Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Preventing iPad theft in Coffee Shops

The iPad’s physical portability and practical versatility makes it perfect for doing a little out-of-office work at your favorite coffee place. Unfortunately, these same traits also make it an ideal target for thieves.

Here are a few tips for keeping your iPad from getting stolen while you’re out an about:

  1. Keep it by Your Side.
  2. Most coffee shops call your name when your drink is ready, and in those seemingly short seconds when you are getting your order, someone could easily grab your tablet and walk out the door with impunity. So, remember the iPad’s portability when you go to get your drink and take it with you.
    Also, don’t be afraid to take the iPad with you on a bathroom break. Sorry if I’ve just given all you mysophobes nightmares for the next week. Try wrapping your iPad in paper towels and laying it on a secure, stable surface (like a changing table) if you’re in an open-door restroom meant for multiple customers at once. I’ve found that most coffee shops have the one-at-a-time variety with lockable doors, in which case you can just lay the tablet on some paper towels covering the sink or other dry flat surface.

  3. Forge Alliances.
  4. If you become a ‘regular’ at a coffee shop, it won’t be long before you get to know the other regulars as well. I know quite a few regulars at my local Starbucks since I’m here all the time, and we all trust each other to watch our stuff if we need to step out for a phone call or use the facilities.

  5. Go Small.
  6. Without falling into the fallacy that smaller towns are inherently safer than big cities (statistically, they aren’t), using a smaller coffee shop can be to your advantage, especially if you slip up on step 1 and suddenly find yourself away from the iPad at the drink counter or restroom. Just keep your stuff in your eyeline, and try to park it within sight of a security camera. Smaller shops also make it easier to recognize your fellow regulars so that you can look out for each other.

Ultimately, theft prevention is about awareness. Be aware of your surroundings, know your fellow coffee-drinkers, and be safe out there.
Have any safety tips of your own? Email me – editor[at] .


Copy Text with the iPad

Deceptively Simple

Copying text is pretty simple on a regular computer – just click, drag, Ctrl+C! The iPad, however, had continually frustrated my efforts with its tendency to highlight entire paragraphs when I just wanted a sentence or two, leaving me to delete several lines of text. But then I discovered a simple technique that for some reason never came up in any of my searches.

Keep in mind that this works in Chrome and Safari, but your mileage will vary in other apps (like the Kindle App).

Step 1: Select One Word

First, press your fingertip against the first word in the chain you want to copy. This will select the word, turning it blue, and you should notice a blue circle at its top left and bottom right. For my example, I have chosen President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, copied from Wikipedia.

Gettysburg Address via

Step 2: Drag The Circles

Now, press your fingertip onto the bottom right circle and drag your finger over the rest of the text you want to copy. If it’s a big block, you can move your finger straight down, as the selection will follow the text just like it would with a mouse. When you lift your finger off the screen, the text should still be highlighted.

Gettysburg Address with text selected

If you find that you selected the wrong first word, you can likewise drag the top left circle and move the selection to the left to grab that sneaky word.

Always Grab the Blue Circles to Extend Your Selection

Step 3: Copy

This varies a little depending on the browser you’re using. In Safari, a simple Command+C will copy the text (assuming you’re using a keyboard and not the touchscreen). Chrome seems a bit finicky about using a keyboard, so it’s best to tap on one of the blue circles to bring up a menu (similar to the right-click menus in Windows). Tap “Copy” and you’re good to go.

Step 4: Paste

When you’ve copied the text, switch apps (or tabs, if it’s meant for something browser-based) and use Command+V if you’re using a physical keyboard. If you’re using the touchscreen, or if the App in question doesn’t see to like taking orders from a keyboard, press and hold your finger for a few seconds (or double-tap with your finger) on the space where you want to paste. A little “Paste” button should pop up: select it and the text should paste. Now you can format it, blockquote it, or just celebrate a job well done.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

If you are among the “fat-fingered” variety of people like I am, you may find this process has a bit of a learning curve. Keep at it! Practice it and be patient with both your device and yourself. It will get easier – within a few days of discovering this method, I had mastered it and haven’t lost a selection since.

If you stumble upon any time-saving tips like this, email me: editor[at] .

Extend iPad Battery Life

Long Live the Battery!

The iPad’s battery life is one of the primary reasons I chose it as my primary digital productivity tool. I work on it for 8 hours straight and it still has about 30-40% power left at the end of the day, so my wife and I can enjoy streaming a movie, playing some games, doing some research, really whatever we want to do. The advertised battery life is “up to 10 hours,” but I’ve gotten more like 12 to 14 hours out of it using a few power-saving tips.

  1. Turn the Brightness Down! This tip alone will extend your battery life by hours on a single charge. Go into the Settings Menu and tap “Brightness & Wallpaper” on the left-hand column, move that slider to the left as far as you can handle. Don’t go too crazy: really anything around a quarter to a third of its maximum brightness should suffice.
  2. Turn Unnecessary Connections Off! If you’re planning on using an App that doesn’t require an Internet connection, turn your Wifi off in Settings>Wifi. Likewise, if you’re not using your bluetooth connection (e.g. watching a video or playing a game requiring only the touchscreen), turn it off in Settings>Bluetooth. Time-Saver:If you’re using something that requires neither Wifi nor Bluetooth, just turn on Airplane Mode, which is at the top of the leftside menu in the Settings.
  3. Unplug it! If your iPad is only down to 80% at the end of the day, there’s no reason to charge it back up to the full 100% overnight. The chargers are small and portable should you really need them, and it wears on the overall batter life to continually keep the charge up to 100% all the time. Charge it when you need to, and if you really need to continue working on it when it’s down to 5%, go ahead and plug it in. Otherwise, wait until it’s at 20% or lower before giving it the full treatment.
iPad: What Shall We Get Done Today?

Have you discovered any great battery life tips? Write them in the comments section, or drop me a line: editor[at] !

Reset Your iPad

Resetting the iPad

A brief tutorial on how to reset your iPad. If your device is acting funny (apps crashing, becoming slower, etc.), consider resetting it as a solution.

Step 1:

Hold down the Power button (on top by the rear-facing camera) and Home button (on the opposite end of from the front-facing camera) at the same time until your iPad’s screen goes black and then displays the Apple Logo.

Step 2:

Wait for the device to boot up (usually about 20 seconds). Once the security keypad appears, you’re done.

While it probably won’t solve every problem, I have yet to encounter an iPad problem that it couldn’t solve for me. After I reset, it’s usually faster and more responsive, and I don’t have Apps crashing on me.


App Updates: Avoiding Incompatibilty

App Compatibility can be a huge problem for early-model users (iPad 1 or 2). While the differences between adjacent generations are usually minor (an upgraded display between 1 and 2, and updated processor between 2 and 3, better graphics between 3 and 4), this makes the differences between 1 and 4 rather numerous and potentially problematic.


No one wants to lose data or become suddenly unable to use something that they paid for, so here are 4 tips to make sure that you preserve your App compatibility:

  1. Read the Update Notes for warning signs
  2. Look for red-flag phrases like “updated Graphics for the iPad 4” or “may be incompatible with iPad 1.” I know that reading through update notes probably isn’t your idea of a fantastic Friday night, but it’s better to be bored by a few paragraphs of technical jargon than screaming at an inanimate machine that cannot feel your hatred. Check the notes carefully before you tap the Update button.

  3. Wait a few days before installing the update
  4. If you didn’t see any red-flag phrases in the Update notes, you still might want to wait a few days before you roll the dice. Especially if you have the iPad 1, don’t be in a hurry to do something that might render your valuable, productive app into an unstable mess.

  5. Do your research while you wait
  6. Don’t spend those few days hoping, praying, and wishing upon a star – do some research! I recommend visiting the App’s store page and checking the latest reviews to see if any other users had difficulty after the most recent update (they’re usually pretty vocal about this). Also, do a Google search for the App name and phrases like “crashes after update,” or “won’t launch anymore.” If you find these, you may want to just get comfortable with the version that you have.

  7. Email the App designer and ask direct questions.
  8. This can have mixed results, but I have found that companies that produce productivity apps in particular are eager to flex their customer service muscle and answer your questions. Find their company website and the relevant email address or form. Ask them point blank whether their app will work on your model of iPad, and if they waffle on the answer, ask them if they’ll refund you what you paid for the app if the update kills its compatibility.

Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to preserve your App’s usability and keep yourself from unnecessary frustration.