compiled a handy list of tips and tricks for new iPad users. Read on if you want to learn how to multitask, take screenshots, encrypt your backups, and more.

Secure your backups: You can encrypt your iPad's backup data in iTunes. Just open the iPad in iTunes, click the Summary tab, and check Encrypt iPad backup under the Options heading.

Swap the search engine: Too cool for Google? You can change Safari's default search engine by going to Settings, Safari, Search Engine. Alas, you can choose only from Google, Bing, or Yahoo--no vintage Metacrawler for you.

Take a screenshot of whatever is on the screen: Press the Home button and the sleep/wake button simultaneously. The screenshot will automatically appear among your photos.

Selectively prevent automatic sync: Sometimes you don't want to sync your iPad when you connect it to your computer. In that case, hold down Shift-Ctrl (or Command-Option, on a Mac) in iTunes while plugging your iPad in, and iTunes will skip the automatic sync just this once. Alternatively, you can safely interrupt a sync by dragging the unlock slider on your device while the iPad is midsync.

Toggle 3G/LTE data roaming: If you're using a 3G iPad, you can turn data roaming on in the Settings, Cellular Data menu in case you want to try receiving cellular Internet through a different provider (fees may apply). You can also disable LTE service if you're trying to conserve bandwidth, and you can check your data usage by going to Settings, General, Usage.

Restrict mature content: Go to Settings, General, Restrictions and tap Enable Restrictions to selectively apply controls on your apps, content, Game Center, and more. You can use this setting to limit mature content on your new iPad by disabling explicit-language recognition, blocking podcasts that have the "Explicit" tag, or blocking movies, TV shows, and apps that are rated for mature audiences.

Make your passcode more complicated: iOS defaults to a four-number passcode, but you can turn it off by going to Settings, General, Passcode Lock, Simple Passcode. Now you can use any full keyboard password to lock the iPad. The password also helps to encrypt your mail and attachments on the iPad, so you probably want to make it safer than a four-digit number.

Tweak AutoFill: You can choose to enable Safari's AutoFill feature under Settings, Safari, AutoFill. From there you can tell Safari to fill out forms automatically, either by using your specified contact information or by remembering the names and passwords from previous website login sessions.

Sync your bookmarks: You can use iTunes to sync your iPad's Safari bookmarks with your PC's Web browser. Open the iPad tab in iTunes, click the Info tab, scroll down to the Other heading, check Sync bookmarks with, and choose your preferred browser.

Email photos: The easiest way to email photos from an iPad is to open the Photos app, select a photo, press the button in the upper-right corner (the rectangle with the right-facing arrow, not the AirPlay or trash can button), and choose Email photo... to send.

 

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