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iPad Maintenance: Keeping Your iPad Clean and Running Efficiently

How to Maintain Your iPad


The iPad on a table in the Apple case
Yutaka Tsutano/Wikimedia Commons

Like any computer, the iPad requires a little bit of maintenance to keep it running smooth and efficiently. This includes protecting your iPad from harm, cleaning it, optimizing your battery life as well as keeping it running fast and bug-free. Unlike a computer, the iPad makes most of these tasks pretty simple to undertake.

Buy a Case.

Accidents happen no matter how safe you try to be with your tablet, and because of its thin design, a simple drop could lead to a cracked screen as well as a sizable dent out of your iPad. The best way to protect against this is to get a case as soon as possible.

The best cases are form-fitting and provide adequate protection, so avoid Apple's Smart Cover, which doesn't provide any real protection, though you could opt for the Smart Case if you want the "smart" features. There are also plenty of heavy-duty third-party cases that will provide protection for iPads that are mostly going to be used in the home and even some that are designed to protect the iPad while on outdoor adventures. One type of case to avoid is loose-fitting cases such as leather binder cases. The iPad should fit snugly in any case you purchase otherwise you are not getting the full protection of a case.

If you have small kids or toddlers in the house, you may also want a screen protector. This can make sure that even the dirtiest little hands won't be doing too much harm to your iPad.

Clean Your iPad on a Regular Basis.

It's always a good idea to keep your electronics clean and free of the dust and oils that will get on them during normal use. Avoid window cleaner or any other cleaning product when giving your iPad its regular cleaning. Instead, use a soft lint-free cloth such as one used to clean eyeglasses and lightly dampen it with water.

Keep iOS Updated

The iPad is kind enough to alert you when a new version of the operating system is released. This alert takes the form of a red notification on your Settings icon. When you see this notification, take the time to plug your iPad into a power source and go through the steps to update your operating system. (This can be accomplished through the general menu item in your iPad settings.)

Keeping iOS updated will make sure you have the latest security updates as well as fixing various bugs found in the operating system, which can help your iPad run smoother.

Optimize Settings for More Battery Power

There are a number of ways you can optimize your iPad to get the most out of your battery, including turning off 3G when you are not using it and turning down the brightness on your display. You can also tell the iPad to fetch your mail on a longer interval to help reduce draining the power throughout the day by repeatedly pinging your mail server and downloading new items.

Maximize Your iPad's Battery Life

Apple also recommends draining your battery once a month and then charging it back to full power, but this is a recommendation based on making sure the iPad accurately displays the amount of battery power left rather than anything that will actually help prolong the life of your battery. In fact, batteries of this type are usually better if you begin charging with at least 5% power left as draining it to empty isn't a great idea. So if you do decide to take this advice -- and it is not a big requirement for the good health of your iPad -- don't drain it all the way down.

Back up Your iPad

You can tell iCloud to perform regular backups of your iPad. These backups are done while you are charging, so they won't get in y our way. They can also be a great way to make sure you can restore your iPad if you run into any problems. These backups can also be used when setting up a new iPad to make sure it has the same apps installed, the same email accounts setup, the same contacts listed and the same settings tweaked as your previous iPad.

How to Backup Your iPad to iCloud

You can also sync your iPad to iTunes to make sure you have a valid backup on your PC. However, with the ability to automatically perform backups at a regular interval and with no need to be plugged into the same PC to restore backups, using the iCloud method is the most efficient.

Learn How to Reboot the iPad

Many people confuse the iPad in suspend mode as being powered off, but in fact, the iPad's operating system is still chugging along just under the surface. And while you wouldn't want to power off the iPad every time you stop using it, knowing how to reboot the iPad is a very helpful tip for troubleshooting any problems you have with your tablet. And it's very easy to accomplish: simply hold down the suspend button for several seconds and the iPad will ask you to swipe in order to confirm you want it to power down. Once it's shut down, you can click the suspend button again to boot it back up.

If you find your iPad running slow, or if an app crashes every time you try to load it, or if you have any other odd problems with your iPad, rebooting it should always be the first thing you try. You'll be amazed at the problems that it can fix.

How to Reboot Your iPad

Saving Space on Your iPad

The best tip for saving storage space or cleaning up storage space when you are running close to empty is to simply delete old apps you no longer use. The iPad's App Store keeps a full history of every app you have purchased and downloaded, so you need not worry about whether or not you might want to use the app in the future. You can always download the app again for free no matter if you paid for it or if it was free in the first place. (You can even download all of the apps you purchased on a previous iPad, on your iPhone or on your iPod Touch, though not all iPhone and iPod Touch apps will be optimized for the iPad's screen.)

Another great way to save space is to skip loading a bunch of music and movies on it and setup iTunes home sharing instead. Home sharing allows you to 'share' the music and movies stored on your PC with your iPad. This is done by streaming across your home wireless network, and because they aren't ever stored on your iPad, you can save a lot of space using this trick. And nothing prevents you from occasionally installing a few songs or a movie on your iPad, which can be great if you are going out of town for a little bit. How to Setup Home Sharing on the iPad

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