How to configure the settings on the iPad

The ability to open the iPad's settings can be very important both in basic troubleshooting and in configuring the iPad to act as you want it to. Settings control everything from the way your iPad works to the data it shares with apps and other devices.


To get into your iPad's settings, simply touch the icon that looks like gears turning. I have it highlighted in the picture above this article.  I have my Settings App on the iPad's dock which makes it easy to find should you have any problems or want to tweak any settings. You can also open settings using Siri.  Simply activate Siri by holding down the Home button and say, "Open iPad Settings”.

ipad settings on dock


What can you do in the iPad settings screen?

There are a number of great tweaks you can make in the settings screen that will change how your iPad behaves. Some of these are very useful and some are very important for those who need extra help using the iPad, like the accessibility settings.

Here are a few things you can do with the iPad settings:

ipad settings overview

1.     Add a new Mail account. Easily the most popular reason to go into your iPad's settings, you can add new mail accounts under the Mail, Contacts, Calendars settings. You can also configure whether or not the mail should be pushed to your iPad and how often the mail is fetched.

1.     Turn off Push Notifications for a specific app. Sometimes, an app can get a little hyperactive in sending you notifications, so rather than turn off push notifications for the entire iPad, you can go to the Notifications settings and turn them on or off for an individual app.

2.     Adjust the iPad's brightness. This is a great tip for saving battery life. In the Brightness and Wallpaper settings, simply slide the brightness down to a point where the iPad is still easy to see but not quite as bright. The lower this setting, the longer your battery will end up lasting.

3.     Configure the side switch. The latest update to iOS defaults the side switch to being a mute button, but it is already easy to mute the iPad by simply turning the volume down. If you find yourself sometimes annoyed when the iPad changes orientation based on how you are lounging on the couch, you can turn the side switch to lock the orientation by choosing General settings and flipping the Side Switch setting from Mute to Lock rotation.

4.     Change your Search Engine from Google. You don't have to use Google as your default search engine. Under the Safari settings, you can configure the default search engine to be Google,Yahoo or Bing.

5.     Turn on automatic downloads. A great feature is the ability of the iPad to automatically download music, books and apps made on other devices, including purchases made on your PC.

6.     Change the iPad's sound settings. If you use the iPad as a music player, you can change the EQ settings on the iPod application to better represent the type of music you are playing. This setting defaults to acoustic, but it can be changed to anything from classical to hip hop to bass booster.

7.     Change Photos to a specific album. If you like using your iPad as a picture frame, you can change it to only display photos from a particular album under the Picture Frame settings. You can also configure the iPad to zoom in on faces, shuffle photos and display each photo for up to 20 seconds.

8.     Configure FaceTime. Want to change how you are reached at FaceTime on your iPad? You can turn FaceTime on or off or even add another email address to the list.

9.     Stop being bugged by Wi-Fi. iOS's ability to ask you whether or not you want to join a nearby Wi-Fi network can be handy at times, but if you are traveling in a car and passing by different networks, it can also be quite annoying. In the Wi-Fi settings, you can tell the iPad not to ask you to join nearby networks.

General Settings

Use iPad’s General settings to set up basic functionality for your everyday use. You access the General settings  by tapping the Settings app icon on the Home screen and then tapping General

Configure the settings: Part 1

This video covers: The General Settings of - About, Software Update, Usage, Siri, VPN, iTunes Wi-Fi sync and Spotlight Search.

  • About: Information about downloaded content, apps, memory,   iPad serial number and model, and your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth addresses, plus   support, and legal and regulatory jargon.
  • Software Update:  Check this for updates to the iPad operating system.
  • Usage:  Displays total iCloud storage, battery usage, and if   you have a Wi-Fi and 3G/4G iPad model, shows data usage on the cellular   network.
  • Siri:  Settings for turning the Siri voice command   assistant on, changing the language, choosing handsfree only or all voice   feedback, and choosing whose information Siri uses from the Contacts app.
  • iTunes Wi-Fi Sync: Settings for syncing with iTunes on a computer on a   local network.
  • Spotlight Search:Access settings for the types of content the iPad   search feature returns in search results and the order in which results are   presented.

Configure the settings: Part 2

The video covers: The General Settings of - Auto-lock, passcode lock, ipad cover unlock, restrictions and the use of the side switch.

Video: Create a complex passcode for your iPad


  • Auto-Lock: Set the amount of time for inactivity at which iPad   automatically auto-locks the screen.
  • Passcode Lock:Set a passcode and turn the feature on to require a   passcode to unlock iPad. Turn Picture Frame on/off. Set iPad to erase all   data after ten failed attempts to enter the correct passcode.
  • Restrictions:Set restrictions on Safari, YouTube, and iTunes, as   well as restrict installation of applications and location services. Specify   allowed content for music, podcasts, movies, TV shows, and apps.
  • Lock Rotation: Tap to set up the Side Switch to lock screen   rotation.
  • Mute:Tap to set up the Side Switch to mute sounds.

Picture Frame (iOS 6)

Picture Frame - Access in the Lock Screen

Picture Frame - Access in the Lock Screen

Perhaps you've noticed the little picture icon that appears alongside the "slide to unlock" tool when you turn on your iPad. One tap, and presto, the photo slideshow begins. Then just rest your iPad in your stand or dock and enjoy the show.

Picture Frame settings

Picture Frame settings

By default, Picture Frame plays through all the photos stored on your iPad, dissolving from one to another every three seconds or so. However, there are some settings you can and should adjust.

To access them, tap the Settings icon, and then tap Picture Frame. You can use either or both shuffle and zoom. Zoom in on faces; this crops photos so you see mostly heads, which is great if your photos are primarily of family and friends. If they're heavily scenic, however, you may want to turn this mode off.

Instead of showing just one picture at a time, the Origami transition displays two to four photos at a time, then shuffles them with one of several cool effects.

Finally, as you'd expect, the "app" lets you choose what photos to display: all of them (including screenshots), or just those in selected albums.


Configure the Settings: Part 4

This video covers how to configure the wireless network, personal hotspots and bluetooth.


Bluetooth Settings

On the iPad, you can use Bluetooth to communicate wirelessly with a compatible Bluetooth headset or to use an optional wireless keyboard. Such accessories are made by Apple and many others. To ensure that the iPad works with one of these devices, it has to be wirelessly paired, or coupled, with the chosen device.

iPad - Bluetooth Settings

iPad - Bluetooth Settings

If you’re using a third-party accessory, follow the instructions that came with that headset or keyboard so that it becomes discoverable, or ready to be paired with your iPad. Then turn on Bluetooth (under General on the Settings screen) so that the iPad can find such nearby devices and the device can find the iPad.

An Apple Wireless Keyboard and the iPad are successfully paired when you enter a designated passkey on the keyboard. Bluetooth works up to a range of about 30 feet.


You know Bluetooth is turned on when you see the Bluetooth icon on the status bar. If the symbol is white, the iPad is communicating wirelessly with a connected device. If it’s grey, Bluetooth is turned on in the iPad  but a paired device isn’t nearby or isn’t turned on. If you don’t see a Bluetooth icon, the setting is turned off.


Notification Centre (iOS 7)

You can quickly access a notification by swiping down from the status bar at the top of the screen, saving you the trouble of finding alerts on the app icons in various home screens.

Notification Centre - Swipe down from the top of the screen

Notification Centre - Swipe down from the top of the screen

The Notification Centre is split up into three tabs: 

You’ll see everything that’s scheduled in your calendar for the day ahead, as well as any reminders that are due. There’s even a brief description of the day’s weather forecast, which includes high and low temperatures.

Tap the All tab and you’ll be presented with a list of outstanding notifications, divided up into apps. You can tap individual notifications to go into those apps, or you can double-tap the small cross to clear notifications you want to ignore.

The Today View is completely customisable. You have the option to enable or disable any of the default views in the list. This update also allows you to access Notification Centre right from the lock screen. Because of this, Apple has added some additional options that will allow or restrict access to certain parts of Notification Centre on the lock screen.

The Missed tab is shows those notifications that you didn’t act on – in other words, you didn’t tap on or dismiss them when they popped up, or you didn’t act on them from the lock screen. The Missed view is an improvement over the All view because it reduces the notifications to the bare minimum; if you don’t view them within 24 hours, they automatically get weeded out of the list. (That way, you don’t have to worry about stale items clogging it up.)



Customising Notification Centre iOS 8

Inside the settings menu for Notification Centre, you’ll find the same level of customisation you had inside iOS 7, including the ability to show Notification Centre on the lock screen, and the choice between manual or time-based sorting. You also have the ability to specify which apps can use Notification Centre, and which ones cannot.

Among iOS 8's many new features are some good ways to let you interact with your apps without actually having to open them. Interactive notifications are one example, and another is the brand new widgets available in Notification Centre. Getting started takes a little bit of setup, but once you have that done you will be relying less on your grid of icons and swiping right into your favourite widget for quickly accessing what you need. There are already several great widgets, so be sure to keep your apps updated so you'll have access to widgets as developers roll them out.  Here's a list to give you some ideas: The best notification Centre widgets right now.

Add some widgets

Widgets are enabled by default on iOS 8. To get started, swipe down to the Notification Center, then choose the tab on the left entitled Today. A few of Apple's own selections are already in place, such as the Today Summary, which gives the weather and notifies you of upcoming appointments, Calendar, and Reminders.

Scroll to the bottom of the today view and Tap Edit. Any app installed on your iPad that has an available widget will be visible.

Add any widgets by tapping the green +. Remove existing widgets and default Apple information by tapping the Red - and tapping Delete.

Add any widgets by tapping the green +. Remove existing widgets and default Apple information by tapping the Red - and tapping Delete.

The Notification Centre "Today" view now has widgets installed and annoying Apple" stuff removed,

The Notification Centre "Today" view now has widgets installed and annoying Apple" stuff removed,

Make sure you never miss a thing by setting up your very own personalised Notification Center. This lesson will show you how to tailor all aspects of how your iPad gets messages to you via the Notification Center. It also includes how to configure and setup Widgets, brand new to iOS 8.

Updating your Apps

Apps updated automatically get a blue dot to inform you of the update

Apps updated automatically get a blue dot to inform you of the update

Apps need updating regularly. Bugs are removed, new features are added and developers make changes. You need to update your apps. In iOS 8, all your apps can be updated automatically or you can turn off this setting and update them manually as you had to do in iOS 6.

In Settings, iTunes & App Store , turn ON or OFF Updates. You can also opt to have those updates delivered over cellular data connections as well as via Wi-Fi.

Automatic Updates of apps

Automatic Updates of apps

Configure wireless networking

Download:  Connect to wireless networks and hotspots

iPad Accessibility Option


The iPad offers a number of inbuilt features to enhance accessibility for those with vision, hearing and physical  impairments. Although many apps will allow you to change the settings in the apps the best place to go first is the “Settings” icon. See the page Accessibility for more detailed information.