25 essential iPad mini tips
Use these tricks, tips and tools to get the most out of Apple's tiny tablet.
Part of the's appeal is its simplicity -- just switch it on and go -- but there's plemty more to explore if you dig a little deeper.
Whether you've treated yourself to a new iPad mini or came across one underneath the Christmas tree, you should find these tricks and tools useful in helping you get more out of Apple's latest tablet. Many of these tips can also be applied to other devices running iOS, including the iPad mini's .
1. Sync Facebook contacts and events
Sign into the world's biggest social network from the Facebook page in Settings and you have the option to import events and birthdays into the Calendar app, and your friends' details into Contacts. You'll also be able to post status updates from the Notification Centre.
2. Accents and special characters
Tap and hold on any keyboard letter to bring up accents and other variations.
3. Turn off 'Sent from my iPad'
By default the iPad mini appends 'Sent from my iPad' to the end of your emails. Deactivate this via Mail, Contacts, Calendars in Settings, or tap the Signature option to clear or change the message.
4. Audio equalizer
The iPad mini includes a variety of audio equalizer settings for changing the sound of your music. You can find it on the Music screen in Settings.
5. Take a screenshot
Snap whatever's on your screen by pressing the Sleep/Wake button and Home button together.
6. Start the countdown
Hidden away in the Clock app is a Timer feature you might not know about -- you'll find it handy whenever you need an accurate countdown.
7. Switch search engines
Tap Safari in Settings to change the default search engine when you run queries within the browser or from the Spotlight Search screen.
8. Turn your iPad mini into a Kindle
9. Add a keyboard
Typing for extended periods of time can be a struggle on the iPad mini. If you're composing a lengthy email, or your next novel, invest in a compact Bluetooth keyboard -- you'll find a wide selection online.
10. Reset your iPad mini
A reset is like a PC reboot and can fix numerous errors and crashes without losing your apps and data. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button together for at least 10 seconds until you see the Apple logo appear.
11. Make your own wallpaper
You can load any image in your Photo Stream as a background via Brightness & Wallpaper in Settings. Set your source image as 1,024x768 pixels for a perfect fit.
12. App folders
If you're new to iOS you might not know you can create folders of apps. Tap and hold on an app then drag it on top of another one to create a folder. Tap, hold and drag other apps to move them to the same location. Folders can be a useful alternative to having to swipe through multiple home screens.
13. Dock apps
The dock at the bottom of the home screen has four apps by default but you can have up to six -- tap and hold an app, then drag it down to the dock.
14. Experiment with Siri
Siri is Apple's voice-operated assistant tool and you can call it into action by pressing and holding the Home button. Try asking Siri when your next meeting is or how to get home, or tell it to queue up all the blues music on your iPad mini.
15. Share via Twitter
Sign into Twitter via the Settings app and you can share all kinds of content from all kinds of apps straight to your profile, as well as tweet from the Notification Centre.
16. Read websites offline
Choose Add to Reading List from the share button in Safari (to the left of the URL bar) and you can cache websites for offline reading (in the garden or on a plane, perhaps).
17. Attachment options
Tap and hold an attachment file in Mail and you'll be shown all the installed apps that can open it.
18. Mute or lock
The switch above the volume controls can mute your iPad mini or lock it to the current orientation (landscape or portrait). Head to the General page in Settings to change its function. Another way of muting your iPad mini is to hold the volume down button for a couple of seconds.
19. Bring back alerts
iOS now eschews pop-up windows in favour of a more discreet, Android-style notifications bar. To bring pop-up alerts back for a certain app -- Gmail, for example -- head to Notifications in Settings. Tap the app name and switch the alert style from 'Banners' to 'Alerts'.
20. Pin websites to the home screen
In Safari tap the share button, and from there you can pin any link to the home screen for easy access.
If you're having difficulty picking something out on screen, head to the Accessibility page from the General tab of Settings. Turn Zoom on and you can double tap three fingers in any app to zoom in; then drag three fingers to pan around.
Double tap on the Home button to bring up recently used apps. Swipe right to see more apps, or left to see music/podcast controls and volume and brightness sliders.
23. Use your iPad mini as a picture frame
Turn your little iPad into a picture frame by tapping the flowerpot icon on the lock screen. To change the picture slideshow settings, visit Picture Frame in Settings.
24. Protect your data
You may have put a lock code on your iPad mini, but you can also tell the device to erase all of its data if the code is incorrectly entered 10 times in a row. The Erase Data option is on the Passcode Lock menu under General in Settings. Probably not recommended for those with children.
25. Find your iPad mini
Use Find My iPad to locate your tablet if it's stolen or simply lost under a sofa. You'll need to activate the feature via the iCloud screen in Settings, then head to www.icloud.com to check the location of your device. You can make your iPad mini play a sound or even erase all of its data remotely. An active data or Wi-Fi connection will be required for the mini to be able to report its location.