• 2000021: iPad Guide for Windows Users Wanting to Switch

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    AKB2000021: iPad Guide for Windows Users Wanting to Switch

    by @Nathan Parker

    Published: February 25, 2020 | Rev. 1.0

    Purchasing an iPad
    Setting Up an iPad
    Getting to Know an iPad
    Getting Started with iPad Apps
    Getting to Know Apple Services
    Getting Support for an iPad
    Comments on AKB2000021 iPad Guide for Windows Users Wanting to Switch



    With Windows 7 entering end of support from Microsoft, one option some Windows customers may consider is switching to an iPad (the tablet developed by Apple). This guide will make it easier for Windows users considering a switch to an iPad, from recommended iPads to purchase to all what one needs to know to get settled into moving to an iPad.


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    • #2171204

      Purchasing an iPad

      There are plenty of places to purchase an iPad, including Apple’s own online and retail stores, Best Buy, and even Amazon. For those new to an iPad, my recommendation is generally to purchase an iPad direct from Apple, either through Apple’s online store{Apple.com} or through an Apple retail store{https://www.apple.com/retail/}. I’ve found that purchasing direct from Apple offers excellent additional perks such as Personal Setup{https://www.apple.com/shop/browse/personal_session} which makes it easy to quickly get up-to-speed with a new iPad by having an Apple product specialist assist with answering getting started questions. Even as a seasoned iPad user, I have always walked away learning something new or better utilizing unused features on my iPad when attending these sessions.

      Apple does offer discounts for education customers{https://www.apple.com/education/} (students and teachers), as well as offers perks for business customers {https://www.apple.com/business/}, so I recommend talking with an Apple product specialist prior to purchase to take advantage of any discounts or perks available when purchasing a new iPad. Apple also offers financing{https://www.apple.com/shop/browse/financing} for iPads, plus those who have an iPhone and have signed up for Apple Card{https://www.apple.com/apple-card/} (Apple’s credit card) can receive 3% cash back when purchasing an iPad using Apple Card. For those who wish to part with their old hardware when switching to an iPad, Apple offers a trade in and recycling program{https://www.apple.com/shop/trade-in}. One other perk Apple offers iPad customers is a year of Apple TV+ free (Apple’s streaming TV service, regularly $4.99/month) when purchasing an iPad.

      Apple retail stores also offer Today at Apple{https://www.apple.com/today/}, free educational sessions on using Apple products and topics including: photography, video, music, coding, and art. These sessions are one other excellent way for iPad users to learn more about how to use an iPad, as well as how to apply iPad skills to a handful of select creative topics.

      Apple offers a range of different iPads for different types of users. The quickest way to compare various iPad model specifications is to use the iPad Comparison{https://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/} page on Apple’s website.


      There are four major types of iPad models available for purchase:

        • iPad{https://www.apple.com/ipad-10.2/}: The model simply called “iPad” is Apple’s lowest-cost entry-level iPad model. It is heavily distributed in educational environments due to its low cost. It also makes for an ideal iPad for new iPad users, as well as an ideal iPad for younger children. This iPad model offers plenty of power and performance and support for Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard, all at an excellent price. If my mother’s aging iPad Air dies before I’m ready to hand down my iPad Pro, this would be the iPad I would replace hers with, as she uses hers primary for online shopping, and this would be ideal for it.
        • iPad Air{https://www.apple.com/ipad-air/}: The iPad Air is a step up from the model simply called “iPad”. It offers all of the features of the “iPad,”plus more power and performance and features such as a True Tone display. It is also an ideal iPad for new iPad users, and the ideal iPad for everyday use. It packs a few additional perks over the entry-level “iPad” at a reasonable price.
        • iPad Pro{https://www.apple.com/ipad-pro/}: The iPad Pro is Apple’s top-of-the-line iPad model. It offers all of the perks and luxuries the iPad offers including a Liquid Retina (super high quality) display with ProMotion technology, Face ID support, powerful performance, and support for the second-generation Apple Pencil. It’s the highest-end iPad model for demanding professionals. I own an iPad Pro, although mine is the older 10.5” model which now more closely resembles the iPad Air.
        • iPad mini{https://www.apple.com/ipad-mini/}: The iPad mini is Apple’s smallest iPad, packing plenty of power and performance in a smaller size. The latest iPad mini supports the first-generation Apple Pencil (but not the Smart Keyboard due to its size). It’s useful in environments where one would need a smaller iPad (such as for long-duration reading). I have considered purchasing an iPad mini myself as a secondary iPad I could use for long-duration reading when my iPad Pro would be a little too large to use on the sofa or in a chair.


      There are a few tidbits potential iPad users should know before choosing an iPad model:

      • Most iPad models include a Lightning port (similar to the iPhone) for charging and for plugging in accessories. For those who need to connect USB devices to an iPad, one will need a Lightning to USB adapter{https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MK0W2/lightning-to-usb-3-camera-adapter?fnode=37}, and if the USB accessory uses enough power, the iPad will need to be connected to a power supply (which is the situation with most USB accessories I have connected to my iPad). The latest iPad Pro models include a USB-C port for charging and plugging in accessories, so one can directly connect USB-C devices to the latest iPad Pro models. Those wishing to connect USB 3 (USB-A) devices to the latest iPad Pro models will need a USB-C to USB adapter{https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MJ1M2AM/A/usb-c-to-usb-adapter?fnode=61473f1ed8dbca4f0a976f25fee172951a1324531bde695eadfefec173cb4f2f559eadafd13264f5c4f8b72b5522059e7bcd8f2c3c7739958a07f4a30bcd1689b9e321abcd22012342a021019f8d6de3924f4a63f8a507bcae3655ad6c683934}. iPadOS 13 has increased support for USB devices, so one can do more with USB devices on an iPad now, although since one needs adapters for plugging most USB devices into iPads, iPads are still more useful in wireless/cloud environments.
      • Most iPad models offer the ability to choose whether one can purchase a Wi-Fi only model or a model that supports Wi-Fi and Cellular included. The Wi-Fi only models cost less, and most support all of the common current Wi-Fi standards. The Wi-Fi and Cellular models generally support LTE as well as the previous 3G standards, and they generally support all of the major wireless carriers and coverage bands on a single iPad. In most cases, one can use an embedded Apple SIM or an embedded eSIM to signup for a no-contract wireless service right from the iPad, although at times, a physical SIM is still required (such as the case with Verizon). The physical SIM slot on iPad models is generally SIM-unlocked. If one needs to use cellular service with an iPad model, it is good to consult with an Apple product specialist to ensure the iPad will have ultimate compatibility and ease of configuration with the wireless carrier or carriers one chooses. My iPad has cellular, and I use it with Verizon as a backup for my home Internet and for accessing the Internet around town.
      • Most iPad models authenticate over Touch ID which allows one to use their fingerprint to unlock the iPad and perform additional authentication tasks (such as purchases over Apple Pay). The latest iPad Pro models use Face ID instead of Touch ID. Touch ID and Face ID work identical to their counterparts on the iPhone.
      • The latest iPad Pro models have encountered issues where some have tended to bend, and there have been reports of Apple not replacing these bending iPad Pro models under warranty. I personally recommend waiting for Apple to release another iPad Pro model that is not susceptible to the bending issue before making an investment in such a high-end model as an iPad Pro. While I love the design of the new iPad Pro models, I would be hesitant to make the investment as of now, as I have seen enough reports of bending on the models where this is not a rare occurrence.


      When purchasing a new iPad, one may wish to purchase accessories with the iPad. Apple offers a range of accessories{https://www.apple.com/shop/ipad/ipad-accessories} on their store. Here are some of the main accessories iPad users should consider:

      • Apple Pencil{https://www.apple.com/apple-pencil/}: Apple Pencil is Apple’s drawing and writing tool for iPad. While It can control certain elements of the iPad user interface, it is not a full-fledged stylus (it is mostly geared for drawing and writing). There are two versions of Apple Pencil: a first-generation model which works with most current iPads with Lightning charging ports (this Apple Pencil charges over Lightning), and a second-generation Apple Pencil which works with current iPad Pro models (this Apple Pencil connects to the iPad Pro magnetically and charges wirelessly). I use an Apple Pencil (first-generation) with my iPad Pro (I own the older 10.5” model with a Lightning port) frequently for completing and signing online forms and annotating work or school documents. Some iPad models also support Logitech’s Crayon{https://www.apple.com/shop/product/HMGA2/logitech-crayon-for-ipad?fnode=37} which is a more rugged alternative to Apple Pencil, especially for children.
      • Smart Keyboard{https://www.apple.com/smart-keyboard/}: Some iPad and iPad Pro models support the Smart Keyboard, which is either a cover or a folio case that includes a built-in keyboard. The Smart Keyboard attaches magnetically to the iPad or iPad Pro using the Smart Connector on the iPad or iPad Pro. One can also use keystroke shortcuts (hold down the Command Key on the keyboard to see supported keystroke shortcuts in each app) in addition to typing. I frequently use a Smart Keyboard with my iPad Pro when I need to perform long-duration typing, and I have found it increases my productivity.
      • AirPods{https://www.apple.com/airpods/}: AirPods are Apple’s wireless earbuds, primarily useful for those who frequently listen to music, although they also work for phone calls or conferences with iPhones. There are two models of AirPods: AirPods are Apple’s standard wireless earbuds, and AirPods Pro adds noise-cancellation and customizable ear fitting. Options for wireless charging on the AirPods or AirPods Pro case are also available. I don’t personally own AirPods yet, but for those who frequently listen to music, they’re a solid investment,
      • Case: I recommend a case for protecting one’s new iPad, especially when investing in a higher-end model such as an iPad Pro. The extra protection is worth it, and the case provides extra grip when holding the iPad. I purchase all of my cases from Pad and Quill{https://www.padandquill.com/}. I have had an excellent experience with everything I have purchased from them.


      When purchasing an iPad, Apple offers the ability to add AppleCare+{https://www.apple.com/support/products/ipad/} to an iPad, which extends Apple’s warranty and tech support options to two years from the date-of-purchase (Apple’s included warranty is one year for repairs and 90 days for tech support). It also adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage every 24 months (each incident is subject to a service fee of $49 for iPad and $29 for Apple Pencil). Apple offers a range of repair{https://support.apple.com/repair} options including the Genius Bar{https://www.apple.com/retail/geniusbar/} at Apple retail stores and the Geek Squad at Best Buy Stores{https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/06/apple-partners-with-best-buy-for-expanded-repair-service/} (mail-in repair options are also available).

      My recommendation is to always purchase AppleCare+ when purchasing a new iPad. Even though I give my iPads the white glove treatment, AppleCare+ has paid for itself time and time again when I’ve had hardware issues with iPads, or if I’ve run into deep tech support-related issues. AppleCare+ prices depend on the iPad. When investing in a high-end tablet such as an iPad, AppleCare+ is an extra insurance policy that should be the first accessory one purchases with their iPad.

      If one runs into an issue that requires a repair, I always recommend visiting an Apple retail store Genius Bar or Best Buy Geek Squad as a first option instead of opting for the mail-in repair option, as I have had issues with mail-in repairs (including receiving a Mac back that wouldn’t boot). This allows a store rep to get their hands on your iPad when running hardware tests, with at times repairs or replacements able to be done in-store, and if a repair needs to be mailed in, the store has a chance for you to come in and look it over before receiving it back to ensure the repair was done correctly (although in some cases Apple will offer to replace instead of repair the iPad).

      Once one’s AppleCare+ expires, out-of-warranty tech support incidents run about $20-30 (depending on whether one uses chat or phone support), and Apple does offer out-of-warranty repair programs as well, although I have also had excellent experience with local repair shops when I needed to upgrade one of my out-of-warranty Macs.

    • #2171205

      Setting Up an iPad

      The first time one powers on an iPad, the Setup Assistant appears, making it easier to get started setting up one’s iPad. This article from Apple overviews the Setup Assistant{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202033}.

      There is not an automated way to migrate data from a Windows PC to an iPad (migrating data must be done manually using cloud storage or external storage, with cloud storage being the simplest option). One can migrate data from an Android device to an iPad using this article from Apple{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201196}.

      Most of the common file formats on a Windows PC should migrate over to an iPad without issues. A later section of this guide will include additional information concerning iPad apps (the iPad term for Windows programs).

    • #2171257

      Getting to Know an iPad

      iPads comes with the iPadOS{https://www.apple.com/ipados/} operating system (iPads formerly shared the identical iOS operating system with iPhones, although in iOS 13, Apple added additional iPad-centered features into a variant known as iPadOS). For those who have used an iPhone, iPadOS should be extremely similar.


      Here is a brief tour of the iPadOS user interface and how the iPadOS user interface compares to Windows:

      • Home Screen{https://support.apple.com/guide/ipad/explore-the-home-screen-and-apps-ipad997d9e62/ipados}: The Home Screen comprises most of the iPadOS user interface. All iPad apps are stored and launched from the Home Screen. There can be multiple pages of apps on the Home Screen, and apps can be grouped into folders on the Home Screen. The time, date, and frequently used widgets can be pinned to the left-hand side of the Home Screen in iPadOS, and one can also choose the density of how many apps should comprise the iPadOS Home Screen. The Home Screen is the replacement for launching programs from the Start Menu on Windows.
      • Widgets{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207122}: Swiping to the left of the Home Screen in iPadOS displays various widgets, which allows one to quickly glance at information such as current weather, calendar events, stocks, news headlines, and more. Many third-party apps also support widgets, and I use a handful of them frequently for checking various pieces of information.
      • Notifications{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201925}: Swiping down from the top of the screen displays notifications, which allows one to see notifications for emails, messages, calendar events and reminders, breaking news and weather alerts, and more. Many third-party apps also support notifications. Notifications are similar to the Notifications pane at the right-hand side on Windows 10.
      • Search{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201285}: Swiping down from the middle of the Home Screen launches Search, which is another way to quickly launch an app or find a file. This is similar to Windows Search.
      • Control Center{https://support.apple.com/guide/ipad/use-and-customize-control-center-ipade572ca56/ipados}: The top-right corner of the iPadOS user interface can display key system controls, such as the date and time, battery life, and Wi-Fi or cellular strength. Swiping down on the top-right corner of the iPadOS user interface launches Control Center, where one can quickly customize various settings on their iPad (such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Cellular, Volume, Brightness, Music Playing, Camera, etc.). This is similar to the system tray or notification area in Windows.
      • Dock: At the bottom of the iPadOS user interface is the Dock. The Dock is similar to the Taskbar in Windows. The Dock is divided into two sections. The first section allows one to pin frequently used apps to the Dock for quick launching. The second section shows the last few recently opened apps.
      • Apps and Files{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206481} app: Apps on the iPad run in full screen instead of app windows as they do on Windows. There are also no app menus or a Menu Bar at the top of iPad apps as they are in Windows. Files are managed and opened using the Files{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206481} app, which is similar to the File Explorer in Windows. The Files app can store files on the iPad, access files from external drives (over USB), and integrate cloud storage. Apps are quit by either pressing the Home Button (the physical button on the front of most iPad models) or by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.
      • Siri{https://support.apple.com/guide/ipad/ask-siri-ipad4bce70ef/ipados}: Siri on the iPad is similar to Cortana on Windows, and it is a way to quickly interact with one’s iPad using voice commands. If one has used Siri on an iPhone, one will find the experience to be similar.


      iPadOS also supports Dark Mode{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210332}, allowing one to make most apps easier on the eyes. One can also multitask{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207582} on the iPad using apps in Split View, apps in Slide Over view, or videos in Picture in Picture.


      Files can be opened from the Files app, or inside the app one wishes to view the files after launching the app. Apps can be launched from the Home screen. In addition to launching apps from the Home Screen, here are the other common ways to launch apps on an iPad (as well as some of these methods allow one to open files):

      • Search
      • Siri
      • Dock
      • Control Center (select apps)
      • Notifications (into apps that provide more details on the notification)


      The iPad supports keyboard shortcuts when paired with a Smart Keyboard{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205237}. The main difference is that iPad keyboard shortcuts use the Command key in place of the Windows Control key (which is why Apple coined the phrase “Lose Control, Gain Command”). The ALT key on Windows is also known as the Option key on the iPad. Keyboard shortcuts do not work on the on-screen keyboard on the iPad. One can hold down the Command Key in any app to see the most common shortcuts supported for that app.

      Here are some keyboard shortcuts iPad users should learn as soon as possible:

      • Command+H: Quit app
      • Command+Space: Search
      • Command+Tab: Quickly cycles through apps (similar to ALT+Tab on Windows)
      • Command+C: Copy
      • Command+V: Paste
      • Command+X: Cut
      • Command+B: Bold
      • Command+I Italics


      Documents automatically save themselves on the iPad, so one will not need to hit Command+S to save documents when working on the iPad.

      In addition to keyboard shortcuts, iPads are primarily controlled through touch Gestures. The most common touch Gestures are found in this article{https://support.apple.com/guide/ipad/learn-basic-gestures-ipad2c09c4d4/ipados}. One may also want to learn how to use additional Gestures, especially on models that use Face ID{https://support.apple.com/guide/ipad/learn-gestures-for-models-with-face-id-ipadab6772b8/ipados}. iPadOS also has a few handy gestures for working with text{https://support.apple.com/guide/ipad/type-and-edit-text-ipad997da459/ipados}.

      Another way to interact with some elements in iPadOS is by using an Apple Pencil{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205236}. The Apple Pencil is handy for primarily writing and drawing tasks on the iPad.


      The place to change system settings on the iPad is through Settings{https://support.apple.com/guide/ipad/change-common-settings-ipad79520415/ipados}, which is similar to Control Panel or Settings on Windows. The majority of settings can easily be configured in this app. Here are some of the main settings one should adjust shortly after setting up one’s iPad:

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