June 3, 2020
Apple recently released iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5, which added several new and very useful features for our current (pandemic, face masks, contact tracing, etc.) situation. So, it seems like a good time to take a moment to talk about some of the cool features that you can use on iPads (and most iPhones too!).
If you have a tablet but aren’t sure if it’s an iPad, check the logo on the back, or power it on (the power/lock button is on the top right edge). If you see another logo or word (like Samsung, Amazon, or the Windows logo), you have a different type of tablet.
Your iPad is much more than the home of your apps like Libby, photos, and the Safari browser. It has tons of built-in capabilities with no downloads required! Here are a few:
- Bluetooth – Allows you to connect your device to other, nearby devices like cars, other tablets, headphones, or computers!
- Do Not Disturb – Allows you to turn off all notifications, sounds, and/or vibrations. You can choose to keep it on/off perpetually or schedule times. You can also choose if any contacts or apps can alert you despite the service being enabled.
- Screen Time – This feature was new with iOS 12 and has improved with iOS 13. It allows you to monitor how much time you (or other users) are spending on the device and in certain apps. You can use this feature to set downtime and time limits for app usage and communication, as well as privacy or content restrictions. You can also set up Screen Time for Family, which creates a parent portal where you can observe, set limits, and restrict others’ usage.
- Night Shift – Under the Display & Brightness tab of the Settings app, Night Shift is a feature that modifies your screen’s colors and brightness to be easier on the eyes in dark conditions. It can be scheduled or manually enabled. You can also adjust the temperature of your display colors from this feature.
- App Icons – Under the Home Screen & Dock tab of the Settings app, App Icons is an option that allows you to choose between viewing more apps on a homepage or having larger app icons.
- Accessibility Features – Apple works very hard to ensure that devices have several excellent accessibly options to meet the needs of all their users. There are TONS of options in the Accessibility tab of your Settings app, but here are a few that might help out the typical user:
- Display & Text Size – Under this sub-tab, you can adjust the text size and boldness, button shapes, display colors/contrast, and turn on On/Off labels (instead of the green/grey toggle).
- Home Button – Under this sub-tab, you can adjust the click speed required for the Home button and also turn on/off Siri access from the Home button.
- VoiceOver – This option will speak the items on the screen. You can adjust the speaking speed and many of the voice settings from this option as well.
- Voice Control – After setup, you can use your voice to control the device. You can use built-in commands and create your own.
- Guided Access – Great for when you are sharing your device with a child! Guided Access locks the iPad in to a single app and allows you to control which features are available.
There are many more options like these already on your device! All of these options (and more!) are available in the Settings app, which is pre-loaded to all iPads. I encourage you to explore and find the settings that work best for you. If you are looking for even more cool features, take some time to explore the App Store (also an app pre-loaded to your device)! While you’re there, try out the Library’s mobile app as well as apps for some of our awesome services!
If you would like to learn more about using your iPad, the Library can help with that as well! There are video courses on Universal Class, Hoonuit, and Lynda.com to help you learn more about your device as well as some tips and tricks. Or, you could try out one of the eBooks available from OverDrive!
Consumer Technology Specialist
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