Essential iPad tips to help you work from home

This extensive collection of tips should help you become more productive when using your iPad to get work done.

Apple, iPad, iPad Pro, iOS, iPad OS, remote working, WFH

Apple’s approach to product design is to make its hardware easy to use, while packing it with additional features to help you get things done as you become a power user. What follows are iPad tips to help you get work done.

iPad tips to help you work from home

Apple will introduce iOS 14 later this year and some iPad users are already working with the public beta of the software release. You (and millions of others who acquired an iPad in recent months) may not be using it yet, but it will introduce some new features:

  • Sidebars and tools are consolidated in one place, making them easier to find.
  • Apple Pencil gains a new Scribble.
  • The iPad’s Search (Command-Space on a keyboard) feature works across more categories and can be accessed from within any app.
  • Widgets and Smart Stacks.
  • Messages improvements.
  • Privacy and Accessibility improvements.
  • The ability to switch off QuickShare on your device.

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these upcoming enhancements as you prepare for the release of iOS 14/iPadOS 14 in the fall.

If you use an iPad with a Mac then you are probably already familiar with Sidecar mode, and I’m hoping most users know they can tap the title bar in almost any app to quickly scroll to the top of that page.

Now, on with the tips:

Fast way Home

The quickest way to get back to the Home screen is to tap Command-H if using a keyboard, swipe the white bar up quickly from the bottom of your screen, or press the Home button.

[ Related: How to speed up iPad ]

Fast copy/paste

Select an image or text and pinch with three fingers to copy (you should briefly see the word ‘copy’ appear at the top of the screen). To paste, pinch to open with three fingers. So: Select, Pinch in, open app or document and pinch out. Or use Command-C and Command-V with a keyboard, just like on a Mac.

Fast charge

Need to recharge your iPad as quickly as possible? Drag down from the top right corner to access Control Center and switch to AirPlane Mode when your tablet is connected to power for a swift energy boost.

Swiftly Siri

From opening apps to taking a message, Siri can help. Just press and hold the Top button briefly to access it. If you want to find out more about what it can do for you on your iPad, ask it, “What can you do?” and it will present you with a useful list. I find this the fastest way to set up meetings, launch apps, take notes or play a little background music without interrupting my workflow much.

Use Folders and the Dock

To get the best use out of Split View and Slide Over it makes sense to ensure all your most-essential apps are always available to you in the Dock. There are two ways to achieve this, you can ensure key apps are in the Dock, or create a folder of essential apps that is kept in the Dock.

  • To add an app to the Dock: Just tap and hold the icon until the app icons begin to wriggle and then drag it to the Dock – you can host up to 15 apps there.
  • To add an app to a folder and then add the folder to the Dock: Tap and hold the app icon until all the icons begin jiggling, and then drag the icon onto one of your other essential apps to create the folder. Name the folder and then repeat the process until that folder contains all your most essential apps. Make the icons jiggle and then drag the folder to the Dock. You’ll now be able to easily access those apps from within any other app using the Dock.

Use a mouse

You can use a USB-C or a Bluetooth mouse with your iPad as a pointing device. (You can also use external storage or a monitor). That’s quite useful, but what makes this even more handy is that when you do so you can also access Mac-style Hot Corners and Spaces on the system.

The former lets you automate a small number of tasks, such as opening apps, holding and dragging items or quickly launching Spotlight search.

Work Spaces lets you pair apps, Word and Safari, for example, or any other pair of complementary apps. Once you set these up you can swiftly get to these productive pairs of apps with a swipe.

5 essential keyboard commands

If you use an iPad with an external keyboard you should absolutely know these commands:

  • Command-H: Get to the Home screen.
  • Command-Space: Show/hide search.
  • Command-Tab: Switch to the next most recently used app.
  • Command-Shift-3: Take a screenshot.
  • Command-Shift-4: Grab a screenshot and open it in Markup.

(And here's more information on using a Magic Keyboard with an iPad).

[Also read: An Apple-centric guide to effective (and productive) remote working]

Important text-editing gestures

Starting with iOS 13, Apple introduced the following text-editing gestures. Get fluent with these and it should help accelerate your workflow.

  • Double-tap: Quickly select addresses, numbers, email addresses, etc.
  • Double-tap and swipe: Select text.
  • Triple-tap: Selects whole paragraph.
  • Three finger swipe left: Undo.
  • Three finger swipe right: Redo.

There are a few more, but those are the ones you’ll use most.

An Apple Pencil tip

If you use an Apple Pencil and need to research items across multiple websites, you may like this tip: Open a Safari window and swipe your Apple Pencil up from the left or right side of the screen to automatically take a screen grab of the site, you can then annotate the image and save it for your research.

Learn your app shortcuts

Most apps have their own keyboard shortcuts, which you can discover within each app by pressing and holding Command to see all the available shortcuts for that specific app. Every app offers its own unique shortcuts, and you should learn these for the apps you use most.

Use Keyboard shortcuts

You can create Keyboard Shortcuts for specific actions on your iPad. Just open Settings>General>Keyboard>Text Replacement and tap the Plus (+) button to begin to create your own selection of shortcuts.

The way this works is you type whatever phrases you often need to use (such as a form letter) and give this a phrase to invoke that, then tap Save.

In the future when writing, just type that phrase (eg. “order form letter 3”) to automatically insert the whole thing.

Get to know Split View and Slide Over

Split View lets you open three completely different application windows at once (two in Split View and one in Slide Over). To access this mode, just open an app, slide up and drag-and-drop an app icon from the Dock to the right or left of the iPad in order to open it in Split view. You can then slide the icon of another app up on the screen to access it in SlideOver – and in the latter, just slide up the white bar at the bottom of the SlideOver window slightly to enter a carousel view within which you can access up to five open apps in the view.

Looking for more tips?

Want to get even deeper into how to boost your productivity when using an iPad? Then explore this extensive series of reports:

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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