17 iPad tips and secrets you’ll use

iPad-only tips are hard to find, so here is a short collection

Apple, iPad, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, iOS, iPhone

I’ve tried to solely include iPad-only features here, though I have included a couple that work across iOS which I think come into their own on the Apple tablet. For even more ideas read 20+ iPhone tips you’ll use frequently, many of which also work on iPads.

Power of 6

Did you know you can include up to six apps in the dock? Do you nest apps into folders and place them there, ‘productivity’, ‘games’, ‘utilities’, for example? How to move and place apps.

Power of 4

Running an app and want to quickly get to another? Just place four fingers on the display and swipe left or right to whizz through your active apps, or swipe up to get to App Switcher view. You may need to enable multitasking gestures in Settings>General.


Pinch four fingers together to close the app you are in and return to the Home screen – do it slowly for fun.

Serious Settings

In an app and need to change a Setting for that app? Just hold down the Home button to invoke Siri, and say: “Settings” and it will open the appropriate settings for the active app.

Split keyboard

Tap and hold the keyboard button until the Undock/Split dialog appears. The first lets you move the keyboard around the screen, while the second provides a split keyboard which can be useful sometimes. The split keyboard also has another talent, described here. (One more thing – Caps Lock: you enable this by double tapping either Shift key).

Split view

Want to see two apps side by side?

  • Just launch both apps, open one of them, and swipe into the iPad screen from right to left.
  • This summons an on-screen sidebar which lets you scroll up and down through your active apps.
  • Choose the one you want and it becomes active in this view.
  • You can adjust size by selecting the vertical bar between the two apps and moving it around.

You can also use this method to quickly glance inside other apps while remaining inside your current app.

Safari tip

When in Safari you can press and hold a link and choose Open in Split View to look at pages side by side.

Keyboard shortcuts

If you use a keyboard with your iPad Pro then you can access a range of useful keyboard commands, including:

  • Bold: Command + B
  • Italic: Command + I
  • Underline: Command + U
  • Increase font size: Command + + (plus)
  • Decrease font size: Command + - (minus)
  • Copy style: Command + Option + C
  • Add comment: Command + Shift + K
  • Find: Command + F
  • Show word count: Command + Shift + W
  • Show ruler: Command + R
  • Create document: Command + N

More shortcuts

Many iPad apps have their own built-in keyboard shortcuts. Just press and hold the Command key when using an app to see what these are.

Access all areas

If you are using an external keyboard you can quickly get to open apps when you press Command + Tab. You can also use Spotlight search and/or Siri to find and launch apps “Hey Siri, open Safari”.

Added character

I’ve not mentioned this before – but isn’t it annoying when you write and you need to switch keyboard to get to the apostrophe or quote buttons? Someone at Apple thinks it is, which is why if you press and hold the comma key you’ll get an apostrophe, and if you press and hold the full stop you’ll get a quote.

Power of 1

This is useful: When working with text place two fingers onto the on-screen keyboard until the keyboard goes blank. Now you can move your fingers around the keyboard to move the cursor swiftly around your text. Keep your fingers still a little longer to reach text selection mode.

Reading room

Your iPad (and iPhone) can read to you. Open Settings>General>Accessibility>Speech and enable Speak Selection. When you open an eBook you just need to select text starting from where you want reading to begin, and choose Speak in the contextual menu that appears above the text.

Apple Pencil

If you use an iPad Pro then you may use an Apple Pencil. If you do you’ll know how to write with it, but had you realised that its pressure sensitivity means you’ll create thicker lines if you press harder in supported apps? Or that if you tilt it at a low angle you’ll get pencil shading? Or that you can draw and write in the Notes and Mail apps? Or that you can even trace through paper when you place the paper on your iPad screen and trace the image on that paper with your Pencil?

One louder

You can get what feels like a little extra volume out of your iPad speakers with this tip: Open Settings>Music>EQ and choose the Late Night EQ setting. You music will now seem a little louder.

Single Sign-On

Single Sign-On isn’t just about the Apple TV, iPad users can also get in on the act. You enable this feature (in supported countries) in Settings, using the TV Provider option.

Here you must sign-in with your TV account ID and you’ll be able to access TV shows and movies made available by your provider, including easy access to the Find More Apps feature which lets you find and download apps supported by your provider that let you access this content.

User guide

Apple publishes a useful user guide for iPad users which it makes available for free download at the iBooks Store.

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