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5 tips for using an iPad in your kitchen

Get the most out of Apple's kitchen aid.

The iPad ($273 at Amazon) is a versatile kitchen tool. It can act as cookbook, kitchen timer and unit converter. Here is a handful of tips to make the iPad the most helpful kitchen aid for the holidays -- or any night of the week.

Don't sleep on me, iPad

It's the worst: You're smack in the middle of meal prep -- with messy hands -- and you go to check the next step of the recipe only to find your iPad has shut off. It's a good idea for both battery life and privacy to have your iPad shut itself off after a set period of time, but I would turn off autolock for times when it will spend hours on your kitchen counter.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

To disable autolock, go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock and select Never. Or, if you're worried about your battery life or prying eyes, select 15 minutes.

Now playing: Watch this: How to use an iPad in the kitchen

Get a good timer app

iOS has a built-in timer, but with the turkey in the oven and potatoes, Brussels sprouts and whatever else on the stove, a Thanksgiving feast requires more than a single timer. There are a number of free iPad apps that give you multiple timers. I use the Timer+ app because it lets me label the timers so I know what each alarm means when things are really cooking in my kitchen.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Keep it clean

I don't think you need to run out and buy a new iPad case specifically for kitchen use, but you also don't want it sitting naked on your counter, where it's likely to encounter splashes and spills. If you don't have an iPad stand or a case with a built-in stand, you can take the DIY route and turn a coat hanger into an iPad stand. I've seen people use a ziplock bag as a screen protector -- you can use the touchscreen through the plastic -- but I think such a precaution is more trouble than it's worth. I just wipe the screen clean along with the counters after I've done the dishes.

Keep it cool

What's the expression, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen? I'm more worried about damaging my iPad from kitchen heat than kitchen grease. It sounds obvious but I'll say it anyway: Don't set up your iPad next to your oven or stove, no matter how convenient such a spot may be. Keep it away from heat and open flames. Apple recommends keeping it between 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (0 and 35 degrees Celsius). 

Siri the converter

Siri can help keep your iPad clean. When wondering how many tablespoons are in a cup, for example, instead of tapping away in Safari or the Google search app, ask Siri. With the "Hey Siri" command enabled (Settings > Siri & Search > Listen for "Hey Siri") you can get your answer without needing to touch your iPad.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

For more Thanksgiving tips, learn how to defrost a turkey and how to brine a turkey.