How to Set Up Your New iPad, iPad Mini

Did you get an iPad for the holidays?! You did?!? Well, somebody must really appreciate YOU! The latest additions to Cupertino’s flat family are the iPad Air 2and iPad mini 3 , but whichever model you’re rocking under the Christmas tree, you can be assured that it is, without a doubt, among the best slates out there.

Not only do Apple’s line of tablets feature top-notch hardware specs, but the interface is extremely intuitive. If you’ve never interacted with an Apple product—or even a tablet—before, you should be able to figure things out, right out of the box.

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Here, we would like to provide a basic primer on the set-up process for your sexy new slate. Any iPad model produced in the latter half of this year will come running the latest software, iOS 8 (and if it’s not, it’s free and easy to upgrade). These 12 steps are based on using this latest software’s setup, however if your machine happens to be running an earlier generation (perhaps your gifter got an early start on the holiday season), the setup will still be extremely similar.

Before you get started, you may have to charge your device up. After about 20 minutes of juicing, you should have enough to get started (but probably shouldn’t unhook from the charger quite yet). Then all you have to do is hit the power button on the top right or the home button in the bottom front center and we are ready to get started!

1. Opening Screen

Just place your finger on the screen and slide from left-to-right.

2. Choose Language


You know what language you speak, right?

3. Select Country or Region

Where you at?

4. Network Settings

On the next screen you will be asked to choose a Wi-Fi network and/or wireless connection if you have an associated data plan (if you happen to be in a congested area, your screen may be overrun with available Wi-Fi networks and you will have to scroll all the way to the bottom to initiate the wireless plan).

If you have a Wi-Fi-only model, then there’s no need to worry about the wireless data option. All you have to do is choose your preferred Wi-Fi network and enter a password if it is protected.

5. Set Up iPad


Here you will find three options: 1) Set Up as New iPad, 2) Restore from iCloud Backup, and 3) Restore from iTunes Backup.

If you’ve never owned a mobile device from Apple, then select “Set Up as New iPad.” This will ask you to sign-in with your Apple ID (the same one you use in iTunes). If you don’t have an Apple ID, you will be able to create one from here. Or, if you just want to get into your brand new device, you can just skip this step and log in with your Apple ID (or create a new one) at a later point via Settings.

If you have an iCloud account with all your data and preferences, choose “Restore from iCloud.” (Note: you must be connected to a Wi-Fi network to enable this option.) This way, if you’re upgrading from an iPad 2 to the new iPad Air 2, for example, iCloud will automatically transfer all the apps from your old iPad to your new one. Just make sure to back up your old iPad first, so you have the most recent version of your app library (Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Back Up Now).

If you have your media and preferences stored in your local iTunes, you can restore them with the “Restore from iTunes Backup” option. In order to do this, you will have to connect directly to the computer running iTunes. (If you didn’t notice, you can disconnect the wire from the adaptor on the power cord to reveal a USB connector, which can then be connected to just about any desktop/laptop).

6. Terms and Conditions

Bla bla bliddity bla bla. Unfortunately, this is the one part in the setup you can’t skip. You won’t be able to get into your device unless you agree to Apple’s “Terms and Conditions,” which you can do by tapping “Agree” at the bottom right-side of the screen. (If you have the gall to click “Disagree,” your iPad will send you back a step and not allow you to continue until you agree. Free choice is an illusion.)

7. Touch ID

(This feature is only available on the latest iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.) You can skip setting up the Touch ID for now, if you choose. You can add a Touch ID fingerprint later (or even add other fingers) via Settings. If you want to do it now, the process should take about three minutes. Just follow the directions as it tells you to lift your finger off and on the home button/sensor (you’ll have to do it multiple times). Be sure not to press the home button, just lay your finger on the surface.

8. Create a Password


This is the four-digit code you can use to unlock your password in lieu (or in addition to) the Touch ID. This is also a skippable step for now—you can always add or change a passcode later (but it’s a good thing to have).

9. Siri

Simple yes/no answer. Do you want to use it or not? I think it’s stupid and unhelpful personally. But different strokes for different folks. You will have the ability to turn Siri on/off later via Settings > General.

10. Diagnostics

Do you want to help Apple make products better? Just say yeah. Or don’t. Doesn’t really matter.

11. App Analytics

Want to help third-party app developers make better apps? Just say yeah. Or don’t. Whatevs.

12. Welcome to iPad


Just click “Get Started” and you are good to go, my friend.

Once You’re In…

Apple products are fairly instinctual and also forgiving. Most things can be done/undone/altered via the Settings app which you can find on the homepage. Here, you will also find the ability to log in with iCloud, iTunes, Passbook, and Apple Pay via the left-hand column.

If something doesn’t seem right, remember you can always just start all over. Just go to Settings > General > Reset. If you want to reset your settings, but keep all the data/media, choose “Reset All Settings.” If you start the slate entirely clean and erase all the settings and data/media, choose “Erase All Content and Settings.” (Note: this cannot be undone). Then you can start all over at step one above.

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