14 Things You Didn’t Know Your iPad Could Do
If you’re not using these features, you’re missing out on the chance to make your iPad experience a whole lot better.
Make your life even easier
What did we ever do before iPads? These handy devices give us something to do on long plane trips, keep our kids entertained, and allow us to stay connected with a bigger screen and more adaptability than our phones, but with less bulk and weight than carrying our laptops around would require. Of course we love our iPads! But, according to tech experts, most of us are missing out on some of the features that would make them even better. Here’s what you need to know. And once you’re up to speed, check out the hidden iPhone hacks you never knew about.
Pair your iPad with your Mac
David Lynch, content lead for Payette Forward, an Apple help website, says that your iPad can act as a second display for your Mac with the help of an app called Sidecar. “You can use it to mirror your Mac’s screen or extend it so you have more space,” Lynch explains. “To use Sidecar, you’ll need a 2016 Mac or newer and an iPad running iOS 13. To connect your devices, click the AirPlay icon in the menu bar on your Mac and select your iPad. You can now drag windows back and forth between your Mac and iPad.”
Use the volume buttons to snap pictures
“Taking pictures on your iPad can be a little difficult,” Lynch says. “It can be hard to reach the virtual shutter button, and if you miss it, you might screw up the camera’s focus. Fortunately, you can use the volume buttons as a camera shutter. Simply press either volume button to take a picture when the camera app is open!” That’s it—your photos are already looking better! And if you have a tendency to blink in your selfies, Photoshop’s got you covered.
Access the control panel
New iPad users often find themselves scrambling to access the various features all iPads provide. “If you’re new to iOS, you may not realize that you have a shortcut to a few things with just a swipe of your finger,” says Amy Smith, a technology assistant at FitSmallBusiness.com. “Yes, there’s a Settings icon on your iPad’s screen, but you can access airplane mode, Wi-Fi, flashlight, screen lock, and more. The control panel is easy to reveal by just swiping down in the top right corner of your screen.”
Customize the control center
“Ever since iOS 11, users have been able to customize the control center,” Lynch explains. “You can add the features you use most often and access them more quickly directly from the control center.” To customize, start by opening “Settings” and tapping “Control Center.” Next, tap the green plus button to the left of the feature you’d like to add. “Now when you open the control center by swiping down from the upper right-hand corner of the screen, you’ll find the features you just added!” Lynch says. “Tap on the icon to access the feature.”
Launch apps with Siri
You know to ask Siri about the weather and upcoming appointments, but are you using the full functionality that your voice assistant brings to the table? “This seems so mundane, but I find it super helpful,” says Smith of one of her favorite Siri tricks. “I’m notorious for having a messy desktop for months at a time as I install new apps, and then I clean things up and it starts all over again. So, it can be difficult to find a particular app on my multiple screens. Instead, I just use Siri. ‘Hey Siri, open [name of app].’ I’ve found it’s helpful in opening apps quickly but also making me aware when I don’t even have that app. That’s happened a few times.” You can also have a little fun with your devices: Say these 8 words to Siri and she’ll break out into song.
Keep your data safer
“Always ensure that your iPad is set to auto-lock in two minutes,” says ProPrivacy digital privacy expert Ray Walsh. “This will ensure that if the device is lost or left unattended, it locks up and stops anybody from being able to access its contents.” Without doing this, Walsh explains, “if someone finds your iPad and it is unlocked, they can go into the settings to set the auto-lock to ‘never,’ which will give them ongoing access to the device and its contents. An unsecured lock screen will display snippets of emails, app notifications, messages, and other potentially sensitive data.” That’s why he says it’s important to, head into your settings and secure the lock screen so that it doesn’t display anything potentially private or sensitive.
Beyond that, it is essential to keep your software up to date. “Always ensure that you accept iOS updates, as these are designed to protect you against potential vulnerabilities and exploits,” Walsh advises. “If you are concerned that the device might not have been updated recently, head to Settings > General > Software Update and then tap Download and Install.” You’ll also want to steal these 18 secrets from people who never get hacked.
Manage app permissions
“Although iPads are often considered much better for consumer privacy, researchers have found that many apps on the App Store are able to collect invasive amounts of data from iPad users,” Walsh says. “To control and limit the amount of data that apps can harvest from you, be sure to properly manage your app permissions. To do this, open Settings and scroll down on the left until you see each individual application. Then click on each app and manage the permissions on the right.”
Common permissions he says you might want to consider removing include:
- Access to the microphone
- Access to Photos
- Access to the camera
- Access to Contacts
- Access to GPS location services
Also, just so you know, if these apps are still on your device, someone may be spying on you.
Find your iPad
“If you lose your iPad, you will want to be able to locate it again, and iOS has you covered, thanks to the Find My iPad feature,” says Walsh. “To make sure it is set up, head to Settings and click on your name in the top-left pane. Now click Find My iPad and turn on all three settings to ensure that you can find the device via your iCloud account on another device.” For privacy reasons, Walsh adds, you might prefer not to turn on Send Last Location, but this is up to you. However, if your device is lost or stolen, this will help Apple Services locate the last place the device was just before the battery ran out.
Reduce your exposure to blue light
“The impact of blue light on sleep can be profoundly negative yet so easily avoided,” says Rupert Pople, founder of Your Smart Home Guide. “It can suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for making us tired and sleepy.”
But while many people may be aware of the effect of blue light on sleep, they may not realize that they can easily reduce their exposure to it on all of their devices—iPad included. “Just go to Settings > Display and Brightness > Night Shift,” Pople says. “From there, set your schedule based on your wind-down hours. Always set the Night Shift to start from at least three hours before bed until you wake.” However, there is also a hidden benefit to that blue light exposure.