How To Tame The iPad



I’m waiting until next year’s inevitable next-generation improvement to take the iPad plunge, giving those who already own the device a year or so to learn how to break the wild beast and teach me to use it.

Mashable has already done much of the heavy lifting, piecing together a list of 10 tips to help you make your experience with the tablet iRad.

A sampling of the post’s advice, much of which involves subverting the clunky interface:

*Work around Safari’s inability to let you open new tabs by opening new windows with the browser by tapping on a link until it gives you the “open in new page” option.

*Make up for the system’s lack of a “mute” button by holding down the volume lowering button for a few seconds, quickly shutting down the sound.

*Eliminate the need to turn pages in iBooks with the tiresome swipe motion by manipulating the settings to advance pages by tapping the left margin.

Click the source link for the rest of the tips.

If you own an iPad, what are your favorite hacks?

10 Useful Apple iPad Tips and Tricks [Mashable]


Edit Your Comment

  1. AI says:

    I had no idea that iOS 4.0/4.1 wasn’t available for the iPad yet. Oh well, good thing, as 4.0/4.1 have battery drain issues caused by incompatible apps. In my case having either ‘Decibels’ or ‘Duke Nukem 3D’ on my iPod Touch would cause the battery to completely drain over night. Deleting those apps solved the issue.

    • agraham999 says:

      You could also force quit those apps so they aren’t running overnight and thereby not have to delete them from your phone. Double click the Home button…press and hold the icon of the app you want to force quit…and then click on the red “X.” Problem solved.

      • AI says:

        Force quit doesn’t solve the problem, nor does a hard restart. They somehow run just by existing even when there are no apps shown running.

  2. Brontide says:

    iOS 4 will return the mute switch and rotation lock will be in the multitasking bar like on the iPhone/Touch.

  3. agraham999 says:

    Clunky interface? Will I ever read a post here that doesn’t in some manner take a swipe at Apple?

    There is no need for the “system” to have a wasted dedicated mute button when as you say…you just hold the volume button down about two seconds. That’s mute.

    As for our favorite hacks…none of these are hacks. A hack involves modifying the system in a way that was not intended or facilitated by the programmer or creator…these are all features built in to the software…nothing was modified.

    Lastly…why is this post on Consumerist? Oh yeah…anything Apple is good for a click.

    Please stop being lazy and make posts that are true to the theme of your site and stop doing anything Apple just for the sake of squeezing out a few more pageviews.

    • Amnesiac85 says:

      As much as I love Consumerist….I have to agree with your post completely.

      • the_wandering_monster says:


      • agraham999 says:

        I know, right? I love this site as well…come several times a day…but this constant Apple garbage is pointless. Rumors…innuendo…if it’s got Apple in it it doesn’t matter…as long as we can squeeze a few clicks out of it.

    • zingbot says:

      Good points.

      I think the “Tame” in the title implies that it is riddled with issues an the selected hacks make it look like the iPad was under-designed. Frankly, it isn’t. There are a few upgrades that could be done and some efficiencies to be had, but this thing has made me incredibly productive. Portable tools like Evernote, 2Do and Dropbox are time-savers at least.

      I have issues with the pricing, but I’m sure that it’s just a first-edition price. 2G will be slightly lower if Apple’s trend continues.

      • agraham999 says:

        Agreed…for a first generation device, this is remarkably well thought out and functional. This is why we haven’t seen any “iPad Killers” as of yet…it really set a high bar and just making some $200 piece of junk wasn’t going to cut it…everyone had to go back to the drawing board and try again.

        And yeah…the Mashable post isn’t about hacking the device…or making it work in some way because it is missing something…they are tips and whatnot that you might not know existed. And quite frankly…many things are still coming with future iOS updates.

        I come to Consumerist to learn how to be a better consumer…and to get information about bad products or bad practices…and the occasional great story about someone going the extra mile…how does this post fit that?

        • AI says:

          It’s hardly first gen. It’s third gen with a larger screen.

          • Beeker26 says:


          • zentec says:

            First product to use the A4 processor. Seems slightly first-genish to me.

            • AI says:

              Yet the iPod Touch 4 / iPhone 4 also use that processor and are fourth gen.

              • pecan 3.14159265 says:

                The iPhone and iPad have similarities, but I don’t think you can call the iPad anything but first gen because it’s its own product. There are features on the iPad that aren’t on the other devices, and there is enough of a difference that you just can’t call it anything similar. The most obvious is the fact that it isn’t a phone.

        • TardCore says:

          If you don’t want to read about, don’t click the story. Grow up.

    • DoktorGoku says:

      I’m sure Apple appreciates your internet defense.

    • DanRydell says:

      It’s not just Apple – every article here contains some negative comment about the subject, even if it’s an article about a company doing something right. They do take advantage of every opportunity to post about Apple though, because Apple articles get a lot of clicks.

      To say that the suggestions in the article involve subverting the iPad’s “clunky interface” would be like saying Phil is a talented writer who understands what he’s talking about. On the contrary, the article was almost entirely about taking advantage of the iPad’s user interface features.

  4. bluecoyote says:

    I’m going to echo the comment above. What is up with all of the Apple-baiting?

    First off, this seems more appropriate for a blog like Gizmodo.

    Second off, what’s with the tone? “subverting the clunky interface?” Compared to what, those Archos Android tablets? The HP Slate? The JooJoo?

    Next week are you guys going to offer an oh-so-helpful guide on how to adjust the power seats in a Ford Fusion in order to get around the “lousy driving position?”

  5. Alvis says:

    It’s a gaming console – you really need someone to teach you how to use it?

  6. dreamfish says:

    “I’m waiting until next year’s inevitable next-generation improvement to take the iPad plunge…”

    Personally I’m waiting until (a) the price falls considerably, as they are just overpriced for what they are and (b) there is more openness so you’re not locked into the Apple Store with Steve Jobs dictating what I can or can’t run on my own device.

    Somehow, I think I’ll be waiting a long time.

  7. kouotsu says:

    I am kind of fine with the Apple bashing, just because if you’re going to market yourself as the premium highest-price innovative trendy company, your products should be worth the price.

    The most annoying thing about the iPad is there’s no pressure sensitivity. Apple tends to market to creativity, but we have this thing that is basically a digital piece of paper, and it’s terrible to draw with. As far as I know there’s not a single slate device with pressure sensitivity and I can’t help but wonder why? Apparently a company has found out how to go about making a very nice drawing application with pressure sensitivity and the ability to ignore your palm while you draw, but Apple’s API is too strict to distribute it.

    That’s the most aggravating thing about Apple to me. They practically go out of their way to make their devices less functional and personalized.

    The HP Slate claims to have a “Digitizer” pen, which sounds like more than something for poking, so maybe my wish will finally come true.

    • bluecoyote says:

      What are you comparing the iPad to that’s already out on the market for the same price?

    • humphrmi says:

      There are pressure sensitive tablets out there. Do some googling of the (stock) trading industry, they started using these back when I supported CBOE traders 15 years ago. I think the main player is, unfortunately, Dell… but they are out there.

    • ThinkerTDM says:

      It’s all about marketing. If you spread out all the innovative ideas over a period of time, you will make more than one model with everything. And any corporation- Apple included- wants to make money, more than providing people with cool electronics. If they could sell you a box with poop in it for $700, they would.

  8. Bativac says:

    I released my children’s book, Buddy and Bird, on the iPad, and I find it to be almost a superior experience to reading the printed version of the book. The colors are bright and you don’t have to worry about losing your copy, scuffing it up, etc. I think the iPad is fantastic for things like picture books. It gets small children engaged in reading, which is difficult given all the other distractions kids face.

    I guess this isn’t really a “hack” but that’s my iPad commentary.

  9. Beeker26 says:

    Or do the best thing: sell it on eBay and be rid of the Apple taint.

  10. Macgyver says:

    The iPad sucks. You can get a good notebook for the same amount of money, or less money then the cost of an iPad, that has a physical keyboard, flash, has more functionality, and you can do just about anything on it.

    • bluecoyote says:

      You’re comparing an entirely different form factor and class of device.

      What notebook that is comparably priced has a full day of battery life, is instant-on, and can be carried in one hand and used entirely with the other and has tens of thousands of applications written specifically for that form factor?

      • Macgyver says:

        The Lenovo IdeaPad. About the same price, has way more features, bigger hdd, more RAM, user replaceable battery, real keyboard, etc. And the main thing is, it has a full OS. And hundred of thousands of programs.

        • AntiNorm says:

          But it isn’t made by Apple.

        • bluecoyote says:

          It’s also about 4x as thick, gets 1/4th of the battery life. The screen suffers from poor viewing angles. The software Lenovo loaded with it isn’t even made anymore. Oh, and Endgadget described its real-world performance as “sluggish.”

          But that’s just the icing on the cake. The real point is that neither that “full OS” nor those hundreds of thousands of programs were made for use with a touchscreen, which is why the iPad is selling well and its ecosystem doing well, and the IdeaPad isn’t.

          Next time try using an iPad before determining that “it sucks” and it may save you from missing the point completely.

          • Macgyver says:

            “It’s also about 4x as thick, gets 1/4th of the battery life.”
            Removable battery. And you need room for the parts.

            “The screen suffers from poor viewing angles.”
            Just like every other kind of screen.

            “The software Lenovo loaded with it isn’t even made anymore.”
            So what. Windows 7 already has touch screen software built into the OS.

            “Oh, and Endgadget described its real-world performance as “sluggish.”
            That’s cause their Apple fanboys, and secretly in love with Steve.

            “The real point is that neither that “full OS” nor those hundreds of thousands of programs were made for use with a touchscreen”
            Your finger is the mouse, so they will work on a touch screen, if they don’t, you have the option to use the keyboard and mouse.

            Just admit it, the iPad is harsheet.

        • Mr_Human says:

          i have an IdeaPad and it’s a POS. But these arguments are similar to the ones you’d hear after netbooks came on the market. “Why spend the money on a netbook? For a little more you can get [insert great specs here]. It’s about usage needs, not specs.

    • mmmsoap says:

      You can buy a lot of things for the same price, but that doesn’t mean they do what you want them to. There is some significant overlap in the capabilities of a laptop and an iPad, but they’re not not intended to be interchangable. Less apples and oranges, more apples and pear. Different things, even though you can put both in a pie for tasty, tasty results.

    • Mike says:

      I agree with you. The example I use is the Lenovo S10-3t. It is a ten inch tablet with a multitouch screen. You can sit down and curl up with it and read Kindle books, use all kinds of touch programs and media, use the built-in webcam to expose yourself to strangers on chat roulette, surf the web with flash and all. It also has a user-replaceable battery so although it may not have as long of battery life as an iPad, you can have a spare battery for $30.

      Certainly it is not as shiny as an iPad, and you can’t play any of those awesome iOS games like “Tap the screen furiously” or “Move and shake your iDevice all around and try not to drop it” but if you are looking for an alternative to the iPad that can also function as a laptop it is a good choice.

      The Ubuntu community has a great thread about installing Ubuntu Linux on it giving you the ultimate in terms of OS flexibility. If I were to spend $500 on such a device, that is the direction I would go.

    • tinmanx says:

      I got my iPad for the unlimited data so I can stream Netflix or whatever. It’s not unlimited data anymore, but I got it before they had the 2GB cap and I’m grandfathered in.

  11. MamaBug says:

    Does it help with my whole swatting-flies with it issue?

  12. Mike says:

    I just have one request of Apple when it comes to the upgrade to iOS 4: Please allow people to downgrade iOS after an upgrade just in case something goes wrong. Upgrades sometimes break things, it happens.

    I have been trying to fix an iPod touch for a relative that has a firmware issue. I would love to be able to just click on a menu and downgrade back to an earlier version of iOS, but instead I have had to go through this convoluted process I found on lifehacker.

    I’m not asking for much, just a little ability to manipulate the software in a meaningful way. Oh and widgets would be nice. I get sports scores, weather, news and stock prices in one glance when I turn on my android phone thanks to widgets. (Wadgets had potential, but Apple rejected it in their app store.

    Oh and live wallpapers? I have a koi pond that lets me feed fish with icons that I like on my android, it would look even better on the iPad.

    But really all i want is the ability to downgrade the iOS to an earlier version just in case something goes wrong.

    -The computer geek who is always asked by friends and family members to fix their stuff.

    • El_Red says:

      Then wait. Soon there’s Playpad (by Blackberry) and Samsung’s Android based somethingPad are coming out.

      • Mike says:

        Yeah, I would never buy an iPad for myself. I am just tired of my relatives and friends coming to me for help only to find out the Apple doesn’t let me do anything meaningful with the OS in terms of installation. I wish restore were a true restore, where I could wipe the contents, system files and all, and replace them. Instead restore only deletes changes made. So, I have an iPod touch that has corrupt firmware, and I have no way of restoring the firmware. With MP3 players I have fixed in the past that had corrupt firmware I simply hooked them up to my Linux box, wiped them out, then re-installed the firmware. Can’t do that with an Apple product and that sucks.

        To be honest if I were to get a 10 inch device I would get a Lenovo S10-3t. That way I could have both a small, multi-touch multimedia device, that I could then use as a proper laptop whenever I wanted.

        But again, I just want to be able to downgrade iOS on demand.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          Apple does it because if it were easy to do what you wanted, your relatives would’ve bricked their devices a long time ago.

          Never underestimate people’s ability to brick their hardware if you give them opportunities to do so.

          It sucks that some of the processes are convoluted– yes. It just happens to be how Apple approaches keeping people from destroying their own devices. Google says, “Be free!” That’s great for you. Not so great for most people, who don’t even know what their OS version is.

          Also, the live wallpapers are cool– had it on an EVO. But it did hurt my battery life.

    • s0s has a chewy nougat center says:

      What is this koi pond? That sounds like a horrifically distracting and engaging time-waster, and therefore I must have it.

      • Mike says:

        There are several Koi pond wallpapers for Android. The one I use is aniPet Koi Live Wallpaper, but there are so many to choose from. And yes, it is a great way to kill 30 seconds at a time. I just like seeing the fish swim around in the background all the time. One of my home menus is devoid of all icons and widgets just so I can sit there and feed the fish.

    • DowneMixedBoi says:

      You can downgrade using iTunes if your SHSH blobs are saved VIA Tinyumbrella

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I put iOS on my iPhone 3G and found it to be a little sluggish (it’s not Apple’s fault…my phone is getting pretty outdated). I found it extremely easy to downgrade. I’m sure there are tutorials out there.

  13. TBGBoodler says:

    I see the article mentioned putting six apps in the dock, but I made one of them my Settings button (did the same on my iPhone) which makes it accessible from any page.

    Using bookmarklets is very helpful in Safari. I’ve got ‘Find in Page’ and ‘Scroll to End’ saved in my bookmarks. Find them here:

    On the iPad, Safari has a bookmarks bar, making them even easier to use.

  14. Pelonis says:

    Personally I think the Ipod touch, and the Iphone both are are worthless for various reasons. But when Ipad came out, my first thought is finally, this is what apple should have done first instead of the iphone.
    After testing the ipad at the store several dozen times I finally decided to sell my HP pavilion laptop and accessories and buy the ipad.

    Why would I sell an fully functioning laptop to buy an ipad?

    Even after having the ipad for 5 months, I still get 8-10 hours of battery life full use.
    It Always works, and I mean always
    With a bluetooth keyboard I can type letters and such
    It Always works, and I mean always
    Ibooks is real nice to use to read with, and the size of the Ipad is about the size of a hardback book
    It Always works, and i mean always
    I can check my email
    It Always works, and I mean always
    It doesn’t have any type of windows at all, (I loved win98 and winxp but hate the rest)
    If I want to play a game, I use my xbox, or even some of the surprisingly good games for ipad
    Did I mention that it always works?

    • Pelonis says:

      PS: Yea, what is with the apple bashing? Im seeing a lot of opinion and junk in Consumerist posts lately, too much spin and not enough fact.

      • tinmanx says:

        Apple needs some bashing and critics to keep them on their toes. Look at the whole app store, they were a tyrant (monopolist? child?) with their third party development policy until the revolt (well, a small one, and even the government was looking into it). Development tools help make developer’s lives easier, without developers, the iPhone won’t be where it is now. But it took a (small) revolt and lots and lots of press time to make Apple see the light.

        I see Apple bashing as a good thing, it makes Apple better.

  15. TBGBoodler says:

    It always works and you don’t have to wait for it to boot up.

  16. humphrmi says:

    Safari doesn’t support tabbed browsing? Really? Wow, I didn’t know that. Glad I don’t let the stupid Apple update agent install it on my computers. What, is it 2005 in Cupertino? Cool, I have some stocks I want to buy.

    • Caged Wisdom says:

      I’m not sure about the version of Safari that comes with the iPad, but the regular version of Safari definitely supports tabbed browsing.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Safari on iPad does support tabbed browsing – the gripe noted in the post above was about how users could open new tabs.

  17. Vandil says:

    It’s October. Anyone who has really wanted an iPad has gotten one and has figured out how to use it by now. This is a useless, filler article.

  18. DowneMixedBoi says:

    Favorite hack = Jailbreak


  19. DowneMixedBoi says:

    Oh yeah,

    4.2 is going to change the way people look at the iPad.

    I am running 4.2 beta 3 and it has changed my negative perception I had twords the iPad.

    I honestly thought my iPad was a waste of money running 3.2.2

    • The cake is a lie! says:

      The fact that I can’t multi task on my iPad pisses the hell out of me. I should be able to listen to Pandora while surfing the web. I should be able to do a lot of things this $600 paperweight doesn’t let me do. I bought one because I needed the portable funcationality of some of the apps, but you better believe that as soon as the Android tablets running 2.2 come out that this piece of shit will be on eBay. I get use out of it, but it is way more money than what it should be for what it does. Apple fan boys get a hard on everytime they see anything with that half eaten apple on the back, but guess what… Mine has a little green android EATING THAT FRACKING APPLE! lol

  20. lunasdude says:

    “much of which involves subverting the clunky interface” Are you kidding me?
    I have used everything from Linux to OS X, every variation of windows all the way back to 3.0, OS/2 warp and of all of those systems and interfaces I would hardly call the iPads “clunky” by any stretch of the imagination!
    Maybe Phil used a different iOS version than I did or perhaps he hates touch based systems.
    While there are some good tips in the article he references his overall tone in the article leads me to believe that Consumerist may well be heading down the Path the Cnet did with Molly Wood (cnet talent) leading the Apple hatred charge all of this year (though it seems to be waning a bit).
    I’m ok with equal criticism of all company’s products but with Apple’s success it seems they have become a HUGE target for haters.
    If that’s the case then I will have to look elsewhere for my Consumer news.

  21. guspaz says:

    With brilliant tips such as “To mute the iPad, turn down the volume all the way”, you know they’re good!

    More seriously, this is a pretty useless article, and doesn’t really contain anything in the way of actual tips or tricks.

  22. jenjenjen says:

    My favorite hack of the iPad is that I haven’t HAD to hack it. I support openness in principle, but personally I’m not that interested in digging under the hood. I am looking forward to an OS that will enable multitasking so that I can go look something up while writing and not have to find my document again every time. And there are a few sites I use that don’t work right in Mobile Safari. But overall, it’s been a super device and for once I really do not regret jumping at a first-gen tech product. After my camera, it’s the best thing I’ve bought in a decade.

  23. Bagumpity says:

    Best tip so far: Don’t buy one. For the price of one iPad, you can purchase four decent netbooks or one high-range touch-enabled netbook/pad that lets you actually “own” your computer, install the software and operating systems YOU want to run on it, and has a mute button and (in the non-“pad” options) doesn’t cost beaux coup extra for a keyboard.

    Best mute button for an iPad is a hammer. Apply directly to center of screen.

  24. The cake is a lie! says:

    Why do you think people hate on Apple products? It isn’t because they are the greatest things in the world. The reason people hate on them is because they are overpriced and really not that great, but people make it sound like every new piece of technology from Apple is the second coming of Christ. It’s not that great and people make too much of a deal over it. So since it is easier to just poke fun at the products than to stay silent and just endure people masturbating all over their shiny ipads and iphones and whatever else they want to throw a lowercase i in front of, people are going to take shots at you. Get over it. You have overpriced stuff that someone has convinced you is the best thing ever. You are blind to the fact that it is not better just because it is first or even because it is unique. Stop trying to compare your Apple tech to everything else out there and trying to convince everybody that yours is bigger.

    iPhones are toys. iPads are toys. iPods are toys. They are just toys, people. Even Mac computers are toys. There is a reason only 10% of computer users are on a Mac. Their toys are so popular in the media and phone world because WE LIKE TOYS. Stop trying to believe we like them because they are awesome business tools or simply the best thing out there. Best is entirely relative and some of you have lost all perspective. You just defend Apple because it is fashionable to like Apple stuff. Next you’ll be defending $600 sandals just because some famous designer is on the label.

  25. Gravitational Eddy says:

    They went *national* on Friday, lots of new places to buy them, including Walmart and Sam’s Club.
    I had to have one, and immediately discovered that I’m no longer going to need that Toshiba dual core laptop I also had to have last year. Bootup takes 1 second and battery life is every bit as lengthy as they describe, so far i havent seen it fall below 6 hours left…
    I would advise everyone who buys it to download and read the Apple IPAD .pdf book.
    (I had to dowload a free book reader then transfer the .pdf to the IPAD in order to read it.)
    There’s so many things they don’t tell you about the IPAD, that even if you haven’t bought it yet, download the Apple site .pdf and read the manual first. It will answer questions you didn’t even know you had.