More tips for users of every version of the iPad.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


iPad's hidden features, Part 2

March 25, 2012

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2012, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2012, The Post-Standard

Apple seems to delight in hiding some of its product features. The idea, I suppose, is that when you unintentionally uncover any of them, you'll have a "Eureka" moment and always remember the little trick you picked up.

As we saw last week, Apple's iPad has its share of these little delights. This week we'll uncover more. (To read last week's column, go to www.technofileonline.com/texts/tec031812.html.)

On recent iPads, the keyboard can be split into left and right sections. Place one finger on each side and spread your fingers apart. To close the keyboard up, pinch your fingers on the two sections.

If you've often wished Apple had put a caps lock key on the iPad, you've got your wish. Double-tap the shift key.

Give your iPad a shake if you've made a dumb mistake -- although this might show it, I'm not a poet; I'm just a teacher showing a hidden feature. (Sorry.) After the shake, touch "Undo Typing."

Scrolling back to the top of a long web page is a pain. Touch the status bar at the top of the screen. (This works in Mail and some other apps, too.)

As long as you've set up Safari, the iPad's web browser, to "Open New Tabs in Background" (in the Settings app), you can open dozens of pages at the same time. Make a long press on a link and choose "Open in New Tab." The page will open behind the main window. Later, touch its tab to bring the page forward.

Your Contacts app can be handier than you'd expect. Tap and hold on a phone number and FaceTime will ask that person to chat. Tap and hold an address and a map will appear.

The folks at the office who send Microsoft Office documents to your iPad aren't actually trying to bug you; they're doing you a favor by reminding you to get DocsToGo from the App Store. It will let you view and edit just about any Office document.

And printing those Office documents (or anything else) is easy, too. You can buy a Wi-Fi AirPrint-compatible printer (for a list, go to www.apple.com) or you can simply add a tiny program to your PC or Mac to turn your current printer into an AirPrint beauty. Get FingerPrint, from www.collobos.com. (It installs on your computer, not on your iPad. Your iPad doesn't need any extra software. And there's a big bonus: Your iPhone or iPod Touch will be able to print wirelessly, too.)

Need to send your sister-in-law a picture of your iPad screen? Put down your camera. Press and hold the on-off button and the Home button at the same time. You'll find the screen shot in Photos.

Many users know this, but I've talked to a lot who don't: To delete an app, touch and hold it until it wiggles. Then tap the "X."

Finally, if some of these tricks don't work, you might need to update your iPad's software. Drop over to your local Apple Store (in the Syracuse, N.Y. area, it's in Carousel Mall) and ask the folks there to show you how.