How to Work the iPad Buttons

Part of the iPad For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Using the Apple iPad is fairly intuitive, but if you want to save time, have a look at the following iPad buttons that you'll use frequently:

  • The sleep/wake button: This button is on the top of your iPad, and you use it to put your iPad's screen to sleep or wake it up.

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  • Home button/Touch ID sensor (iPad 2 and iPad mini only): No matter what you're doing, you can press the Home button at any time to display the Home screen on your iPad. If you have an iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3, your Home button doubles as a Touch ID sensor, and you can use your fingerprint (or a passcode) to unlock your phone and authenticate purchases.

  • App icons: Each icon shown on the touchscreen launches an iPad app. Twenty apps come with your iPad, and you can add more (many are free) by downloading them from the App Store.

  • Front camera: The front camera comes in handy when you’re FaceTime chatting. It's not particularly good for taking still photos.

  • Rear camera: iPads have a better camera (than the one in front) on the backside, just below the sleep/wake button. The iPad 2's rear camera captures decent video at 720p and shoots fair-to-middling stills; all other iPads have rear cameras that are better than the front one and shoot superb HD video at 1080p as well as take very nice stills.

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  • Volume up and volume down buttons: The upper button increases the volume; the lower button decreases it.

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  • Ring/silent switch: When the switch is set to silent mode — the down position, with an orange dot visible on the switch — your iPad doesn't make any sound when you receive new mail or an alert pops up on the screen.

    Note that the ring/silent switch doesn't silence what you think of as "expected" sounds, which are sounds you expect to hear in a particular app. Therefore, it doesn't silence the iTunes or Videos apps, nor will it mute games and other apps that emit noises. About the only thing the ring/silent switch mutes are "unexpected" sounds, such as those associated with notifications from apps or the iPad operating system (iOS).

    If the switch doesn't mute your notification sounds when engaged (that is, you can see the little orange dot on the switch), look for the following little screen orientation icon to the left of the battery icon near the top of your screen:

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    If you see this icon when you flick the ring/silent switch, you’ve selected the Lock Rotation option in the Settings app’s General pane.

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