How to Set Up the iPad mini

Apple has taken the time to partially charge your iPad mini, so you get some measure of instant gratification. After taking your iPad out of the box, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button on the upper-right edge.

The first thing you likely see is the Set Up iPad screen, though it's possible the iPad was set up on your behalf at the Apple Store instead — and if you have the time when you make your purchase, by all means, take the folks in the store up on the opportunity.

You see the famous Apple logo, followed less than a minute later by the word Hello spelled out in alternate screens in different languages. From then on, you proceed with setup on your own, but don't worry; it's a simple process. On the next several screens, you get to choose your language and country, select whether to enable location services, and select your wireless network: Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Cellular.

You must choose one of these setups when you start:

  • Set up the tablet as a new iPad.

  • Restore it from either an iCloud Backup or iTunes Backup.

Let’s assume you're setting up a new iPad mini. If that's the case, you can sign in with an Apple ID if you already have one, or you can create a new one (for free). You have a few more choices to make during setup before you can truly start enjoying your new iPad:

  • Choose whether to set up Apple's iCloud Internet service or to bypass this service. Using iCloud means you can store your photos, apps, contacts, calendars, and more on the Internet and have your friends at Apple wirelessly push them to your device. And you can back up all your goodies to the cloud. But you can bypass iCloud altogether, if you prefer otherwise, and back up to your computer.

  • Choose whether to save passwords and credit card information in the cloud. You do this through a feature dubbed iCloud Keychain. Don't worry: The information is encrypted so that not even Apple can read it.

  • Choose whether to turn on the Siri feature. Siri is a chatty voice assistant who might help you get a dinner reservation or suggest that you grab an umbrella because rain is in the forecast. Siri came to the iPad with iOS 6 after making a name for herself on the iPhone 4S.

    To call Siri into duty, press and hold the Home button. Selecting Siri means sharing your voice input and contacts with Apple because that's how your request is processed. Though you find a Siri setting only on the third-generation iPad (and later models) and on the iPad minis, turning on Siri also turns on dictation, or the ability to use your voice in lieu of banging away on a keyboard.

    You need an Internet connection for Siri to work properly.

  • Choose whether to automatically send diagnostics and usage data to Apple. It can help them help others down the road. Apple won't hold it against you if you decline — neither will we.

  • Choose whether to turn on a feature called Find my iPad. This really clever way can possibly uncover a lost or stolen device. It's a good idea to take up Apple on its invitation because we've used the closely related Find my iPhone feature on more than one occasion to find a wayward smartphone.

  • Choose whether (and how) people can reach you via the FaceTime video chat service. Based on your Apple ID, Apple lists the e-mail addresses that folks can use when they want to initiate a FaceTime call. But if you don't like the addresses listed, you can deselect them there. FaceTime does audio chats too, often with a better connection than a cellular phone call.

To turn off the iPad, do this:

  1. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until a red arrow appears at the top of the screen.

  2. Drag the arrow from the left to the right with your finger.

    Tap Cancel at the bottom of the screen if you change your mind.

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