Find out just how much more iOS 5 can do on your iPad with our look at these nifty features you might not know about.
By now, there’s a good chance you’ve installed the iOS 5 updates on your iPad, and you’ve been happily enjoying all the new features like the notification centre, Newsstand, wireless iTunes syncing, iCloud, and AirPlay Mirroring.
But there are a few ‘hidden’ features in iOS 5 specific to the iPad that you may not have noticed. The first is multi-touch gestures. This feature isn’t enabled by default, so you’ll need to go into ‘Settings > General’ and switch the ‘Multitasking Gestures’ setting to On. Now you can use four or five fingers to bring up the multitasking bar (sweep your fingers up from the bottom of the screen), switch between running apps (sweep your fingers left or right across the screen like you’re turning the page in a book), and return to the home screen (make a pinching gesture with all of your fingers).
If you frequently use Safari on your iPad, you’ve probably discovered that iOS 5 has added tabbed browsing to make moving between multiple web pages easier. One feature you may not have tried yet, however, is the Reading List. This feature lets you save interesting web pages for later reading, similar to the Read It Later and Instapaper services, and while it isn’t exclusive to the iPad, you can sync your Reading List across your other iOS devices (as well as Safari on your desktop computer) so you can get through your reading backlog no matter what device you’re carrying.
To save a page to the Reading List on your iPad, have the page open in Safari, tap on the bookmark icon, select Reading List, and tap the ‘+’ icon. To remove pages from the Reading List once you’ve read them, swipe right across the listing until you see a red Delete button appear, then hit that Delete button. To sync your Reading List to other iOS devices, you’ll need to be syncing bookmarks in iCloud (check by going to ‘Settings > iCloud’) and be using the same iCloud account for both devices. If you find your Reading List is syncing across devices, try turning Bookmark sync in iCloud off on both devices, then turn them back on, and you should get it syncing properly.
Photo Stream is another feature that takes advantage of the iCloud syncing between your iPhone and iPad. The iPad’s camera may not be fantastic, but if you have an iPhone 4 or 4S, you can essentially use the camera on that device, and then use Photo Stream to automatically transfer those photos to your iPad for viewing and editing on a bigger screen. The one caveat is that photos only sync to iCloud when your devices are connected to a wireless network, although you can trick a jailbroken iPhone and iPad into thinking it’s connected to a wireless network (when really it’s only connected to 3G) using the 3G Unrestrictor jailbreak app.
Finally, there’s the nifty split keyboard that makes it easier to type with your thumbs while gripping your iPad with two hands. To display the split keyboard (which you can do in portrait or landscape orientation), bring the regular keyboard up, and drag the keyboard icon in the bottom right-hand corner up the screen. This splits the keyboard in two, and you can position it anywhere on the screen by dragging the keyboard icon up or down. Dragging it back down to the bottom brings back the full-sized keyboard.