iOS 7 does let you set up your iPad computer-free (and as such, you’re not required to sync your iPad with a computer running iTunes). Synchronizing your iPad with iTunes on a Mac or PC provides three main benefits over computer-free iPad use.
iTunes makes it easier to manage your media — your music, movies, apps, and so on — than managing it directly on your iPad.
Managing your iPad’s contents with iTunes provides numerous options that you won’t find anywhere on your iPad.
Managing your iPad’s apps and home screen layouts is much easier in iTunes than on your iPad.
Synchronizing your iPad with your computer is a lot like syncing an iPod or iPhone with your computer. Follow these steps:
Start by connecting your iPad to your computer with the USB cable that came with your iPad.
When you connect your iPad to your computer, iTunes should launch automatically. If it doesn’t, chances are that you plugged the cable into a USB port on your keyboard, monitor, or hub. Try plugging it into one of the USB ports on your computer instead.
If you prefer to sync wirelessly (although it can be noticeably slower), just launch iTunes manually.
Click the iPad button just below the Search field.
If you use more than one iDevice with this computer, the button will say the number of devices (for example, 5 Devices) rather than iPad. Click the button to display a drop-down list and select the device you want.
The Welcome to Your New iPad screen appears
Click Set Up as New iPad or select a backup from the Restore from This Backup drop-down menu and then click Continue.
The Sync with iTunes screen appears.
Click the Get Started button.
The iPad screen appears.
Click the Summary tab near the top of the window.
If you don’t see a Summary tab, make sure your iPad is still connected. If you don’t see its name near the top-left corner of the iTunes window, go back to Step 3 and try again.
(Optional) If you want to rename your iPad, click its name and type a new one.
From the Summary pane, you can set any options that you want from the Options area:
Open iTunes When This iPad Is Connected check box: Select this option if you want iTunes to launch automatically whenever you connect your iPad to your computer.
If you do choose to enable it, iTunes launches and synchronizes automatically every time you connect your iPad.
If you do select the Open iTunes When This iPad Is Connected check box but don’t want your iPad to sync automatically every time it’s connected, launch iTunes and choose iTunes→Preferences (Mac) or Edit→Preferences (PC). Click the Devices tab at the top of the window and select the Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from Syncing Automatically check box.
This method prevents your iPad from syncing automatically, even if the Open iTunes When This iPad Is Connected option is selected. If you choose this option, you can sync your iPad by clicking the Sync or Apply button that appears in the lower-right corner of the iTunes window when your iPad is selected in the sidebar.
Sync with This iPad Over Wi-Fi: If you want to sync automatically over your Wi-Fi connection, select this check box.
If you choose to sync wirelessly, your iPad and computer must be on the same Wi-Fi network and your iPad must be plugged into a power source for syncing to occur.
Sync Only Checked Songs and Video: If you want to sync only items that have check marks to the left of their names in your iTunes library, select this check box.
Prefer Standard Definition Videos: If you want high-definition videos you import to be automatically converted into smaller standard-definition video files when you transfer them to your iPad, select this check box.
Standard-definition video files are significantly smaller than high-definition video files. You’ll hardly notice the difference when you watch the video on your iPad (unless it’s an iPad with a Retina display, in which case you’ll almost certainly notice), but you can have more video files on your iPad because they take up less space.
If you plan to use Apple’s Digital AV Adapter (choose the dock version or Lightning version, as appropriate), or Apple TV ($99) to display movies on an HDTV, consider going with high definition. Although the files will be bigger and your iPad will hold fewer videos, the HD versions look spectacular on a big-screen TV.
Convert Higher Bit Rate Songs to 128 Kbps AAC: If you want songs with bit rates higher than 128 Kbps converted into smaller 128-Kbps AAC files when you transfer them to your iPad, select this check box.
A higher bit rate means that the song will have better sound quality but use a lot of storage space. Songs that you buy at the iTunes Store or on Amazon, for example, have bit rates of around 256 Kbps. So a 4-minute song with a 256-Kbps bit rate is around 8MB; convert it to 128-Kbps AAC, and it’s roughly half that size (that is, around 4MB), while sounding almost as good.
Manually Manage Music and Videos: To turn off automatic syncing in the Music and Video panes, select this check box.
One more thing: If you decide to select the Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from Syncing Automatically check box on the Devices tab in iTunes Preferences (that’s iTunes→Preferences on a Mac and Edit→Preferences on a PC), you can still synchronize manually by clicking the Sync or Apply button in the lower-right corner of the window.