If you're new to iPad or just curious about how to get the most out of your device and how we recommend using it, this article will provide some best practices and hopefully answer some of your questions. To begin, check out this quick tutorial video: iPad Tutorial

Have a Passcode

Protect sensitive information on your device by having a passcode or using the Touch ID feature available on newer iPads. You will be prompted to set up a Passcode and Touch ID when going through the initial configuration of your device, but if you skipped these steps, you can always go back through the set up process. 

To do so, navigate to the Settings app > Touch ID & Passcode > tap “Turn Passcode On” > input and repeat and six-digit passcode that you’ll remember > that’s it for for a Passcode. 

If you would like to use the convenience of Touch ID, stay on this screen and tap the “Add a Fingerprint…” option under the Fingerprints section. You will then be taken through a tutorial on how to add your fingerprint to the Touch ID feature. Adding both thumbs to the Touch ID is common in most cases. 

Create an Apple ID

An Apple ID is required to download apps, install iOS updates, and numerous other functions on an iPad. You can create an Apple ID when you’re going through the initial set-up process, or after your iPad is set up by going here

If you have a personal Apple ID, we recommend creating a new Apple ID with your work email. This will decrease storage usage by having fewer apps and photos, and also keep your work and personal data separate.

Name your iPad 

Adding your name to your iPad will help identify it when interacting with other devices. It will also help your IT department identify your iPad if they’re using mobile device management (MDM) software. 

To name your iPad, open the Settings app > General > About > Name > add your device's name here, e.g. “Kevin’s iPad”. 

Practice Good Battery Health

Practicing good battery health will not only prolong the usage you get out of your iPad out in the field, but also increase the lifespan and viability of your device. Below are a couple tips on how to do this: 

  • Don’t leave your device in extreme conditions. Extreme hot and cold can both drain your battery and cause permanent damage. Avoid leaving your device in your vehicle, especially on the dash on a hot day, or outside for an extended period of time. 
  • Don’t overcharge the battery. Keeping your iPad plugged in and charging for an extended period of time can be damaging to the battery. Try to only keep your iPad plugged while it’s actually charging. It’s ok to leave an iPad plugged in overnight or throughout the day, but try not to go multiple days charging. 
  • Don’t keep too many background apps running concurrently. This tip will play into various iPad best practices, but closing apps you’re not currently using will reduce the overall usage of your device. To close apps, simply double-click the home button which will bring up the app switcher > swipe up on the app(s) you would like to close > once you’re done click the home button again to exit the app switcher view. 

Keep your Apps and iOS Updated

Having an out-of-date version of iOS or apps can reduce functionality and cause issues. Avoid having these issues by keeping your iOS and apps updated. For most app updates, you should see the red number badge on the App Store app icon alerting you to an available update. 

Simply open the App Store app > tap the “Updates” section along the bottom of the screen > tap “Update” next to the app(s) you would like to update, or tap “Update All” to start the update process for every app update that’s available. 

You’ll be alerted to iOS updates through the Settings app. Many times you’ll see a red number badge on the Settings app, but often times iOS updates should be checked for manually. 

To check for iOS updates, open the Settings app > tap General > Software Update > if any updates are available they will show here > install the new iOS version by tapping “Download and Install”. 

We recommend waiting until the first or second version update (i.e. iOS 11.0.1 or 11.0.2) to download the new software. It gives Apple the time to fix any major bugs with the initial release, so your device doesn't get compromised with any larger issues.

Lock Screen Orientation

If you’re using an iPad out on the field, locking the screen orientation how you like it can save you time by not hassling with your screen.  

To lock your screen orientation, set your screen orientation how you would like it > double-click the Home button to bring up the quick-access menu (you can also access the menu by sliding your finger up from the bottom of the device) > tap the lock & arrow icon (the lock & arrow should turn red) > now your screen will remain in this orientation. 

We recommend locking your screen orientation in landscape mode with the Home button on the right. This puts your camera in the optimal position for taking pictures while in landscape orientation. Also, the Spex field app is automatically set to landscape.

Increase Screen Brightness

Working outside in the sun can make it hard to see things on an iPad screen. Combat this by increasing the screen brightness on your device. There are two ways to do this. 

First, double-click the Home button to access the quick-access menu > find the brightness setting represented by a sun > slide your finger up and down this setting section to adjust the brightness. 

Second, open the Settings app > navigate to Display & Brightness > adjust the brightness by sliding left and right on the brightness bar at the top of the page. 

Remove Unnecessary Apps

iPads come with pre-installed apps, many of which you may never use. If you find yourself not using an app, most apps can be deleted by holding your finger down on the app icon until the app begins to shake, and an ‘X’ appears on the top-left of the icon. Simply tap the X to remove the icon from your device. 

Be Aware of Storage Usage

Track your storage usage by opening the Settings app > selecting General > iPad Storage > here you can see how much storage you’re currently using, how much you have remaining, and an app by app breakdown of how much storage capacity each one uses. 

This will allow you to see if an app is using up a considerable amount of storage. Most commonly, this app will be Photos. For help deleting photos from your Spex photo album to free up space, check out this article

Be Aware of Open Apps and Active Memory Usage

Having too many apps open at one time can slow down your iPad and decrease batter performance. 

To close apps, double-click the home button which will bring up the app switcher/quick-access menu > swipe up on the app(s) you would like to close > once you’re done click the home button again to exit the app switcher view. 

It’s recommended to do this exercise regularly, especially if your iPad appears to be running slow. Closing apps this way can also help resolve issues you’ve been having with apps. 

Manage your Alerts, Notifications, and Widgets

Too many alerts and notifications can be distracting and interfere with work. Manage which Alerts and Notifications appear, how they appear, and when by opening the Settings app > Notifications > tap on each app listed and choose how you would like to receive notifications from this app, or disallow notifications altogether. 

Widgets are another form of notification that can be useful but should be reduced down to the most useful. To manage your Widgets, swipe left from the main screen of your iPad > you should see a list of different Widgets, scroll to the bottom of this list and tap Edit > here you can add and remove Widgets. We recommend keeping the following Widgets: Batteries, Calendar, and Weather. 

Organize your App Icons 

Keep your most used and important apps handy by adding them to the front page of your iPad, or in the Doc. 

To rearrange your apps, tap and hold an app until it starts to shake > once the app is shaking, relocate it by holding down the app with your finger and dragging it to its new position. You can add your most important apps (Settings, App Store, Safari, etc.) to the Dock at the bottom of your iPad by dragging the app down to the Dock. 

Group similar apps in Folders by dragging one app over another when relocating, which will group the apps together in a Folder. Once a Folder is created, more apps can be added by dragging and dropping them in the Folder. 

Use Voice Dictation to take Notes

Typing notes while standing on a roof or just out on-site can be tough when you're hands are full. As an alternative to typing out your notes, use the Voice Dictation feature available on the iPad keyboard. 

To begin, tap the microphone button on the keyboard > once the keyboard switches to a recording screen, start speaking clearly to take your note > once you're done, tap the microphone button to complete your note > finally, tap the keyboard icon in the bottom-right to be taken back to the keyboard. 

This feature is available anywhere text can be typed on an iPad, including Spex Notes and throughout the Spex field app. 

Use the Apple Pencil 

If you have an iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil can be an extremely useful tool for diagraming, sketching, taking hand-written notes, and annotating photos. Simply remove the cap on your Apple Pencil and plug the adapter into your iPad’s charging port to both sync and charge your Apple Pencil.

Have a Protective Case

Just like your mobile phone, having a protective case on your iPad will help prevent screen cracks and reduce the everyday wear and tear on the device, especially when you're on-site doing inspections. 

At Spex, we use the OtterBox Defender Series case. This case comes with three layers of protection for your iPad and the perfect carrying case for travel. You can find the Defender Series case here


If you have a question or need help with using your iPad, check out Apple's iPad Support page, or click the chat icon in the bottom-right of this page and let us know!

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