You've just bought an iPad and taken it out of the box. Now what? The process to set up an iPad to use for the first time is amazingly simple now that Apple has severed the cord from the computer to the iOS device by allowing the set up to be done without connecting your device to your PC.
You will need to know your Wi-Fi network's password, if you have a secured network. And with that bit of information, you can have your new iPad up and running within five minutes.
Here are the steps for initializing an iPad:
- Choose Language. You need to tell the iPad how to communicate with you. English is the default setting, but most common languages are supported.
- Choose Country or Region. The iPad needs to know the Country you are located in to connect to the correct version of the Apple App Store. Not all apps are available in all countries.
- Enable Location Services. The location services allow the iPad to determine where it is located. Even an iPad without 3G and GPS can use location services by using nearby Wi-Fi networks to determine the location. Most people will want to turn this setting on. You can turn off location services later, and even choose which apps you allow to use them and which apps can't use them.
- Choose a Wi-Fi Network. This is where you will need that Wi-Fi password if your network is secured.
- Set up as New or Restore From Backup (iTunes or iCloud). If you just purchased the iPad, you will be setting it up as new. Later, if you run into problems that require you to fully restore the iPad, you will have the choice of using iTunes to restore your backup or using iCloud. What is iCloud? It is Apple's Internet services that allow you to backup and transfer your data from one device to the other using the Internet rather than your own PC.
- Enter Apple ID or create new Apple ID. If this is your first time with any Apple device, you will need to create an Apple ID. You will probably want to install iTunes on your PC as well. Even though the iPad no longer requires it, having iTunes can make your life more simple and actually enhance what you can do with the iPad. If you already have an Apple ID, simply enter the username (usually your email address) and password.
- Agree to Terms and Conditions. You will need to agree to the Terms and Conditions, and once you agree, the iPad will give you a dialog box confirming that you agree. You can also have the Terms and Conditions emailed to you by touching the button at the top of the screen.
- Set Up iCloud. Most people will want to set up iCloud and enable the iPad to be backed up to iPad on a daily basis. This means even if you run into major problems with your iPad, you lose it or it is stolen, your data will be backed up to the Internet and waiting for you when your restore your iPad. However, if you aren't comfortable saving your information to the Internet, or if you are using the iPad for business purposes and your place of work doesn't allow you to use cloud storage, you can decline to use iCloud.
- Restore from Backup. If you have set your iPad to factory default in order to correct a problem, you can choose to restore from your most recent backup. You will be given the option to restore from an iTunes backup or restore from an iCloud backup.
- Use Find My iPad. This is a very handy feature that can both help you find a lost iPad or recover a stolen iPad. Turning on this feature will let you track the general location of the iPad. The 3G version of the iPad, which has a GPS chip, will be more accurate, but even the Wi-Fi version can provide amazing accuracy.
- Diagnostics. The last choice is whether or not to send a daily diagnostic report to Apple. This is purely your own decision. Apple uses the information to better serve its customers, and you shouldn't be worried that your information is being used for any other purpose. But, if you have any qualms at all, choose not to share the information. The basic rule of thumb here is if you have to think about it for more than a couple of seconds, choose not to participate.
And that's it. Your iPad is now ready to use. Be sure to hit the Apple App Store and download the must-have applications that every iPad owner should install.