Tablets

7 settings new iPad owners should change right now

Tweak these settings for a better tablet experience.

ipad-settings.jpg

Meet the Settings menu. It's your new best friend.

New iPad? It's a pretty easy device to use, but certain aspects can be confusing. For example, if you also have an iPhone, don't be surprised if your new tablet suddenly starts ringing the next time you get a phone call.

That's a feature, not a flaw, but you may prefer to keep your calls away from your iPad. So consider changing that setting, along with these six others:

1. Disable phone calls

Sure, it might prove handy to answer a phone call on your iPad, especially if your iPhone is charging in the other room. On the other hand, who wants that kind of interruption when you're watching a video, playing a game or whatever?

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Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Fortunately, it's very easy to disable this feature: Go to Settings > FaceTime and tap the toggle switch to turn off Calls from iPhone.

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2. Enable Find My iPad

iPads don't tend to go missing as often as iPhones, but loss and theft can happen. That's why it's essential to make sure the Find My iPad option is enabled. By default it should be, but check anyway -- and then make sure you know the finer points of using the feature.

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Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

For starters, go to Settings > iCloud, then scroll down to Find My iPad. If it's not already set to On, tap the setting and then switch the toggle. At the same time, consider enabling Send Last Location, which will automatically transmit (to iCloud) the iPad's current location when its battery is critically low.

So, how do you actually locate your missing iPad? If you have an iPhone, you can use the Find My iPhone app. Alternately, if you have access to a PC, sign into your iCloud.com account, then access Find My iPhone from there. Both methods have one limitation: Your iPad must be online in order to share its location, play a sound, enter Lost Mode or get remotely erased. So try your best to lose your tablet while the battery's still charged.

3. Add more fingers to Touch ID

All newer iPads incorporate Touch ID, the fingerprint sensor that makes for fast and easy lock-screen security. And when you first set up your tablet, you probably trained Touch ID to recognize one of your fingers.

Just one problem: Sometimes you want to use other fingers. Like, say, the thumb on your other hand, or an index finger when the tablet is laying on a table.

Fortunately, iOS can accommodate up to five fingers. All you have to do is train it to recognize more. To do so, tap Settings > Touch ID & Passcode, then enter your numeric passcode. Now tap Add a Fingerprint and follow the prompts. Repeat the process for any additional fingers you want to add.

4. Use the numeric battery gauge

Want to know exactly how much battery life is left? By default, your iPad shows you only a small gauge -- not super informative.

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Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Here's the fix: Tap Settings > Battery, then turn on Battery Percentage. Presto! Now you've got a numeric reading alongside your battery icon.

5. Tweak the size of text

iPads have big screens, so why not make text easier to read? You can do that by adjusting the size of the system font.

Here's how: Tap Settings > Display & Brightness > Text Size. Then drag the slider a few ticks to the right until you're happy with the size. Needless to say, you can also decrease the font size by dragging in the other direction. Whatever works best for your eyeballs!

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Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

As noted on that settings page, this change will affect only those apps that support Dynamic Type (meaning stock iOS apps and a smattering of others). You can also improve readability by tapping Settings > General > Accessibility and enabling the Bold Text option.

6. Add more apps to the dock

If you're an iPhone user, you know that you can "pin" up to four apps to the bottom of the screen -- the dock -- where they remain visible as you swipe through your app pages. Out of the box, the iPad works in a similar way, with four omnipresent apps down there.

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What's this? Six apps on the iPad dock? Yep, it can be done.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

But guess what? The iPad dock actually has room for six apps. Just tap and hold an icon until all the icons start to dance, then drag that icon down to the dock and release. If you want, drag another app to the dock. Press the Home button when you're done.

7. Customize the Today display

When you swipe down from the top of the screen (starting just above the top), you gain immediate access to the iOS Notification Center, where you can read, review and dismiss notifications you've received.

You can also tap Today for quick access to information from a wide assortment of apps. Here's how to choose what information you'll see -- and the order it'll appear in:

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Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Swipe down, tap Today, scroll down to the bottom and tap Edit. The items at the top are already selected for the Today screen. All the items below that are available to add. Just tap the green plus sign next to the ones you want.

To change the order in which they appear, tap and drag one of the "handles" (represented by three horizontal lines) and drop it in the desired spot. Then tap Done. Now you'll see the Today screen with all the items you enabled and in the order you put them. Tap Edit again if you want to make further changes.

And that's it! Now it's your turn: hit the comments and list any iPad setting changes you consider essential.


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Editor's note: This post was originally published June 23, 2016 and has since been updated.