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10 extremely awesome iPad tips and tricks

Think you know all there is to know about your iPad? Think again! Here are 10 little-known and extremely awesome iPad tips and tricks that will help you make even more of your beloved device!
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1 of 11 Stephen Chapman/ZDNet

Introduction

Think you know all there is to know about your iPad? Think again! In this gallery, I will show you some little-known tricks and tips that will get you even more excited about using your iPad. Show these tricks off to friends and family with iPads and leave them astounded in the wake of your awesomeness!

Before we get started, there are a couple of things you need to know:

1: These tricks will only work with iPads that are running iOS 5. If yours isn't, then just know that it's free and easy to install; however, you will need to back up your device beforehand. Simply plug your iPad up to your Mac/PC, run iTunes, then follow the instructions provided!

2: The reason you need iOS 5 is because much of what I cover is only capable in iOS 5. If you have iOS 5 installed (or when you do install it), you need to go ahead and enable multitasking gestures. To do this, simply tap the Settings app, then General, then make sure Multitasking Gestures is set to ON (as pictured above). If it's not, swipe it on! This will allow you to do things like swipe up with four fingers to reveal a multitasking bar, etc. More on that as you proceed through the gallery.

And with that said, let's get started!

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Take a screen shot

This is perhaps the most awesome trick I have to share. Have you ever achieved a top score in a game, experienced a glitch in an app, or encountered some other scenario where you thought to yourself, "Man, I wish I could somehow take a picture of this!" Well, now you'll be able to do just that. Here's how:

Press and hold the on/off button on the upper right-hand side of the iPad, then press the home button. Conversely, you could hold the home button and then press the on/off button to achieve the same result. That's it! You should see your screen go white and, depending on what you have running, hear a sound like you've just taken a picture.

To note, I used this functionality to take every picture you see in this gallery!

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Hiding App Store purchases

If you have a need to hide specific apps that you've purchased in the App Store, it's as simple as a swipe and tap. Here's how:

Open the App Store, click Purchased (at the bottom, amongst Featured, Genius, Top Charts, etc.), find the app you want to hide, swipe either left or right over it, then the greyed-out Installed button will be replaced by a red button that says Hide (as pictured above). Simply tap Hide, then exit the App Store. Give it a minute, then re-open the App Store, return to your Purchased apps section and you will see that the app is now gone!

To unhide them, simply sign into your Apple ID (bottom left-hand side of the App Store), then when viewing your Apple ID, tap on Hidden Purchases under iTunes in the Cloud. Give it time to sync and you should be all set up.

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Multitask tray and its multifunctional uses

Rarely do I meet anyone who is aware of the multitask tray (double-click your home button to see it, or swipe up with 4 fingers on your screen). Even more rare are the people who know everything you can do with it! For this tip, I'm going to show you how to quickly access your music player, volume settings, brightness settings, and more.

To start, bring up your multitask tray (double-click your home button or swipe up with 4 fingers). Once the tray loads, swipe to the right within it. You should then see something similar to what is pictured above. Here, you can adjust your brightness and volume on the fly, as well as have quick access to any music or videos you have playing in the background.

No more exiting an app just to fire up iTunes or Settings!

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Triple-click functionality

You might have known that you can double-click your home button to bring up the multitask tray, but did you know you can configure your home button to perform an action when triple-clicked? Here's how:

Tap the Settings app, then General, then Accessibility, then Triple-click Home, then select from that list (pictured above) what you would like the home button to do when you quickly click it three times in a row! I have mine set to zoom, personally.

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Split the keyboard

For those of you who would prefer to type with thumbs only, you can split your keyboard with extreme ease. Here's how:

Whenever your keyboard comes up, touch both sides of it with your thumbs, then swipe out towards the edges of your iPad with each thumb. That's it! Your keyboard will stay like that for as long as you would like it to. If you'd like to make it one singular keyboard again, simply touch your thumbs on each side of the split keyboard, then swipe your thumbs toward each other.

Conversely, instead of using your thumbs to do this, you can use any two fingers. Spreading your fingers splits the keyboard and pinching them brings the keyboard back together.

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Force-closing apps

I can't tell you how many times Words with Friends starts acting really funky on me or not updating as quickly as I'd like it to. Solution? Kill the app so I can restart it! Here's how:

If you're in the app that's acting up, go ahead and exit to your home screen. Now, bring up your multitask tray by double-clicking the home button or swiping up with four fingers, then long-press on any application you see in the tray. They will all start wiggling and you'll see red circles with hyphens on them (as pictured above). Now, all you do is find the problematic app and tap on the red circle that's on it. You've now successfully killed that app! Simply tap on the app again from wherever you have it residing to restart it.

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Shake your iPad!

I write a lot on my iPad, and sometimes, it would be great to delete a whole sentence or section without having to tap backspace a million times. Oh, what's that? You CAN do this? Why, yes! Here's how:

Shake your iPad! That's all there is to it. If you're in a text editing app, simply shake your iPad and the short menu pictured above will appear. The first time you do it, it will only give you two options. If, however, you've already deleted something, then you can undo the deletion with another shake (which is the menu you see above).

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App groups

I have at least 150 apps on my iPad. Could you imagine how many screens I would have to pan through to get to all of them? Thankfully, you can create app groups that consolidate up to 20 apps into one convenient group (kind of like a folder, basically). It's extremely simple to create these and here's how:

Tap and hold an app. Once you see the icons start jiggling, move the app on top of another app. You will then see something similar to the screen shot above. That's a group! You can name it whatever you would like and place up to 20 apps within it. I have over 80 games, so I have 5 groups named "Games 1," "Games 2," "Games 3," and so on with each containing 20 games. This is a great way to have almost 400 apps on just your home screen alone!

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How to hide Newsstand

As you're most likely aware of, there are some default apps on the iPad that are there to stay. They can't be deleted, but they can all be moved into a group... that is, all but one: Newsstand. Yes, this annoying app (to me, at least) is never used by many iPad users, yet Apple's made it such that you cannot delete it or even put it in a group. Fortunately, there's a bit of a workaround for placing it in a group, though doing as such will make Newsstand lose functionality until removing it from the group (which doesn't matter, because you want it gone in the first place). Here's what you do:

From your home screen, long-press an app to get the apps to jiggle. Once you do this, move the app onto another app, so as to create a group. Now, here's where it gets tricky: as soon as you see the animation of a new group being created, quickly let go of the app you're currently holding, tap on Newsstand, then move it over the new group. It takes a bit of timing and a few tries to get it, but eventually, you will see Newsstand appear within the group (like pictured above).

Since I don't ever use any of the default apps (outside of the App Store, iTunes, and Game Center), I have an app group titled "Default Apps." It's great for keeping all those apps out of sight and out of mind!

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App Store-browsing pro-tip

How many times have you been browsing the App Store based on search results, and about 300-400 apps in, you find an app you want, purchase it, then return to the App Store just to find that it starts you over at result 1 of your search results? All that scrolling and panning that you have to do over and over, it gets extremely annoying. As such, I have a simple-though-effective solution:

As pictured above, let's assume you want to see what "Tap A Tune" is. You click on it to read reviews and any application descriptions. Alright, now that you've done that, let's say you want to purchase the app. Instead of purchasing the app from the app's home screen, go BACK to your search results. They will load just as you left them. Now, see the button above next to "Tap A Tune" that says $2.99? Well, if you purchase an app from this screen (the search results screen like you see above), when you return to the App Store after it starts to load, your results will remain intact!

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