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The best iPad Pro tips and tricks

Learn to use your tablet like an ace with these iPad Pro tips and tricks

iPad Pro (2018) review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

When the original iPad launched in 2010, it was in many ways a glorified iPhone with a significantly larger screen. That’s not to say it wasn’t an amazing product for the time — simply that you couldn’t do a whole lot on it that wasn’t already possible on Apple’s smaller hardware. The idea of a responsive, stylus-free tablet was innovative enough, so things like multitasking support and flashy gesture controls would come much later.

Well, it’s now 2018, and they have. Even if you’re an iPhone X owner or a MacBook Pro devotee, the all-new iPad Pro is an entirely different beast. Sure, you could use it in much the same way you would an iPhone, but then you would be missing out on a plethora of shortcuts and tricks designed to better your experience. Thankfully, we assembled some of our favorite iPad Pro tips and tricks here, all of which will help you make the most of your device.

How to navigate the new gestures

As with Apple’s latest iPhones, the new iPad Pro no longer has a home button. Instead, you will have to become accustomed to the new gestures. To access notifications, swipe down on the display. For the Control Center, swipe down towards the right-hand corner of the iPad Pro. Whenever you want to exit an app, swipe up quickly on the bar located at the bottom of the display which will bring you back to the home screen.

If you want to see all of the apps you currently have open, swipe up the same way you would to exit an app but keep your finger on the display until you see an array of different apps. To force close one, simply swipe up on the specific app and it will disappear from the display. You can see all the apps you have open by pinching the display with all five fingers. This gesture will also bring you back to the home screen.

How to quickly access the Notes app and switch modes with the Apple Pencil

iPad Pro (2018) review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Because Apple Pencil touches register differently than your fingers, tapping the lock screen with the Pencil will immediately take you to the Notes app. That way, you can easily begin to take notes without having to go through multiple steps. 

You can also switch to different modes by double tapping on the Apple Pencil. Under Settings > Apple Pencil, you’ll find you can choose between Current Tool and Eraser, Current Tool and Last Used, or Show Color Palette. There is also the option to turn it off completely.

With the new iPad Pro, you can also charge the Apple Pencil wirelessly by attaching it to the device itself. Once attached to the iPad Pro, you’ll see the status of the battery appear on the display.

How to scan, sign, and send documents

There are few tasks more agonizing than trying to quickly scan, sign, and send documents. In this day and age, it should be easy — but without a tablet, it can be frustrating booting up your scanner, opening that inadequate trial version of Adobe Reader gathering dust on your desktop, and woefully using a mouse or trackpad to sign on the dotted line with all the grace and elegance of a toddler who has yet to develop fine motor skills.

Thankfully, if you own an iPad Pro, firing off official documents is a snap, one that takes a fraction of the time you’d spend fighting with your PC. Simply open the Notes app, tap the addition sign in the bottom-right corner, select Scan Documents, and take a picture of the paper. Your iPad will then convert the document into a clear, crisp PDF that you can sign with your Apple Pencil.

How to customize the Control Center

To quickly access specific tools and apps, you can customize the Control Center. Go to Settings > Control Center and tap Customize Controls. From there, you can choose from a list of different controls available. You can also switch up the order in which they appear by dragging each one wherever you’d like it via the Settings.

How to enable Siri

Rather than pressing down on the Home button, you will now trigger Siri by simply holding down the lock button on top of the iPad Pro. You can also go into Settings > Siri & Search and toggle on Listen for “Hey Siri” instead. That way, you can also enable Siri hands-free by simply calling for the voice assistant out loud.

How to copy and paste from your iPhone to iPad

One of our favorite new features is the ability to copy and paste between devices. There is honestly very little setup. Just make sure both devices are connected to the same iCloud account and that both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled.

Once you are all set up, simply select the relevant information, long press and tap Copy.  You can then long-press on any other connected Apple device and tap Paste.

How to use the new dock for split view and slide over view

With the iPad Pro, you can view more on the display simultaneously with Split View or Slide Over mode. Once an app is open, swipe up on the display to reveal the dock. Then, long-press and drag the second app you’d like next to the first one until you’re in Split View — allowing you to see and use both apps at one time. This allows you to not only view multiple apps at the same time, but reconfigure and even share content between them.

How do you do it? Simply swipe up from the bottom of the display and press and drag the desired app to open it — let’s say Messages in this case. If you’ve got an app such as Photos or Keynote open in the main window, you can send an image by dragging it from there to the text field in Messages.

If you only need to use the app for a short amount of time, there’s also Slide Over mode. For instance, if you need to quickly pull up the iMessage app to answer a text message while reading an article on Chrome, you can pull up the messaging app and quickly swipe it away. As with Split View mode, swipe up to access the dock, long-press on the iMessage icon and quickly swipe up onto your current display. The iMessage will rest on top of Chrome for you to use until you’re done, at which point swiping it to the right will make it disappear.

How to access recent files quickly

First introduced in iOS 11, you can skip the hassle of opening apps from the dock just to access one particular photo or document. Simply press and hold on an app icon to reveal recent files and tap on the specific one you’d like to use. You can also drag files onto app icons if you want to open them in other apps.

How to take a screenshot

Since there’s no longer a home button on the new iPad Pro, taking a screenshot is a little bit different. Now, all you have to do is hold down the lock button and volume up button at the same time. If you have an older iPad Pro you can still snap a screenshot by holding down the lock and home buttons. The screenshot will appear in the lower left-hand corner of the display — by tapping on the photo, you can edit it or mark it up using the tools provided before saving it to your camera roll.

How to customize the dock

Unlike on the iPhone, you can add more than four apps to the dock. Simply drag a specific app to the bottom of the display and place it on the dock wherever you’d like. To keep it more organized, you can also add folders of apps you create to the dock in order to keep them clustered together.

How to draw straighter lines in Notes with the ruler

When sketching in Notes, there’s a handy tool Apple doesn’t really mention anywhere to help you draw straight lines. Simply place two fingers on the screen, and a ruler will appear. You can rotate and move that ruler anywhere around the screen, and drawing over it with the Apple Pencil will produce a straight line. If you’re looking to boost creativity, check out our guide to the best iPad Pro drawing apps.

How to convert handwritten notes to text

iPad Pro (2018) review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The easiest and Apple-approved, way to convert handwritten notes is by using a third-party app called GoodNotes.  Once you have GoodNotes downloaded, you simply use the lasso tool to select your text and tap the “convert” option on the menu.

Sure, GoodNotes is a little pricey at $8, but if you take a lot of notes or need a really good digital notebook, GoodNotes is hard to beat.

How to turn the iPad on and off

Powering off the iPad Pro is similar to taking a screenshot. Simply hold down either one of the volume buttons and the lock button until you see the option to turn the iPad Pro off. Then, slide the icon to the right on the screen to complete the process. To turn it back on, hold the lock button down until you see the Apple icon appear on the display.

How to set up Face ID

Instead of scanning your fingerprint for security, the iPad Pro now comes with facial recognition technology — also known as Face ID. With iOS 12, you can add two different Face ID profiles to unlock your phone. After setting up the initial Face ID, go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and tap Set up an Alternate Appearance. 

Face ID also works in all orientations with the new iPad Pro — whether that’s portrait or landscape mode. That way, you don’t have to worry about holding the iPad a specific way in order for it to recognize your facial features to successfully unlock the device.

Includes a USB-C charging port

Rather than a lightning cable, the all-new iPad Pro features a USB Type-C charging port. This means that you can now connect it to things including a desktop monitor using a USB-C thunderbolt 3 cable. There’s also the ability to charge your iPhone with the iPad Pro using a USB-C to lightning cable. For headphones, you can connect a 3.5mm dongle to the device as well.

Use Augmented Reality to enhance the experience

While we recommend taking photos with your iPhone, you can still take advantage of the iPad Pro’s 12-megapixel rear camera for augmented reality applications — especially since the App Store has a variety of both fun and educational apps to choose from. For example, with Plantale you can learn about the anatomy of a plant and even create your own AR plant. There are also apps like Magnolia Market that allow you to shop for decor — using AR, you can place furniture and accessories in your home to see what they’ll look like before making the purchase.

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Brenda Stolyar
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brenda became obsessed with technology after receiving her first Dell computer from her grandpa in the second grade. While…
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