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10 clever things you never knew your iPad could do

iPads are everywhere now. Workers carry them around offices, patrons order food on iPads in restaurants, and even entire stores have traded their cash registers for iPads. The flagship Apple tablet isn’t just a novelty item for watching movies on the sofa, it has become a major workhorse that continues to transform our domestic and professional lives.

Add the power of Siri, and your iPad becomes a full-on virtual assistant, especially with a few little-known features.

For those of us who already have iPads, there are tons of hidden tricks that make owning this magical little gadget even more fun – no apps required. These shortcuts can accelerate your workflow, enhance your browsing, and protect your privacy, all with a few taps of your fingers.

While you’re fiddling with your device, you may also want to make sure it’s clear of malware, since even Apple devices are susceptible.

Whether you use your iPad for work or play, you won’t want to miss these handy iPad secrets.

1. Scroll faster and easier

One of the biggest differences between a tablet and a traditional laptop is the lack of “mouse.” Your finger is clumsy compared to a trackpad, which gives you surgical precision on the screen.

Editing text can be tedious on the iPad, but fortunately, Apple has enabled “trackpad mode” for the first time on iOS 12. With trackpad mode, you can quickly scroll through text that you’ve typed and instantly jump from the top to the bottom of a page (or vice versa).

To enable trackpad mode, hold the space bar down on the keyboard until all the keys go gray. As long as you don’t remove your finger, you can quickly scroll through the entirety of your content.

2. Secret setting extends battery life

iPads are known for maintaining long battery life, but sometimes you’ll notice an abrupt drain. This annoyance usually happens because of apps that run in the background and continue to use data and power.

While it can be useful to have Apple’s “Background App Refresh” downloading and preparing the latest updates to your Twitter timeline, turning the feature off can help you save critical battery life for when you need it most.

To disable the Background App Refresh, navigate to your Settings app, and select General. Then, select Background App Refresh and turn the feature off from the top. Your apps may take a few seconds longer to load when you first open them, but the extra battery life is well worth that nominal wait.

3. Hide private photos from view

When families get together and trade photos, they often pass around an iPad. But we might not want everyone to see all of our business in one place. Thankfully, there’s a way to instantly hide your private photos by default into an album that’s separate from your current camera roll.

To hide photos, open your Photos app and tap Select in the upper right-hand corner. Next, tap the photos you want to hide and select the Share button from the bottom left of the screen (it looks like a box with an arrow coming out). Select Hide from the menu that appears at the bottom of your screen.

Now, your photos are hidden in a separate album for you to access at your convenience.

4. Go instantly to the top of any webpage

This one is simple: When you’re neck-deep in a website, tap the title bar of the app or web page. This one motion will send you zooming right back to the top.

Since it was designed to make browsing easier, all you need to do is touch the black bar at the top of your display (where the time shows), and you’ll find yourself at the very beginning. Nice.

5. Scan documents like a pro

Scanners have largely disappeared, and most of us say, “Good riddance.” Unless you work in an office environment, you probably won’t need to use one again thanks to the Notes app on your iPad.

If you have something that needs to be scanned, you can use your iPad’s camera to take a photo of your document and add it directly to your Notes. You’ll never need to use a separate scanning app. Notes works.

To use it, open the Notes app and tap the plus button in the bottom center of the display. Then, choose Scan Documents. Also, options like black and white, grayscale, or color can help make the document stand out for easier reading whether it’s typed, handwritten, or printed.

6. Show two apps at once on your screen

One of the iPad’s biggest successes recently has been its ability to multitask apps. All this means is that your tablet can run more than one app side by side.

To start, open the Home Screen of your iPad and make sure both apps you want to use are stored in the Dock at the bottom center of the screen. Then, open the first app you want to use.

From the bottom of the display, swipe up to reveal the Dock again. Then, tap and hold the icon of the second app you wish to use.

While continuing to hold on to the app icon, drag it into either the right or left side of the display. This will open the app right next to the first one.

One more step: To even the screen-space each app is taking, touch and drag the dividing line between the two apps towards the center of the screen.

Now, you can get more power out of your device with much less effort than it takes to keep switching apps. Your fingers will thank you.

7. Type like you do on your phone

The iPad’s size is one of its biggest strengths, but we don’t always want to set it on our lap or on a desk to type. What if we could type with our thumbs like on a smartphone?

By default, you can easily split the keyboard of the iPad, so each side retreats to the bottom corners of the device. This makes it possible to type with your thumbs as if your iPad was a giant smartphone.

To split your keyboard, hold the keyboard icon on the bottom right of the screen until a menu pops up. Without lifting your finger from the screen, move it up to Split, and the keyboard will immediately separate. To put it back to normal, the process is the same except you’ll select Merge instead.

8. Charge your iPad faster with this little known tool

It’s no secret that iPads can take a long time to charge. But there’s a reason for this: the battery is massive. iPads require this large core in order to power that gorgeous display properly.

Even still, there is a way to get your iPad in fighting shape much faster than usual. Apple’s USB-C charging block is designed for its laptops, but with a lightning adapter, your iPad can enjoy increased charging speeds with zero additional effort.

Have somewhere to go? Just drop your iPad on the USB-C charger and give it a go. You’ll be back to green in no time.

The USB-C charging accessory can be found on, as well as the compatible Lightning adapter.

9. Show others what you’re doing on your screen

Sometimes, sharing what you’re doing with your friends and loved ones goes beyond a simple photo or screenshot. Let’s say you’re playing a game on Facebook like Words With Friends and you really want to show your family across the country your winning epic combination. A photo isn’t going to cut it. What you want is a screen recording.

Luckily, iOS12 gives you the ability to record your screen by default.

On your iPad, swipe down from the upper right corner of the display to bring up the Control Center. Then, tap the icon shaped like a target. Then, hit Start Recording. While you’re recording, a red band will appear at the top of your screen so you’ll know if you’re recording. To stop, tap the red bar and hit Stop.

10. Search like a pro

Did you know your iPad comes with a built-in search engine that can help you locate anything stored on your device or the cloud?

To access the Spotlight tool, touch the center of your display, and pull down. You’ll see a menu appear with a search bar, Siri Suggestions of apps to use, and some recommendations based on previous activity. From here, type to search for your query, and touch the results to open them.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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