How to Navigate the iPad Like You're an Apple Genius

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Master the iPad Using These Pro Tips

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Have you ever watched someone fly around the iPad's interface, launching apps at breakneck speed and switching between them almost instantly?   The iPad was first released in 2010 and each year we get an operating system update that brings new features for us to use the tablet more efficiently.  New user guides can cover the basics like moving apps and creating folders, but what about all the pro tips to take your game to the next level?   

Did you know you can often skip the apostrophe when typing on the iPad's onscreen keyboard?  The Auto Correct feature will usually fill it in for you.   And you don't need to finish typing long words.  You can type the first few letters and tap one of the predictive typing responses on top of the keyboard.   And instead of opening the Music app and searching through artists and albums for a particular song, you can just ask Siri to "play" the song.   These are just a few things a pro user will do to speed up the process of getting things done, so let's get to the first pro tip.

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iPad Pro Tip #1: Tap the Top to Move to the Beginning

This tip has been around since the beginning, but I constantly see people slowly scrolling up a website or toward the top of their Facebook feed.  If you want to go to the beginning of your Facebook feed or to the top of a website or email message, simply tap the very top of the screen where you see the time displayed.   This doesn't work in every app, but in most apps that scroll from top to bottom, it should work.

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iPad Pro Tip #2: Double Click for Fast App Switching

Another process I see people doing way too often is opening an app, closing it, opening a second app, closing it and then searching for the app icon to return to the first app.  There's a much faster way to switch between apps.  In fact, there's an entire screen devoted to it! 

If you double click the Home Button, the iPad will display a screen with your most recently opened apps displayed in a carousel of windows across the screen.   You can swipe a finger from left-to-right or from right-to-left to navigate through the apps and simply tap on one to open.  This is by far the fastest way to open an app if you have recently used it.  

You can also close an app from this screen by tapping the app and swiping towards the top of the display.  You can think of it as flicking the app off the iPad.  Closing apps is a good way to cure small problems within the app.  If your iPad is running slow, it's a good idea to close a few of the most recent apps just in case they are taking up some processing time.   

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iPad Pro Tip #3: Spotlight Search

Perhaps the most underused feature of the iPad is Spotlight Search.  Apple has added a lot of cool stuff to the search feature over the years.  Not only will it search for apps and music, it can search the web and even search inside of apps.   How powerful is it?  If you have Netflix, you can search for a movie via Spotlight Search and have a search result take you directly to the movie in the Netflix app.  It's even detailed enough that if you type in the name of an episode of a TV show, it can recognize it.

The best use for Spotlight Search is simply launching apps.  There's no need to search for where an individual app is located on your iPad.  Spotlight Search will find it.  Sure, you can tell Siri to launch an app, but not only is Spotlight Search a quieter option, it can also be quicker.

You can reach Spotlight Search by swiping down on your Home Screen, which is any page full of app icons.   Just make sure you don't start at the top edge of the display else you will get the notification center.   

If you swipe from left to right while on the very first page of icons on your Home Screen, you will reveal a different Spotlight Search.  This page is actually a notification center that displays events on your calendar and other widgets you have set up for the notifications screen.  But it also includes a search bar that can access all of the Spotlight Search features.  

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iPad Pro Tip #4: The Control Panel

What about all of those times you simply need to flip a switch or move a slider?  There is no reason to go into the iPad's settings just to turn Bluetooth on or off or to use AirPlay to throw your iPad's screen to your TV via Apple TV.  The iPad's Control Panel can be accessed by swiping your finger from the very bottom edge of the screen where the display meets the bevel towards the top.  As you move your finger up, the Control Panel will be revealed.

What can the Control Panel do?

It can turn on or turn off Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb and Mute.   You can also use it to lock the iPad's orientation, so if you are laying in bed on your side and find the iPad keeps switching from landscape to portrait, you can lock it down.   You can also adjust the brightness of the display with a slider.

In addition to the aforementioned AirPlay button, there's an AirDrop button for quickly sharing pictures and files.  You can also use the quick launch buttons on the right to open your iPad's camera or access the stopwatch and timer.  

There is also a second page to the Control Panel with music controls.  You can get to this second page by swiping from right to left on the screen when the Control Panel is displayed.  The music controls will let you pause the music, skip songs, adjust the volume and even choose the output for the music if you have your iPad hooked up to a Bluetooth or AirPlay device.  

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iPad Pro Tip #5: The Virtual Touchpad

Thus far, I've mainly covered navigation and getting to features very quickly.   But what about getting stuff done?  The iPad is often called a consumption device, meaning people use it to consume content, but it can also be a very productive tablet in the right hands.   One of the coolest newer features added to the iPad is the Virtual Touchpad, which can do many of the same things a real touchpad would do.  

Have you ever tried to move the cursor by pressing your finger down on some text until the little magnifying glass comes up and then moving that around the screen?  It's very awkward, especially if you are trying to position the cursor at the far left or far right of the screen.   That's where the Virtual Touchpad comes into play.

In order to use the Virtual Touchpad, simply place two fingertips on the on-screen keyboard.  The keys will blank out and moving both fingertips will move a cursor around the text on the screen.  If you tap your two fingertips on the keyboard and hold them down for a second, little circles will appear at the top and bottom of the cursor.  This means you are in selection mode, allowing you to move your fingers to select some text.  After you are done selecting, you can tap the selected text to bring up the menu allowing you to cut, copy, paste or paste.  You can also use the menu to bold the text, speak it, share it or simply indent it.  

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iPad Pro Tip #6: Finding Your iPad When Its Lost

The Find My iPad feature can be great if your iPad is stolen or if you leave it at a restaurant.  But did you know it can be a major timesaver if you simply can't find your iPad around the house?   Every iPad should have Find My iPad turned on even if it never leaves the home if for no other reason than to find it should the iPad ever slip between the cushions of the couch or some other out-of-sight and out-of-mind location.  Learn How to Turn On Find My iPad.

You don't need the app to access Find My iPad.  You can also get to it by pointing your web browser to www.icloud.com.   The iCloud website lets you locate any iPhone or iPad with the feature turned on.   And in addition to showing where they are located and allowing you to either lock them up or reset them to factory default, you can have the iPad play a sound.  

This is how you find your iPad when you accidentally place a pile of clothes on top of it or it slips under the blanket on your bed.  

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iPad Pro Tip #7: Search a Webpage From the Address Bar

One great trick on your PC's web browser is the ability to easily search for specific text within an article or web page.  But this trick isn't limited to your desktop browser.  The Safari browser on the iPad has a built-in search feature that many people don't know about because it can easily remain hidden if you aren't looking for it.  

Want to find some text in a web page? Simply type it into the address bar at the top of the browser.  In addition to suggesting popular web pages or executing a Google search, the search bar can actually search the page.  But the search feature can be hidden by the on-screen keyboard, so after you type in what you want to find, tap the button on the bottom-right corner of the on-screen keyboard with the keyboard and the down arrow on the button.  This will cause the keyboard to disappear and allow you to see the full search results.   This includes an "On This Page" section for searching the current web page.

After you execute the search, a bar will appear at the bottom of the Safari browser.  This bar will let you navigate through the text search matches or search for some other text.   This can be a lifesaver if you are searching through lengthy instructions and know exactly what you are looking to do.

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