Mind Candy

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iPad tips and tricks you won’t find in the manual

Posted by mandyf on December 20, 2012

The iPad has been out long enough that people have figured out how to make it do things that the manual never discusses. Whether it is just a matter of the right people knowing what to look for, manipulating the way the things were meant to be done (without voiding the warranty of course), or something stumbled upon by mistake, the iPad is full of neat tricks. How useful they are is debatable, but for the curious here are some iPad tips and tricks.

 If you need to restart your iPad you do not have to power it down. Likewise there is an easier way get out of an application that freezes. To perform a soft restart, hold the top power button and the front home button at the same time for about 3 seconds. It really is that simple and it isn’t in the manual. When an iPad app freezes up, hold the home button for a few seconds and it will force the application to quit. These options are so much easier than a full power down.

Copying text is easy – you just double tap a word and you’re good go. The problem that everyone is complaining about is copying a paragraph of text at a time. The highlighting system using the blue knobs you have to stretch to highlight a full body of text is clunky and annoying. There is a limited solution however. The limit is it only works to highlight a block at a time. To highlight a full block of text on an iPad, tap it 4 times and you’re done and ready to paste in wherever you need to. Sure it is slower than ideal to do it a paragraph at a time, but it is still way better than using the knobs.

One thing that really stinks about the iPad new owners are discovering is that the iBooks app is a loser. Unlike the iPod that lets you import whatever you have, the iPad iBooks app only supports ePub in that regard. You’re free to BUY hot new releases for the iBook store, but if you happened to buy that hot new book from anywhere but the iBook store you will not be reading it on your iPad. This means there is a ton of stuff you can’t download and read. The offered selection of free iPad books on a whole stinks, but you can get around it to a degree. Project Gutenberg offers about 30,000 ePub books for free that iPad will recognize. The downside is that you won’t get anything new – just publications that have already seen their copyright expire.

To mute the iPad so you don’t get any embarrassing audio blasts at the worst possible time, hold the volume button for 2 or 3 seconds and you’ll be safe. It doesn’t sound like a big deal unless you are one of the many people that has already struggled with the inability to slap down a blanket mute on their iPad which meant constantly having to power up and down all day just to make sure it behaved.

If you need a screenshot – one you can actually read – push the home and power button on the top for about a half second. Be careful not to do it longer. Once you’ve done it correctly you’ll have an iPad screenshot that is of a 768×1024 resolution.

Scrolling web pages is a chore on the iPad unless you know the trick not in the manual. Suppose you are reading a friends blog or an article and reach the bottom, but realize you need to get to the top of the page again to find something or go to a new section of a site. As is, the only information in the manual regarding scrolling is to keep dragging your finger up and down the screen creating even more smudges the screen is highly prone to. A better way to get to the top of the page is to just tap the title bar. Instantly you’re at the top again and have a lot fewer smudges to wipe clean.

The iPad email preview feature stinks. Seeing two lines of email previews isn’t really helping at all. Something that worked on the iPhone that works on the iPad but to a much better degree is manipulating the settings so you can see several email lines at once.

To do this go to your settings and select “Mail.” Then go to contacts and calendars and choose “5 Lines” under preview. It is that easy of a fix. While you are doing that you may want to opt to change your email from manual to automatic so that your email is always updated and waiting for you. That convenience comes at the cost of draining your battery a lot faster, but for some users that may be a fair trade off.

According to Gizmodo’s Joel Johnson, there is a way to get all those high resolution videos your iPad won’t play – or even download – to work. What you need to do is adjust the resolution so that it is lower than 1080p to the 720p setting. For detailed instructions, see his post at Gizmodo.

One final that stinks about the default iPad settings is only have 4 apps (icons) in the bottom tray at one time. There is a way to get two more iPad apps on the tray however. What you need to do is click the icon and hold it as you would to rearrange them. Once you unlock their positions all you have to do is drag another one or two apps to the bottom tray and you just increased it’s holding capacity. That is as much as will fit unless someone discovers a downsizing trick. For sake of ease having 6 iPad app slots is way better than 4.

While not all of these tips will appeal to every user’s needs, they are handy and easy and do not appear in the manual. So far, must of the tips and tricks that worked on corresponding iPhone properties work on the iPad but not all do. Keep that in mind as you experiment, and also be careful not to do anything voids your warranty or breaks the law.

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