Touchscreen Tips for Surfing Your iPad - dummies

Touchscreen Tips for Surfing Your iPad

The case in favor of crowning the iPad and iPad mini the best web surfing appliances ever isn’t hard to make: they’re blazingly fast, render most sites perfectly, and the large screens mean that you almost always see a complete (horizontally, at least) view of the regular version of each page, rather than a partial view, or an ugly, dumbed-down mobile version.

But what really sets iPad and iPad mini web surfing apart, not only from other tablets, but also from desktop, notebook, and netbook computers, is the touchscreen. With other devices, although you can click links and fill in forms, the page is really a static entity that just sits there.

However, with the iPad and iPad mini (as well as their smaller touchscreen cousins, the iPhone and iPod touch), you can zoom in and out of the page by spreading and pinching your fingers. You can also pan the page by flicking a finger in the direction that you want to go. You really feel as though you’re not just interacting with the web page, but manipulating it with your bare hands!

The touchscreen is the key to efficient and fun web surfing on your tablet, so the following is a little collection of touchscreen tips that ought to make your web excursions even easier and more pleasurable:

  • Double-tap. A quick way to zoom in on a page that has various sections is to double-tap the specific section — be it an image, a paragraph, a table, or a column of text — that you want magnified. Safari enlarges the section to fill the width of the screen; double-tap again to return the page to the regular view.

    The double-tap-to-zoom trick works only on pages that have identifiable sections. If a page is just a wall of text, you can double-tap until the cows come home (that’s a long time) and nothing much happens.

  • One tap to the top. If you’re reading a particularly long-winded web page and are near the bottom, you may have quite a long way to scroll if you need to head back to the top of the page. Save the wear and tear on your flicking finger! Instead, tap the page title, which appears just above the address/search box, and Safari immediately transports you to the top of the page.

  • Tap and hold to see where a link takes you. You click a link in a web page by tapping it with your finger. In a regular web browser, you can see where a link takes you by hovering the mouse pointer over it and checking the URL in the status bar. That doesn’t work on your tablet, but you can still find the URL of a link before tapping it. Hold your finger on the link for a few seconds and Safari displays a pop-up screen that shows the link address, as shown.

    If the link looks legit, either tap Open to surf there in the current browser page, or tap Open in New Tab to start a fresh page. If you decide not to go there, tap anywhere outside of the pop-up screen.


  • Tap and hold to make a copy of a link address. If you want to include a link address in another app, such as a note or an e-mail message, you can copy it. Tap and hold your finger on the link for a few seconds, and Safari displays the pop-up screen. Tap Copy to place the link address into memory, switch to the other app, tap the cursor, and then tap Paste.

  • Quick access to common top-level domains. A top-level domain (TLD) is the part of the domain name that comes after the last dot. For example, in, the .com part is the TLD. You might think you have to type them the old-fashioned way. Nope! Tap and hold the period (.) key, and a pop-up appears with keys for .us, .org, .edu, .com, and .net. Just slide your finger over the one you want (or release to choose the default, which is .com).