Congratulations on your new iPad! Tablets are very handy, portable and fun to use, but of course they can feel very different to laptops and desktop computers. Here are some tips for getting you up to speed and keeping your new tablet in great nick for as long as possible. 

1. Buy a hard protective cover for your iPad

Putting the iPad in a hard protective cover will help safe guard it against bad accidental damage, such as a cracked screen, or jammed buttons. Repairs to iPads can be costly as accidental damage is not covered under the warranty. 

2. Don’t use chemicals on your iPad screen

Some cleaning chemicals can alter the surface of the iPad screen, preventing you from tapping open apps. To keep it clean, use a spectacle cleaning cloth to wipe any finger smudges off, you can also purchase a clear protective film, which lies over the screen and does not interfere with your finger movements. If you need to get rid of specks of dirt, just do it by dabbing it off with tepid water.

3. Turn off features that can use up the battery time quickly

Although iPads have on average 10 hours of battery life before they are recharged, using an iPad for number activities at the same time can eat at your battery time. So try to follow measures to reduce this from happening. Controlling the brightness of the screen, turning off Wifi if you are just using your iPad to read, and turning off Bluetooth can help increase the time before you need to recharge. Settings for the items mentioned can be reached by tapping on the icon that has picture of a set of cogs.

4. Consider using the ‘Passcode’ feature on the iPad

We all dread the thought of misplacing our iPad, leaving it in a coffee shop, or indeed having it stolen. Setting up a passcode will help safeguard your personal information. It can be accessed through the Settings app, which is the cogs icon. Tap on it, then on the left hand-side of the screen look for the word General. Tap on this word. Then the right hand of the screen should display a list; scroll down until you see the word Passcode, tap on this to create your code. Should the iPad get stolen or lost, after 10 attempts are made to break the code all data is erased.

5. Practice frequently used hand and finger gestures

There are three frequently used hand and finger gestures to use on an IPad. Practicing these movements will enable a better user experience. The gestures are called, the tap, the swipe and the pinch. Here is a short video demonstrating how to do these movements. 


6. Instantly bring up all the apps on iPad

Instead of swiping from screen to screen to find apps, locate the home button along one of the edges of the screen. Press this twice apps will then appear in one continuous line, running from right to left. Use your finger to scroll through the apps to reach the one you want to use.

7. Scroll faster when searching the internet

As you search the internet in the iPad’s Safari web browser app, and scroll down web pages. Tap on the part of the screen that displays the time. This will quickly get you back up to the top of the page.

8. Create icons for favourite websites

Instead of using the Safari web browser to reach a favourite website, why not create a short cut icon, to put on one of your screen along with the apps? First of all, search for your favourite website. Once you are at the home page look for a symbol of an arrow pointing upwards inside a square. This will be situated at the top of the screen by the address bar. Tap on this, you should then see a list of options appear, look for Add to home screen and tap on this. It will display in a new window a name for the icon you want to create. Look for the word Add, tap on it. The icon will appear on one of the screens. Repeat the process if this does not happen on your first attempt.

9. Take advantage of downloading useful free apps

In the App Store and iTunes apps, type in the word ‘free’ in the search box area, which is at the top right of the screen. The results will be all the free apps that Apple can offer. To narrow your search you can type in ‘free books’ or ‘free games’ etc. However, look at the details before you download, to see if there are any in-app purchases.

10. Use an App store/iTunes voucher cards to purchase apps

You can buy App store/iTunes voucher cards at WHSmith, Boots and some of the large super market chains. They are usually stocked near the checkouts. This is a safer and more controlled alternative to purchasing apps over the Internet. You do get instructions of how to use with your Apple account.

Lynne Thompson is a Digital Unite tutor, Digital Champion and a tutor-assessor for the Digital Unite Academy.