I suspect many iPad users never get a chance to learn how to get the most out of it.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


Power user tips for iPads

September 2, 2012

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2012, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2012, The Post-Standard

I'm still trying to figure out how to do the simplest sort of things on my phone. I learned maybe 10 percent of how the phone works and then got distracted by life.

Isn't that the way things go for all of us? To me, and maybe to you, too, phones work well enough if they just let you talk to somebody, but I'm convinced we could all use pointers on using more complicated devices -- especially the kind that are supposed to be easy to use.

Take the iPad, for instance. No doubt it's easy to use. But I suspect many iPad users never get a chance to learn how to get the most out of it. If that describes you, settle down and take notes.

First, Apple insists you never need to worry about all those apps that fill up your Multitasking Bar, the one you see by double clicking the Home button. Your iPad manages them just fine, Apple insists. But that's crazy. Every now and then, touch and hold one of them until they wiggle, then touch the red corner of each one and get all of them out of there. Otherwise your iPad really bogs down.

Next, stop complaining about the "missing" apostrophe. It's on the keyboard, just hidden away. Get it by swiping up from the comma. And if you need to insert a solitary number while typing, forget switching to the numeric keyboard. Just swipe up from the lower-left numeric-keyboard button to the number key you want and let go.

And how about that blasted Safari web browser? It lets you open only one webpage at a time, right? Wrong-O! Touch and hold the link and you'll get a choice of opening it normally or in a tabbed window. Later, close any of those tabs by touching the "X" button. (You might have to adjust Safari's behavior in the Settings app to get it to open tabs in the background.)

You say your neighbor's 5-year-old accidentally deleted three of your apps -- and you have no idea what happened to the backup someone was supposed to make for you? Be cool! Just go to the App Store and get them again. You won't be charged.

Wouldn't it be great if your iPad could show more than just maps? Maybe traffic conditions? You have your wish. Turn on the Traffic overlay in the Maps app. Get to it by touching the dog-eared corner at the lower right. Any time you are connected to the Internet, you'll see red (heavy traffic) or green (light traffic) route colors.

How about a way to locate your iPad if you leave it on the bus ? It's easy and free, as long as you set up your iPad in advance. Go online to http://www.apple.com/ipad/find-my-ipad.html and follow the directions.

Finally, something even your best friend might not tell you: "Sent from my iPad" at the end of each email is so '90s. Put your own prose there by going to the Mail portion of the Settings app.