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27 tips and tricks to get the most out of your iPad Air

Unless you’re planning to get an iPad Mini, there’s a good chance you’re buying an iPad Air. Whether you finally caved in and bought one, or you’re a proud iPad owner from day one, we’ve got some ideas that could help you squeeze more awesome from your tablet. We’re looking beyond the best iPad apps and games. We’ve already looked at the best iPad accessories, the best iPad cases, and even the best iPad styli. Today we’re going to explore the best iPad tips and tricks. These iPad Air tips should work for any iPad running iOS 7. We’ll start out gently and then move on to more advanced tips toward the end.

How to take a screenshot

Whether you want to capture that high score for bragging rights or report a glitch in an app, it’s handy to be able to grab a picture of your iPad screen sometimes. To take a screenshot on your iPad simply press and hold the Power button and tap the Home button at the same time. You’ll see a white flash and hear the camera shutter sound if it worked. Head into your Photos app and it will be there in your Camera Roll.

How to split the keyboard

iPad-split-keyboard

Maybe you like to type with your thumbs while holding the iPad. If that’s the case then try splitting the keyboard. Simply touch and hold on either side of the virtual keyboard, and swipe out toward the edges of your iPad, and the keyboard will split in two. You can stick it back together by holding each side and swiping into the middle. You can also press and hold the keyboard icon at the bottom right of the virtual keyboard to split it, or undock it from the bottom of the screen and move it elsewhere.

How to organize apps

Since it can be a pain to scroll through pages of apps to find the one you want, there is a way to organize apps into folders. Tap and hold on an app icon and drop it onto any other app icon and both will go into a folder which you can name whatever you like. You can stick up to 20 apps or games into each folder.

How to use Siri

Hold down the Home button to launch Siri and fire away with your questions. You know Siri is listening when the microphone icon glows purple, tap it to ask another question. You can tap the [i] at the top right to find more information on what you can ask Siri about. You can tell Siri about your family relationships, for example, “my wife is Jenny”. You can also include punctuation in your dictation. When Siri gets your request wrong, you can correct it by tapping the speech bubble and editing the contents. You can even correct pronunciation by saying “That’s not how you pronounce (name)” and picking from one of the three options provided. If you’d like to change Siri’s voice from female to male or vice versa then head to Settings > General > Siri > Voice Gender.

How to multitask

iPad air front appsIf you double-click the Home button then you’ll see the Multitasking tray pop up at the bottom of your screen. You can swipe left or right to switch between recently used apps, tap to launch them, or swipe them straight up to close them. You can also close multiple apps at once by placing your fingers on top of each app and swiping them up together.

How to end a sentence

When you’re typing you can simply double tap the space bar to end a sentence. It will add a period and a space for you, so you can start the next sentence.

How to quickly delete text

Sometimes you’ll write something and then change your mind and want to delete it. You don’t need to keep tapping backspace; you can just delete the whole lot by shaking your iPad and tapping the Undo Typing option that pops up. If you change your mind then shake it again and you’ll see a Redo Typing option.

How to create keyboard shortcuts

Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Add New Shortcut and you can create a shortcut for any phrase you want. This can be a real time saver if you do a lot of typing.

How to get a quick apostrophe or quotation marks

When you’re typing on the virtual keyboard there’s no need to go to the second screen to get an apostrophe, you can just tap and hold on the exclamation mark [!] and an apostrophe option will pop up above it. For quotation marks tap and hold on the question [?] key. For single quotation marks it’s the comma [,] key. You can try pressing and holding on other keys for special characters and accented letters.

How to turn on emoticons

Fans of smiley faces and other emoticons in messages can turn on a huge selection on the iPad by going to Settings > General > Keyboard > International Keyboards > Add New Keyboard > Emoji.

How to take steady photos

iPad air back cameraYou know that you can tap the Volume up button when in the camera app on your iPad, but this functionality also extends to your Apple earphones, so you can take a shot without touching the iPad itself. You’ll find it works with most earphones and headsets, even Bluetooth headsets, which allow you to take photos at a distance. You can also hold the button down to take a burst of photos.

How to find things in a hurry

You can swipe down on any page of your home screen to bring up Spotlight Search. It’s the fastest way to find whatever you want on your iPad Air. You can also fine tune what it searches through by going to Settings > General > Spotlight Search.

How to get the iPad manual

If you’re disappointed that the iPad didn’t have a manual then head over to Apple and download it. You’ll also find it’s available as a free download in the iBooks app.

How to customize triple clicking the Home button

If you head to Settings > General > Accessibility > Triple-click the Home Button, then you’ll get a list of shortcut options which includes VoiceOver, White on Black, Zoom, Assistive Touch, and Ask. Pick what you’d like a triple-click on your Home button to do. If you choose Ask then all the options will pop up each time you triple-click.

How to use AutoFill

The AutoFill feature will automatically put your details into web forms to save you typing them out each time. The best way to set it up is to go into Contacts and set up an entry for yourself with all the details. Now go to Settings > Safari > AutoFill and slide Use Contact Info to on and pick the contact you just created in My Info.

How to hide an App Store purchase

iPad air front app storeWe’re not going to ask why you want to hide it, but if you want to make sure an app doesn’t show up in your Purchased apps list then it’s fairly easy to do. Open the App Store, scroll down to the bottom and tap on Purchased. Find the app you want to hide and swipe on it, right or left will do. You should now see a red button that says Hide and you want to tap it. The next time you load the App Store up that particular app will not appear in your Purchased apps list.

How to clear history, cookies, and data

You can delete your browsing history in Settings > Safari by tapping Clear History and Clear Cookies and Data. You can also delete the AutoFill data by going to Settings > Safari > AutoFill and then tapping Clear All.

How to restrict apps and content

Go to Settings > General > Restrictions and tap Enable Restrictions at the top. You’ll have to set a passcode and it’s important to make sure you remember it. This section is ideal if you are planning on letting the kids use the iPad. There’s a long list of restrictions to choose from so you can block in-app purchases, filter out explicit content, prevent app installation, and all sorts of other useful options.

How to use Guided Access

This is another great feature to restrict what your child can do with a specific app. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access to turn it on and then triple-click the Home button when you’re in an app and you can block specific controls or areas of the screen.

How to copy and paste

You can tap and hold on a word to select it. Drag the selection to select more text and then tap Copy to copy it to your clipboard. Press and hold on an empty message or email and you’ll see the pop up option to Paste it. If you want to quickly select a whole paragraph then tap on it four times.

How to browse privately

iPad air front safariHead into Settings > Safari and turn Private Browsing on and it won’t record the pages you visit, your search history, or your AutoFill information.

How to quickly mute

The physical side switch on your iPad can be used to mute or to lock rotation. Change it under Use Side Switch to in Settings > General. If you are using the side switch for rotation lock then double click the Home button, flick left to right along the bottom and you’ll find the Mute icon at the bottom left. You can also just press and hold the Volume down button for a couple of seconds and the iPad will mute.

How to use multi-touch gestures

Go to Settings > General and turn Multitasking Gestures on. If you swipe left or right with four fingers you’ll be able to switch from your current app to other recently used apps. You can also swipe up from the bottom of the screen with four fingers to open the Multitasking tray, which we discussed earlier, and swipe down again with four fingers to close it. If you pinch with four fingers then you’ll close the app you’re in (it’s basically like tapping the Home button).

How to convert video for iPad

Maybe you’ve got a stack of great videos on your PC or Mac and you want to be able to play them on your iPad. There are lots of solutions out there, but one of the simplest and best is Handbrake. It’s completely free to use and it’s easy to get to grips with, but it does have advanced features for those who want them.

How to convert ebooks for iPad

The iPad can read any book in ePub format. You’ll find free ePub format books to download at Project Gutenberg, but you can also convert other DRM-free ebooks to ePub so that you can read them on your iPad. All you need to do is download the free Calibre software. You’ll find clear and concise video tutorials on the Calibre website.

How to use your iPad as a second monitor

Air display for ipad

With a simple app, you can easily turn your iPad into a second monitor for your computer.

You can use your iPad as a wireless second monitor for your PC, Mac, or laptop. This means you can mirror your usual monitor or you can extend it onto the iPad. Could be handy for watching stuff from your computer without having to convert and move it, or to have your iPad as a messaging window while you work on the main monitor screen. You’ll need the right app to do it and the two best options are Air Display and Splashtop XDisp

How to remote control your desktop

If you want to actually control your PC or Mac remotely using your iPad then you can do that too, but once again, you’ll need the right apps to do it. We recommend trying out Splashtop 2, LogMeIn or Pocket Cloud. You’re looking at a subscription fee to use them long term and prices vary, so try them out first and see what suits you best.

That’s it for our iPad Air tips and tricks, but we will update this article over time so check back. Please share any good tips you know of in the comments below. 

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