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iPad / iOS Basics Part 1

Ben from MO asks:

I just got an iPad! Can you please posts some tips about iOS stuff?

So you’ve just recently unpacked your shiny new iPad, fiddled with the touch screen a bit, and tossed a few Angry Birds. In fact, you’ve downloaded a few different apps, even loaded up some of the pre-installed ones too, and in doing so have come up with a few nagging questions about iOS which Apple does not seem to readily answer via an instruction manual or even a simple cheat sheet. Luckily, you need not worry any longer as here you will find a variety of tips, tricks, and handy how to’s to reduce your iOS frustrations.

Note: While the following tips primarily reference iOS 4.x running on the iPad 2, most are performed in a similar manner in Apple’s iPhone/iPod touch range of products.

Securing your iPad with Passcode Lock

Before you even consider downloading Angry Birds to your iPad, make sure you properly protect your devices’ data by turning on the Passcode Lock feature. Passcode Lock forces your iPad to request a numerical passcode when the device is powered on or woken from sleep mode. To set and enable Passcode Lock, follow these Steps:

Step 1. Open the iOS general settings by tapping the “Settings” icon.

Step 2. Under the left most “Settings” frame tap “General.” The right most frame will show your devices’ “General” options.

Step 3. In the “General” options frame, tap “Passcode Lock.”

Step 4. The right most frame will update to show the “Passcode Lock” options. Tap the very first option available: “Turn Passcode On.” The “Set Passcode” dialog will appear.

Step 5. Enter your 4 digit passcode on the keypad, confirm when prompted, and you’re done.

Your iPad will now require the entered passcode upon starting / waking up.

Those who wish to have an extra level of security will also want to consider the following two options: “Simple Passcode” and “Erase Data.”

Setting “Simple Passcode” to “OFF” will allow you to set a more secure passcode longer than 4 digits, while setting “Erase Data” to “ON” will instruct iOS to delete all data on your device if an incorrect passcode is entered ten times in a row.

Once your Passcode Lock settings have been set, you will now be prompted by the “Enter Passcode” dialog upon powering on or waking up your iPad.

Organizing your App icons

Once you start downloading apps and games to your iPad you will probably notice your home screen becoming full of App icons, all placed in the order in which you downloaded them to your iPad. Just like file shortcuts and icons on a Windows desktop, finding the icon you need on your iPad Home Screen when there are tens, if not hundreds, of them in no particular order can be a very frustrating experience. Luckily, there are a few methods within iOS to get your icons properly organized:

Reordering Icons on Your Home Screen

To change the order in which your icons appear on your Home Screen, follow these Steps:

Step 1. Tap and hold any of your Home Screen icons until they begin to wiggle.

Step 2. Tap and drag the icon you wish to move to the side of the nearest icon which you would like it placed. Any nearby icons on that line will move themselves out of the way to accommodate the icon you are dragging.

Note: If you have many icons spread across multiple screens, drag the icon you wish to move to the side of the screen and hold it there until the screen display changes to the screen you wish to place your icon on.

Step 3. Let go of your icon to place it in its new position. Repeat as needed until all your icons are in order.

Step 4. Once you have your icons in order, press the home button once to exit the Home Screen icon “wiggle” and set your icons in their new order.

Changing the icons on your Dock

For quick access to those Apps which you use frequently, you may want to consider placing them right on the Dock:

Step 1. Follow Steps 1 through 3 above, but drag you icon(s) to the Dock instead of the Home Screen.

By Default you will only have two free spaces to place icons in your Dock, for a total of six docked icons; however you may free up icon spaces from your dock by removing them:

Step 2. To remove items from the Dock, drag a wiggling docked icon from the Dock up above your Home Screen, and let go. The icon will fall onto your Home Screen, freeing up a slot on your Dock.

That’s all the space we have for now, but stay tuned for more tips in iPad / iOS Basics Part 2!

~J. Conboy