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5 tips to help navigate and manage your iPad

Here is a handful of tips to help new users get comfortable with the iPad.

If the iPad is your first tablet, there is bound to be an adjustment period, as you move from a PC or laptop--something with a keyboard--to the iPad's touch screen and iOS. To help you navigate these tablet waters, I present five quick tips that will have you swiping, scrolling, and tapping efficiently and effectively.

Lock the screen orientation
Within the first few minutes of using an iPad, you'll likely experience the iPad tango of turning and tilting the display to return the screen to your desired orientation. The slightest motion can cause the screen to rotate from portrait to landscape and back. To prevent this from happening, you can reassign the side switch of the iPad 2 above the volume control from its default mute function to lock the screen. To do so, tap the Settings icon, and under General, look for the "Use Side Switch to" header and tap Lock Rotation. The check mark will then move from Mute to the Lock Rotation line. Don't worry, there is still a quick way to mute the volume, as Jason Cipriani covers here.

You can set the Side Switch to either mute or lock the screen rotation. Matt Elliott

Switch apps fast with the fast app switcher
To quickly access an app while using another, double click the Start button to access the fast app switcher, a dock that opens at the bottom of the screen. Swiping right to left, you can scroll through the apps you have open. This saves you from having to return to the home screen to open another app.

Double-click the Start button to bring up the fast app switcher. Matt Elliott

You might notice fairly soon that nearly every app on your iPad is listed in the fast app switcher, which greatly slows down the fast-app-switching process. To get rid of an app listed, tap and hold an app until the red minus-sign icon appears in the upper-left corner to delete it. (Deleting it from the fast app switcher does not delete it from your your iPad.) You might also find that closing apps from the fast app switcher improves battery life, though results may vary.

Access iPod controls from the fast app switcher
Open up the fast app switcher, but instead of swiping right to left to access your app, swipe left to right to access the iPod controls. Here, you can play/pause, rewind, fast forward, and adjust the volume. You can also adjust the display brightness. And as Jason Cipriani points out in his post on the subject, you can also mute the volume or lock the screen rotation, depending on how you have your side switch configured.

Audio and brightness controls can also be accessed from the fast app switcher. Matt Elliott

Rise to the top with the status bar
If you find yourself at the bottom of a very long document or Web page and want to quickly return to the top, you don't need to furiously swipe downwards to claw your way back to the start. Just tap the status bar, the black bar that runs across the top of the screen that shows you the time, network connection status, and battery life remaining. And if you are in an app that supports columns, you can click the status bar above a specific column to return to its top. For example, the mail app in landscape mode, you can tap above the list of e-mails in your inbox to see the most recent at its top, or tap above the reading pane on the right to return to the top of the e-mail you're reading.

Create icon on the home screen
You can bookmark a Web page in Safari on the iPad, but that then requires you to open Safari first and find your way to your bookmarks list. For even more-favored Web pages, you can add an icon to your iPad's home screen. Tap the icon to the left of the address bar in Safari, and then tap the Add to Home Screen button. You'll be able to edit the name of it, and an icon will be created for you.

Adding an app to the home screen is as easy as creating a bookmark for it in Safari. Matt Elliott