My top ten iPad tips for people starting out! Now updated for iOS7!

Learning to use the iPad effectively and efficiently doesn’t happen immediately. You can take it out of the box and start using it, sure, but there are so many cool tricks and tips to make it faster and easier.  Where is the manual to read up on that? And are you getting the most out of your iPad?

I just spent the conference week with some apple officiandos. People living and breathing it – my kinda people!  Combine the gems I picked up from them, plus the little things I have learnt over the past year and I  decided I had enough for a blog post! This is not about apps, but instead, just some quick things to do to help use the iPad efficiently. Old news for some of you, but I hope it helps those starting out!

Also, you must watch Katie’s FREE webinar – iPad Basics 101!


1. Edit folder views

Hold an app down until it starts to jiggle and then you can move and rearrange apps on your pages. Create a folder by dropping one app on top of another. Put apps into folder categories to keep organised. Click on the text label to change or rename the folder name. Click the home button to get out of the edit/jiggle mode.

I like to keep all my folders organised and arranged, I am a bit pedantic about it. In iOS7 we can now put lots more apps in a single folder which is great!


2. Lock faves to bottom dock

Also while in edit/jiggle mode, you can drag apps down to the bottom dock. Locking your favourite apps or folders on this bottom dock means they are always easy to access and do not change when you swipe between screens.




3. Use iPad Restrictions

Go into Settings, General, then Restrictions. Enable your restrictions (you will need to add a password the first time and DON’T FORGET IT!) and then you can turn on or off some features of the ipad. I like to turn off the ability to delete or install apps and in-app purchases, so that students do not accidentally delete an app off the the iPad or try to install an app.



4. Add to Home Screen

Make direct links to your favourite Internet pages. When in Safari, with your chosen website open, press the arrow on the top bar and then click ADD TO HOME SCREEN. An automatic link to that internet page will now be added to your home screen so you can click and open the website quickly and easily.

addtohomescreen1 addtohomescreen2addtohome3


5.Five finger pinch to close


Use a five finger pinch on an open app to close it quickly. (This is an alternative to pressing the home button). This is called a “Multi-tasking Gesture” and can be turned OFF in  Settings – General.

6.Four finger swipe to change between apps

four finger

Use a four finger swipe  left and right to go between programs that have been in use. This is called a “Multi-tasking Gesture” and can be turned OFF in  Settings – General. I would turn this off if I had a student with a physical impairment who kept accidentally doing a four finger swipe when all they were trying to do was touch the screen.


7. Speak Selection

Make your iPad read onscreen text aloud (eg. in Pages, notes, iBooks, Safari). Go to Settings, General and then Accessibility. Turn SPEAK SELECTION on. Now whenever you highlight/select text, there will be an option to SPEAK the text – words, sentences, paragraphs, whatever text you have selected.

speakselection1 speakselection2


8. Double tap Home button – Multi-tasking dock

Double tapping the home button opens up a multi-tasking dock along the bottom of the screen. It lets you see recently used apps, which you can swipe left and right to view. You can click on an app here to open it automatically.  While in this multi-task dock, if you swipe your finger up on the app, it will close that app down. This is useful if the app has frozen or playing up, as it restarts the app next time you open it. you can even swipe up with 2 or 3 fingers to close a couple of apps at a time.

doubletaphome doubletaphome2


9. Spotlight Search

If you can’t find the App you want, because it is carefully filed away into a folder somewhere, swipe down at the top of any screen to get the search page. Simply type in the name of the app and it should appear in the list. Click it here to open it directly. You can set what things on the iPad you search for (apps, contacts, music) in Spotlight Search in Settings – General.

spotlight1 spotlight2


10. Screen Capture

You can take photos of the iPad screen (screen capture), eg. of a page on Proloquo2GoScreen. Hold the home button down and then click the power button (at the top of the iPad) simultaneously. You will hear and see a camera click, and an image of your current screen will be sent to your camera roll.

screencap1 screencap2


11. Control Centre

iOS7 came with a Control Centre, which is opened when you swipe up at the bottom of the iPad screen. It has some easy access things like the camera, volume, mute and a few other functions.



That’s it… easy, right? So if you are starting out, I hope these top 10 11 tips have helped. I am sure there are many more tips and tricks… leave me a comment if you want to share yours!


Have a great day!


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About Amanda Hartmann

Amanda is a Speech Pathologist with over 17 years experience. She has worked within educational settings, and currently divides her time between her busy private practice and as an Inclusive Technology Consultant with Spectronics

Amanda is a Key Word Sign/Makaton Presenter, an official Proloquo2Go trainer and an official expert TBoxApps Trainer for Therapy Box. She is also a certified Apple Trainer and regularly runs iPad workshops to help schools integrate iPad technology into the classroom, for all learners.

Amanda has a special interest in supporting and developing communication, literacy and learning for a wide range of diverse learners, often through the use of visual tools, sign language and technology. She has spent many years providing therapy support and teacher/parent training in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for students with complex communication needs, due to disabilities such as: Cerebral palsy and other Physical impairments, Visual impairment, Hearing impairment, Autism, Down Syndrome, Fragile X, Intellectual Impairment, Angelman Syndrome, Rett Syndrome and others. She also has specialist knowledge to support the literacy learning of students with learning difficulties, language impairments and other diverse learning needs. She is passionate about providing interactive and engaging presentations to educators, parents and therapists.

18 Responses to My top ten iPad tips for people starting out! Now updated for iOS7!

  1. Aaron says:

    Great post!

  2. Jane says:

    Thank you for the helpful tips. The speak text and take photos tips were functions that I didn’t know about. I’m sure they will be really useful. Thanks for taking the time to most this post.
    Jane Beale
    Speech Pathologist

  3. Ralf0290 says:

    good work. Like your top ten iPad tips

  4. Again, Like you tips Amanda good info

  5. Deemonie says:

    Amanda, your post came up in, like, the top five Google results for “ipad 4 start tips”, and it blew my mind! It was bugging me, the apps not being completely closed down (solved with the multitask bar, hold-to-jiggle-then-delete tip), and having to go home to switch apps (solved with four fingers).
    Thank you.

  6. Kate says:

    Attended the Brisbane iPad workshop on Thursday but was so blown away my notes were terrible. So pleased I found this to step me through all the material you presented first thing on Thursday. Thanks it was a fab day. Hope to attend again in May.

  7. Barbara Landsberg says:

    Great to hear that you have found this helpful Kate. And that you enjoyed the workshop. Thanks heaps for sharing your thoughts. It means a lot to all of us on the Spectronics team. :)

  8. ipad pete says:

    Awesome post Amanda, I think of my self as an advanced ipad user and I leaned a few things Thanks!:)

  9. Karen says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Any chance you’ll update this for iOS7? :-)

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