iPad mini tips and tricks
iPad mini tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your Apple tablet
The iPad mini is a great tablet that's easy to pick up and use (check out our full review here) but with these tips and tricks, you'll be able to take full control over your Apple device. In no particular order, these range from very basic to advanced, so let's get started.
Set a volume limit on your iPad mini
This one might seem silly at first glance, but if you’ve got little ones using your iPad mini, it makes all the sense in the world to set a volume limit. Not only will it save their tiny tender ears from damage, it will help spare you some sanity, as well. To set a volume limit, go to the Settings menu and scroll down until you see the orange Music icon. Once there, look for “Volume limit,” now simply set it to your preference.
Transform your iPad mini into a Kindle
Yep, you read that correctly. You can easily transform your iPad mini into a Kindle by simply downloading Amazon’s Kindle app for iOS from the App Store. It works like a charm and offers the same benefits as the actual device. Even better, it will sync up across all your devices so you can still pick up from where you left off whether you’re on your iPad mini or an Android-based device.
Get the Kindle app for your iPad mini here.
Turn off keyboard sounds
You know exactly what sound we’re talking about. Click. Click. Click. The incessant ticking of keys is enough to make you want to cause actual damage to your beloved iPad mini. Seriously, whose brilliant idea was it to create a keyboard clicking sound effect on touch screen device? Make it stop. Thankfully, you can easily turn it off by going to Settings > Sound. Look for the Keyboard Clicks option located near the bottom of the list.
Turn off “Sent from my iPad” signature
Perhaps one of the most tedious things about constantly using your iPad mini for back and forth messages is that pesky little “Sent from my iPad” notice that always defaults below your email signature. Thankfully, it’s a cinch to turn off. You can deactivate the “Sent from my iPad” message right in Settings, or simply tap the Signature option to delete or change the message.
How to Sync Facebook contacts and events with your iPad mini
It might sound complicated, but it’s actually one of the easiest things you can do with your iPad mini. First, make sure you’re signed in to your Facebook account. Next, go to Settings and you should see an option to import contact details, birthdays and events Voila, now you can sit back, relax and receive all of your vital Facebook updates straight from your iPad mini.
How to check the speed of your iPad Mini's internet connection
If you're finding your internet connection a little sluggish on the iPad Mini, you can check it and get a report of the results before you complain to your internet provider.
To monitor your internet speed, download and install the Speedtest.net application from the App Store.
Wait while the app finds the closest server to you and tap on begin test.
To take a screenshot of the result, hold down the power button and home key at the same time.
How to take a screen shot on the iPad mini
Taking a screen shot can be useful even if you're not a blogger. To do this on the iPad mini, simply hold the power button and home button and a screen shot will be saved to your camera gallery.
Your iPad mini can take advantage of the Siri voice-controlled personal assistant. To use it, simply hold down the home button for about two seconds and the Siri microphone will appear and you can then use it to launch other apps, find sports scores, set reminders and more.
How to quickly find content on the iPad mini
If you're looking for an app, email or contact, you can do it very quickly on the iPad mini. From your initial home screen, swipe to the left and the Search iPad bar will come up. If your query doesn't match anything on your tablet, you'll be able to search the Web from here.
How to lock your orientation on the iPad mini
Tired of your iPad mini orientation flipping around? You can lock the orientation by tapping the home button twice, the app screen will pop up at the bottom, swipe to the left-most screen and there will be a landscape lock button on the left corner. Tap that to lock and unlock the orientation of your iPad mini.
How to gain quick access to music, brightness on the iPad mini
You can also use that method to get quick access to things like brightness, sofware volume and you can even get access to whatever music player or app you have running.
How to set up Facebook, Twitter on the iPad mini
The iPad mini is powered by iOS 6 and one of the cool new features about it is built-in Facebook access. Along with built-in Twitter, you can easily share pictures, links and other things with your favorite social network. To set this up, go into your Settings, click on the Twitter or Facebook icons and then input your login information.
How to share content via Twitter, Facebook on the iPad mini
Ok, you've set up your social networking accounts, now what? To share content with Twitter and Facebook, simply tap the Share button on your photos, Web pages or other content. Twitter and Facebook will pop up as options. You can also update those social networks quickly by bringing down your notification bar and hitting the Tap to Tweet or Tap to Post icons.
How to change your wallpaper on the iPad mini
Want to make the iPad mini your own? Setting a custom lock screen and home screen wallpaper is a great way to do that. To change it, go into your Settings, tap on the Brightness & Wallpaper icon, tap on Wallpaper and then choose a photo. You can choose from photos on your device or from photos on your Photo Stream.
How to let Siri do your typing on the iPad mini
Want to use your voice to dictate your text? Whenever you see the keyboard, simply tap the microphone button near the space bar and gab away. Be sure to doublecheck the results, though.
How to manage your notifications on the iPad mini
The Notification Center is a great way to keep up to date with your apps but some can get annoying. To remove or mute which apps can get in your Notification Center, go into Settings, tap on the Notificatiions button and then tap on each app to determine if it can go in Notification Center, how many notifications it can send, the Alert Style it can use, if it can use a Badge App Icon, if it can make sounds and if it will be present in your Lock Screen.
How to tap to scroll to the top on the iPad mini
As TFS Managing Editor Marc Flores pointed out, most apps will let you scroll to the top by simply tapping on the Notification Center once. This is especially useful if you're using something like Twitter, Facebook, 9Gag or something with a long news stream.
How to set up a passcode on the iPad mini
You may have some sensitive data on your iPad mini, so go ahead and put a passcode on it. To do this, go into Settings, tap Passcode Lock and then Turn Passcode On. You'll be able to toggle Siri access when locked and even have the option to erase all data on the iPad mini after 10 unsuccessful attemps.
How to find your iPad mini
Like with other iOS devices, a lost or stolen iPad mini can be tracked down. When you're first setting up the iPad mini, enable Find My iPad. This doesn't guarantee that you'll get it back because your device will have to be on Wi-Fi but if you do lose your iPad mini, go to your iCloud account online and you may be able to find it.
How to set restrictions on the iPad mini
The iPad mini lets you set restrictions on your apps and Siri and this could come in handy if you hand your device to kids or other people often. This will let you do things like require a password to install new apps or accessing the camera. Go into Settings, tap General and then tap Restrictions. Turn this on, input a passcode and then set which apps you want to restrict.
How to control location services on the iPad mini
Using location services can be great for things like Maps and other apps but not all of us want to broadcast where we are. Luckily, you can control this on your iPad mini. Go into Settings, tap on Privacy and then hit Location Services. You can turn Location Services off entirely or just toggle which apps can access your location. Additionally, the arrow icons will give you a better idea of how apps are using your location.
How to set Do Not Disturb on the iPad mini
One cool new feature of iOS 6 is the option to set up a Do Not Disturb function on your iPad mini. Sometimes, you just want to play Angry Birds Space without being annoyed by email notifications or messages. To turn this on, go into your Settings and tap the Do Not Disturb icon.
How to sync your iPad mini
The iPad mini is pretty simple to sync with iTunes, as you simply plug in the tablet to your computer and then launch iTunes. Once you're in the iTunes interface, you can even enable Wi-Fi Syncing with your iPad mini and you won't have to plug it in again.
How to reset your iPad mini
If you're selling your iPad mini already or giving it to someone for a while, make sure you delete all the data on there. You can do this by going into Settings, tapping General, and then scrolling down to Reset. From here you have these options: Reset All Settings, Erase All Content and Settings, Reset Network Settings, Reset Keyboard Dictionary, Reset Home Screen Layout, Reset Location & Privacy.
How to bring up recent apps, kill apps on the iPad mini
You don't have to go to the home screen every time you want to switch apps, just simply double tap the home button and the apps will pop up from the bottom. Tap on the app you want to run next.
You don't really have to stop apps from running in iOS but if you want to, bring up the app-switching tray, long press on an app and then hit the red minus sign which appears.
How to download and update apps on the iPad mini
This one's pretty simple: Use the App Store. Go into the App Store icon to discover some new apps. If you have an app which needs updating, you'll see a badge on the bottom right on the Updates tab. You can update the apps individually or you can hit the Update All button at the upper left corner.
How to pause app downloads on the iPad mini
Your apps will start to download on the home screen and you'll get a progress bar underneath it. Sometimes, you may want to pause one app from downloading to let another download first (a large game may be a good example of this). To pause an app download, simply tap on the app icon and it will pause. To resume the download, tap on it again.
How to create app folders on the iPad mini
You can organize your apps into groups fairly easily on the iPad mini. Grab an app with your finger and drag it on another app and a folder will be created. You can rename it too.
Tip: If you're like me, you change your home screen a lot from the default and it's tough to do it one app at a time. Figure out which apps you want on your main home screen, put them in a folder, drag that folder into the status bar at the bottom and then move that app folder onto your main home screen.
How to change your main app tray apps on the iPad mini
The iPad mini lets you put six apps on the bottom tray and you don't have to stick with the default ones. To change these apps, long press on the app you want in the tray, the apps will start jiggling and you can then drag that app into the main bar.
How to get more camera shooting options on the iPad mini
The iPad mini packs a respectable 5-megapixel iSight camera and the portable size means it's not that ridiculous to take shots with it. Launch your camera app and then click on Options for the ability to shoot with Grids.
How to edit your photos on the iPad mini
Once you've taken your photos, you can edit them on the device. Go into your Camera Roll, tap on a photo and then hit Edit. From here, you'll be able to Rotate, Enhance, Red-Eye and Crop. You can always use apps like iPhoto, BeFunky, Instagram, Camera+ and more to enhance your photos.
How to be a better photographer on the iPad mini
Of course, this one's easier said than done but we got your back. Marc has been writing a series on Smartphone Photography and many of these can be used with the iPad mini camera. Go ahead and read composition tricks, an exposure intro and more.
How to jailbreak your iPad mini
The iPad mini is pretty great but I know some of you just want more out of it. For example, you can't put widgets on it. If you jailbreak your iPad mini, you'll get a host of new features. Be aware that this comes with a lot of risks though. For more details on jailbreaking your device, please read this post.
How to update your iPad mini's software
Apple is never done improving its iOS software and it will be pushing out software update for the iPad mini for years to come. To check for updates, go into Settings, tap on Software Update and it will see if there's something new to download. You can download over the air or you can download to your computer and then transfer via a Lightning cable.
How to use four and five finger gestures on the iPad mini
One trick about the iPad mini is that it can use four and five finger gestures. Pinch with your whole hand and you'll go back to the home screen. Swipe with four or more finger upward and the app tray will pop up. You can also swipe between apps by going left and right with four or five fingers.
If you dont' want these available, go into Settings, tap General and then slide Multitasking Gestures to Off.
How to download and install iOS 6.1 on the iPad mini
Apple's iOS 6.1 software is now available and it beefs up Siri, makes iTunes Match more usable and offers various overall improvements. You're definitely going to want iOS 6.1 on your iPad mini, so follow this guide to help you get the latest software on your Apple tablet.
You can actually update your iPad mini to iOS 6.1 two ways: with or without wires. We'll walk you through both ways.
To update your iPad mini to iOS 6.1 over the air, go into your Settings, tap on Software Update and then click on the Download and Install option. Once you've agreed to the Terms and Conditions, the iOS 6.1 update will start to download.
Once it's downloaded, it will install automatically unless you click on the popup to save it for later. We suggest keeping your iPad mini plugged in during this and the overall process will take about 10 minutes.
If you prefer using your computer to install iOS 6.1 on your iPad mini, then you simply need to connect it to your Mac or PC and then fire up iTunes. Once it recognizes your iPad mini, click on the iPad mini icon and then hit Summary.
From there, you can click on Check for Updates and iTunes will download and install iOS 6.1 on your tablet. Follow the onscreen instructions from there and you're off and running with the latest version of iOS.
How to show battery life as a percentage on the iPad mini
You can monitor your exact battery percentage in just a few easy steps.
To enable the iPad mini's battery life percentage reading:
- Navigate to Settings
- Tap on General, then Usage
- Swipe down to the Battery Usage section and turn the Battery Percentage switch to "On."
- That's it! Battery life will now show as a percentage!
How to set up parental controls on the iPad mini
With Apple's iOS 6, users have the option to restrict the content and applications that can be viewed or used. It's been around for a while now, but is really pretty great, especially if you have kids.
So you could, for instance, stop your kid from playing a graphic game or watching a mature movie. You can basically restrict whatever you want, which is great.
That being said, I'm sure there are a few of you out there who don't know how to set up parental controls. This post aims to address that and it will show you how to set up restrictions with ease.
So, to enable parental controls on your iPad mini, follow the steps below:
- From the home screen, select Settings.
- Scroll down and select General then Restrictions.
- Follow the on-screen instructions and select Enable Restrictions.
- Since this is likely the first time you have accessed this feature you will be prompted to enter and re-enter a four-number passcode.
- Next you will arrive at a control panel where you can alter settings. Here you can choose the level of access to rated content such as movies, music and applications.
- Ensure the settings are configured the way you want and tap Done.
How to take a screenshot on the iPad mini
To start snapping screenies, just follow the easy steps below:
- Wake your iPad mini.
- Hold down the Power button and the Home button at the same time(hold the buttons for about two seconds). Your screen will flash white for a split second.
- OK, you're done. Your screenshot will now be available in the iPhone camera roll.
How to use Facetime on the iPad mini
To use FaceTime on your new iPad mini, follow the steps below:
Note: To follow these instructions, you need to make sure FaceTime is switched on under Settings. This can be done under the FaceTime tab.
How to make a new call with FaceTime:
- Find and select the FaceTime icon from the home screen.
- Select a contact.
- Select the FaceTime icon from the contact's phonebook entry.
- When the person you're calling accepts the FaceTime invitation, the video call will start.
How to switch between the front and back camera on a FaceTime call:
- Make a call using the FaceTime following the steps above.
- Tap the switch camera icon in the bottom right of the screen.
- The camera view will automatically switch to using the rear-mounted camera.
How to set up email on the iPad mini:
To set up email on your iPad mini, follow the steps below.
- From the iPad mini home screen, select Settings.
- Scroll down and select Mail, Contacts and Calendar.
- Follow the on-screen instructions and select Add Account.
- Select Yahoo Mail, Gmail, or AOL mail. You can also add another service below that manually.
- Enter the appropriate e-mail address and password, then select Next.
- Now choose which content you would like to synchronize: Mail, Contacts, and Calendars.Tap Save when finished.
How to set up iCloud on the iPad mini
iCloud is Apple's cloud-based offering for iOS devices and Macs. Starting out you’re given 5GB of free iCloud storage and a free email account. You can sync almost everything, even game data.
Anyway, to get started with iCloud, follow our guide below. We've paired it down for you so you can set up iCloud with ease.
- Wake your iPad mini.
- Navigate to Settings and then scroll down and tap iCloud.
- Once inside iCloud, sign in with your Apple/iTunes ID.
- Next, turn on the appropriate syncing preferences. You can sync content, contacts, as well as other things.
- After doing that, everything you selected will begin syncing to your iPad mini. It's that easy.
- OK, you're done. If you'd ever like to buy more storage, head back to the iCloud section ofSettings. You can do it there. You can also opt to backup your iPad mini here too.
How to make the iPad Mini's battery life last longer
As you probably could tell from our review, the iPad mini is an amazing tablet. With an A5 CPU and a small unibody frame, the mini is an extremely powerful, yet light alternative to most other small tablets on the market. However, with such power comes a price: reduced battery life. With the all-new iPad mini, the most you can expect is about 11 to 13 hours of battery on heavy usage.So, is there anything that can be done to get better battery life on your iPad mini? Yes, of course, you just need to be diligent. Read on, and we will share some great tips to improve your iPad mini's daily battery life and make the tablet last a lot longer.
Dim your iPad mini's screen:
This is going to sound nuts, but it's not necessary to set your iPad mini's screen to 100 percent brightness. I love my tablet at around 75 percent, which is probably too high, but I just like a bright screen. For most tablet owners, though, you should keep the screen at half or even lower if possible. The screen really does drain the most of the battery.
Turn off push notifications:
Unfortunately, push notifications use a lot of battery life, especially when you're on the go. Obviously it depends on how many emails or IM messages you usually receive, but if you get a lot, switching off push is probably worth it. I recommend doing it when your iPad mini is not in use.
Switch off networks, including Wi-Fi, location, and 4G LTE:
Networks and services for whatever reason seem to use a lot of juice on the iPad mini, so switching them off will make a huge difference in regards to battery. Turning off the location services and Bluetooth connectivity when not in use is key, as is switching off Wi-Fi when you’re not in range. If you plan on buying a 4G LTE iPad mini from Verizon or AT&T, you should also make sure to shut that down when you're not using it.
Switch email syncing to manual fetch:
This is a big one and extremely important. Set your email to manual fetching to extend your iPad mini's battery life. This works wonders as background e-mail syncing usually sucks down the most juice.
Turn off location services for apps:
Every app is given permission to use location data, even apps that don't really need it. Facebook and Twitter, for example, have access to your location. Do they need it? Probably not. Anyway, choosing which ones need it and which ones don't can save you a lot of battery life. You can choose which apps have access to your location in the Location Services section of the Settings app.
Keep your iPad mini up to date:
Make sure to always keep your iPad mini up to date. Software problems can cause issues with the battery and fixes are very important. To update the software on your device go to Settings, then General and then Software Updates. That's it!
Please note, many of the tips and tricks from the iPhone 5 will also work on the iPad mini. Read iPhone 5: best tips and tricks.