So the family have got you an iPad and you really are a bit lost in using it. After you have worked out how to switch it on and enter the setup information what do you do next? Here’s how to get started on some essential things…
1. Get to know Safari.
Safari is the web browser for the iPad. It whole purpose in life is to take you to a website and show you what is on it. It is very much like Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or any other browser you may have used (you must be using one to read this!) All you need to do is type the address of the webpage you want to visit (eg:retiredblokes.com) in the address bar at the top of the screen – see the picture below.
If you want to search for something, you don’t have to go to Google first though you can if you want to. All you need to do is to type what your searching for into the Address Bar at the top. So you can type, for example, “How can I set up Mail on my iPad” then press the return key which is now labelled “Go” on the keyboard. Then you can find out how to set up your mail program. So here is your homework. Find “How many cats are there in Australia” and see what you get. I got 1 cat for every 15 people.
Like all the other web browsers, you can set up favourites for web places you like to visit often. To do that, go to the page you look at often, then choose the Action Button – the box with the up arrow on the right hand side of the address bar. That gives you a menu where you can select “Add to favourites” “Add Bookmark”, “Add to Reading List” and a few other things. Choosing “Add to Favourites” give you the chance to select a favourite name for the page you are looking at. The iPad will default to the real page name so you don’t have to change anything unless the name is very long or you just want a memorable name. Next press “Save” at the top of the screen and it will be saved in your favourites. To find the favourites you press the button on the left hand side of the address bar and if you can’t see the one you added, select favourites from the top of the menu.
2. Using Mail.
If you have been using your browser to read your emails, you can set up the mail program because it will get your mail automatically every time you select the Mail icon, it will allow you to answer emails and you can delete the junk mail you get. Setting it up is really simple and you can find out how to do that by searching for “Set up mail on the iPad”. You know how to do that already because you read the paragraph above so I’ll let you find out how yourself.
Just a couple of things to know about mail…
You can delete any message from the summary list of emails by swiping from the right to the left on the message you want to delete. A “Bin” appears giving you a chance to get rid of just that message. Sometimes it is labelled “Delete” and sometimes it’s “Archive” – either way it’s gone from your iPad.
Sending an email requires you to press the new mail button – its a square box with a pen in it at the top on the right hand side. You then have to type in an email address. Then touch the Subject bar and type in the subject. That can be anything but just one or two words will be best. Next touch anywhere in the large box below the Subject and you can write your email. When you have finished touch the blue up arrow on the top right hand side and it will go to the person you have addressed it to.
Adding a photo to an email requires you to press at the place where you want to insert the photo for about three seconds then release . A menu appears giving you an option to “Paste, Change Quote level, Insert a Photo or Add an attachment”. You may need to press the right arrow button to see the right hand part of the menu. Selecting “Insert Photo or Video” takes you to a photo chooser where you select the picture you want to insert. Of course the photo must be stored in the Photos area of the iPad. If you’re not sure what that means read on…
3. Great Photos.
If you take photos on your iPad, they will all be available in the Photos app. If you also have an iPhone and use that for taking photographs, as long as you have set the Apple ID on both devices to the same thing, the iPhone will transfer the photos automatically to the iPad and vice versa automatically when you are connected to WiFi.
When you start Photos it takes you to a screen thats entitled “Moments”. Touching a picture will fill the screen with that one. Then you can swipe left or right on the screen to look through various photos using full screen. Each photo will have any location information at the top and the date and time the photo was taken. Have a fiddle with Photos because you can add peoples names to your photos (select “Albums” then “People” and use the “+” button then add their name at the top of the screen). You can also add the location where they were taken if it’s not there. Note that if you use your iPad to take photos (or iPhone) it will automatically add the location the picture was taken. The Photos program will then group together the photos taken at the same location the same day and show the location on a map. You can see the all photos taken at a particular location by touching the name at the top of the group and you’ll see that group and other group collections taken near the same place. This is hard to describe in a few words but give it a go and see if you can work it out. There’s not much damage you can do so press away and trying things. If you want to return to where you started press the “Photos” button at the bottom of the screen.
You can add photos taken from your other camera but you will need to have a camera with WiFi (they do exist) or an adapter for reading SD cards. You can buy that on eBay for about $5. Of course, if you have a slide camera, or photos you really want from the past – you’ll will need a scanner. Most cheap scanners transfer pictures to SD cards so you may still need that adapter. There is another story on retiredblokes.com about scanning pictures.
I use the contacts app to keep up with people in my life. I have all my family listed and various other contacts I’ve made through the years. If you start the contacts app then press the + sign at the top, you will be able to enter the details of people. You get the usual First Name, Last Name and Company fields. Then you can add a phone number or two, add their email address, their birthday and their address. If you add a card for your own name, you can tell your iPad who your children are, your brothers and sisters and even your parents. Having your own card means the iPad will be able to take you home anytime you are away and it will tell you how long it takes to get there. Have a fiddle and see who you can add to your contacts. If you have their email address stored there, then when you are sending an email, if you start typing their name in the To field, the iPad will automatically give you an option of choosing them. Adding their address where possible will help you do other things as well.
Apple maps comes on all iPads and it will give you directions to anybody whose address is in your Contact App. So add as many addresses as you can, to your Contacts app. When they are in there, press and hold the home button till Siri appears, then say “Take me to John’s place”. Siri should make sure she has the right John then start Maps and give you an option to Go to the location. Selecting the Go button will begin the directions and keep doing so till you get there or till you press the End button.
You could just say “Take me to 55 Smith Street, Southport” (or better still – some street near you) and she should find that number, in that street and give you directions on how to get there. So here is some homework – try asking Siri to take you to the last house number in your street, then try it out. When she finds the street address you asked for, you have a chance to tell her you are walking not driving (theres even a public transport choice but that doesn’t always work!) Siri is really very friendly and if you turn the wrong way, she will gently tell you to turn around.
6. App Store..
Apple has hundreds of thousands of other apps (iPad computer programs) written by them and many others to help you do something. Generally they help you do just one thing. I have three banking apps on my iPad because I have accounts with three banks and their apps only connect to their bank. So I can transfer money, BPay etc within each one but they only deal with one bank.
There are many other apps like the the BBC or ABC News app, Family Tree apps, eBay, FaceBook, Airbnb for cheap accommodation (plus any other number of hotel booking apps – Bookings , Wotif etc), lots of Calculators, Supermarket apps, shopping centre apps, Telstra app (plus Vodafone Optus Aldimobile etc), lots of dictionary apps and millions of games. Many of the apps are free but some cost a dollar or two. I’m sure you will find something that takes your fancy.
You can find music apps for playing or composing – Apple supplies a Music App for playing music you have purchased in iTunes. They also supply another called Garage Band for composing music. These Apple ones should be on your iPad now but if they aren’t you can find them in the App Store and get them for free. There is also Spotify and other streaming apps that allow you to listen to music from the web and there is a Podcast app for listening back to the millions of stories on the net.
In addition each iPad comes with a writing App called Pages, and for spreadsheets, a Numbers app. Keynote is for making Presentations (like PowerPoint) and iMove for editing movies will also be on your iPad. You can explore each off these with the help of Google and Youtube (there’s an app for that!). If you want me to write about any of these apps add a comment and I’ll see if I can help you.
If you don’t want to give your credit card to Apple for use in the app store, you can use an iTunes gift card purchased in a supermarket (Office Works sometimes has a 15% discount). Then you add that gift card amount to you Apple account. (you may need to Google that if you are not too confident). A $20 gift card should get you a good number of useful Apps because they are often just $2 each. It’s tempting to go overboard and get lots of free apps but resist the temptation because the iPad (usually) has limited memory to store them inside so only get ones that are really useful.
7. Using FaceTime.
FaceTime gives you the ability to make and receive video calls. It uses the camera on the front of the iPad to send your picture to someone else who may be using an iPad or an iPhone. To use it you need to find the App called “FaceTime” surprise surprise! When you touch the icon, you will find a list of people on the left you have had contact with. If you want to speak to them just tough their name and it will connect you. If you want to cal someone who is not there then press the + button. You then need to put their phone number, email address or their name (if they are in your contacts list). The you get to choose whether you want to make a Video or Audio call. When you choose one of those, the iPad will try and connect with them.
There are a million things I could write about your iPad, but these are enough to get you started. The most important thing though is to have fun. You cant easily break an iPad – other than by dropping it, so enjoy what you do and give everything a try. Shaking the iPad side to side often enables you to reverse what you just did so have a go and have fun while you do it.