The holidays are a time for getting things you don’t always want, but you accept with a smile—because why would you want to make your grandmother cry over a pair of socks and a shiny quarter?  But maybe, just maybe, someone will give you something that’ll help you actually enjoy the holidays—like a shiny, new iPad!

If you’re giving—or getting—a new iPad this holiday season, here’s some great tips to get started Enjoy-ing it right away.  These are great for both new and experienced, users, alike.  And if that special someone is doubly lucky by getting a new phone with that iPad, you’re in luck!  Many of these same tips are great for iPhone, too!

Create your Apple ID

An Apple ID is what you’ll use to access all of Apple’s services, like iCloud, Apple Music, iTunes, and more—and even what you’ll need to buy and download apps onto your iPad.  You can create an Apple ID from your iPad when you first start it up.  Or, you can create a new Apple ID from the iBooks Store, App Store, iTunes Store, Apple Music and Apple News, or iCloud Settings on your iPad after you’ve set it up.  But if you know you’re getting an iPad as a gift, you can save time by creating an Apple ID right now from your computer—so you can start downloading-away on your new iPad even faster.

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Set up Touch ID

Want to unlock your iPad almost instantly without having to type in a passcode each time?  How about make a purchase online without having to always enter your card details?  Or just keep all the information on your iPad even more secure?  Then you’ll want to use Touch ID.

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Touch ID is available on both the 12.9-inch and 9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 4, and is super easy to set up.  You can set it up when you start up the iPad for the first time.  But if you’re eager to get using your iPad right away, you can you skip it and set it up later by tapping Settings, then Touch ID & Passcode.  Here, you can add up to five fingerprints, choose how Touch ID works with a few Apple services, and more.  You can also check out Apple’s Support page for a deeper walkthrough on how to set up Touch ID across various Apple devices.


Use Slide Over for multi-app goodness

A past criticism of iPad was that you can’t do two things at the same time.  But that’s a thing of the past—as Apple has some great ways of multitasking on your iPad.  And one of those ways is Slide Over.

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With Slide Over, you can interact with a second app without having to leave the app you’re already using.  So you can easily do things like check your messages or create a note while you continue to surf the web.  To use Slide Over, swipe to the left, from the right-edge of your screen.  This will show you the last app you used.  If you want to switch that app, swipe down from the top of that side window to see a list of apps—then, just tap the app you want to use.  And when you’re done, swipe the side window to the right of your display.

To use any multitasking gesture, you need to first turn it on.  To do this, tap the Settings app, select General on the left of your display, then scroll down on the right of your display and turn on Multitasking Gestures.

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Use Split View for (even more) multi-app goodness

Slide Over is great.  But what if you want to use two apps at the same time—like to do a side-by-side comparison of an item from two different websites?  Or take notes in one app while researching in another app?  For that, you’ll want to use Split View.

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To use Split View, swipe to the left from the right-edge of your screen—like your did with Slide Over.  Except now, just swipe it over a bit further than you previously did.  That’s it!  And if you’re in Safari and you want to quickly see your tabs from two different websites, just touch and hold  the Pages button  to open Split View.  Then, when you’re done, touch and hold the same icon to close it.

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If you want to change one of the windows to a different app, swipe down from the top of the screen within that window—then select a new app from the list.  And if you want to close a window, tap and hold the divider, then slide your finger over the app.

Bonus Tip!: If you want to use Split View to do something like type notes while researching, try using a wireless keyboard.  This way, the keyboard on the iPad disappears, and you get back a lot more screen space.  And you can even activate Split View from that same keyboard by pressing Command + N.


Use apps and watch videos… at the same time!

Who’d a thought the iPad is like… a computer, or something.  Well, it is.  And with Picture in Picture on the iPad, you can do things like watch a video at the same time you’re browsing the web.  Have a FaceTime conversation with a friend while beating them on a game you’re playing together (so you can see their face while trash talking them).  Or even watch the same movie with that special someone while video chatting them from across the world.

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To use Picture in Picture, tap the Picture in Picture start icon in the video to scale down the window.  If you don’t see any icons in your video, tap once anywhere on the screen to bring up the controls.  Once the video window is scaled down, tap another app you’d like to open.  You can also drag the video around the screen if you want to move it to another corner.  And tap the Picture in Picture icon to get the video back to full screen.  Picture in Picture doesn’t work with all video apps (yet).  So if you don’t see that icon, it’s possible that app hasn’t included this feature.

And if you’re game, try using Picture in Picture and Split View at the same time to be the ultimate multitasker!


Use keyboard shortcuts for faster… everything!

You may not know it, but your iPad uses a lot of the same keyboard shortcuts you may already use on a computer.  So if you’re using a physical keyboard (wired or wireless), shortcuts will help you type and navigate much faster.

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Keyboard shortcuts work in a lot of different apps, like Calendar, Mail, Maps, Notes, iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote), and more—as well as third-party apps, like Facebook Messenger, Outlook, Slack, and more. Each app may have different keyboard shortcuts.  So, to see a list of what shortcuts work with that app, just press and hold the Command ⌘ key on your keyboard (Command key is similar to Control key if you’re a PC user).  And here’s what Apple lists as some common shortcuts:

• Home button: Command-H
• Search: Command-Space
• Switch apps: Command-Tab
• Select All: Command-A
• Cut: Command-X
• Copy: Command-C
• Paste: Command-V
• Bold: Command-B
• Italics: Command-I


Type with your thumbs

Are you one of those people who can type 80 words a minute with just your thumbs (seriously, how do you do that)?  Well, the iPad keyboard is juuuuuuust slightly bigger than your phone’s keyboard.  So typing with your thumbs is a bit trickier… or is it?

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With the split keyboard feature on iPad, you can, well, split the keyboard—so it’s easier to type with just your thumbs.  To split, tap and hold the Hide Keyboard button in the bottom, right of your keyboard—then slide your finger over the Split option and release.  The other option you see when you tap and hold that icon is Undock.  This moves your keyboard to the middle of your iPad display.  To return to a full keyboard, tap and hold the same icon, then select Merge.  Selecting Dock will return the keyboard to the original position at the bottom of your display.

The split keyboard feature works on all current iPad models except iPad Pro 12.9-inch.  Because who really wants to type with their thumbs on a giant iPad, anyway?

 
Finding free apps in the App Store

A common misconception among new Apple users coming from a different device, is that there aren’t any free apps in the App Store.  Fortunately, that’s not true—as Apple has tons of free apps!

To find the most popular free apps, open the App Store app, then tap Top Charts along the bottom of your screen.  On the right column, you’ll see the top 150 free apps.  And each category has their own free apps, too.  When you select an app, look for the Get button to the right—that’s Apple’s secret way of saying that app is free!

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Get the iPad for iOS 10 user guide

Few people know this, but iPad has a user guide online!  Well, sort of… it’s actually in the iBooks Store.  You can download it right from your iPad into your iBooks app—so an in-depth guide to everything about your iPad is on your device!  And your iPad isn’t the only one with a convenient guide for your device.  iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV all have user guides in iBooks.  But if you’d prefer to look at the guide on a bigger screen, you can check Apple’s Support page, here, for guides on all of their hardware and software.

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How to activate Siri

Siri is your helpful assistant that lets you do things like send messages, schedule meetings, make FaceTime calls, open apps, and much more with just the sound of your voice.  But how do you make the magic iPad genie appear?  It’s easy.

First, make sure your iPad is connected to the Internet (Wi-Fi or cellular)—as Siri needs it to find information.  Then, you can activate Siri either by pressing the Home button, then releasing it when Siri appears on your display—or by simply saying “Hey Siri”.  To turn on “Hey Siri”, tap the Settings app, tap Siri, then turn on Allow “Hey Siri”.  Then, just ask away.  And while you’re at it, ask Siri to tell you a joke… because who doesn’t love bad jokes?


Find stuff on your iPad with Spotlight

If you have problems finding things on your iPad, like emails, photos, or that one app you rarely open, but is now hidden amongst the 200 apps you never use, Spotlight will make searching much easier.  Simply drag your finger down on your Home screen to reveal the search bar.  Then, just type in what you’re looking for.

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Spotlight is great for all kinds of things beyond looking for stuff on your iPad, like doing quick conversions, calculations, finding nearby places, and more.


Bonus: Personalize your iPad gift!

If you’re giving the gift of an iPad to someone this, here’s a handy tip to help customize that iPad to make it more personal… and still make it look like it hasn’t been opened!

 

Enjoy… your new iPad!