Getting to know the iPad ( For Seniors )

If you’re reading this then it’s very likely that you’ve just bought your first iPad. This handy little device does an extraordinary number of different things that are designed to make your day to day life easier and more entertaining! Not only will your iPad help you get organised, it will put you in touch with your friends and family (wherever they are in the world), it will take photos, book your holidays for you and provide you with the books, films and music of your choice, whenever you want them. In this blog post, we’re going to explore the apps that come as standard, as well as the settings and controls that will help you make the most of your iPad.

Buttons on the iPad

To operate the iPad, you will will need to press lightly directly onto the touchscreen. Unlike traditional computers, you won’t need a mouse. You simply touch whatever you’d like to view. The keyboard that you will use to type words onto your iPad, will appear on the screen when it’s required.

There are a couple of external buttons that you’ll need. The first is the home button, which is a square button in the centre of the iPad frame, just below the screen. This button will take you back to the homescreen, no matter how many different apps or websites you have open. The other is the Sleep / Wake button. It’s basically an on / off button that is on the side of your iPad, on the top right. It sits just above the volume controls. Additionally, outside the screen, you’ll find a slot in which you can insert headphones and a slot in which you can insert you docking cable (to put your iPad on charge.)

Getting to grips with the apps

Below is an image of an iPad screen. It probably looks similar to your iPad. I’m going to now go through the various apps and explain what each one does.


This app allows you to send a message to anybody else with the iMessages service. That means anybody else who has an iPad or iPhone. Choose from your contacts or add a phone number or email address in order to send an immediate message to somebody else.

Standard apps


It’s possible to view your calendar by day, week, month or year, simply by selecting your preference from the top menu. To add an event to your calendar, tap on the day the event will be happening and the keyboard will appear, allowing you to type in the details. Your iPad will send you a notification of the event before it happens and it’s also possible to set up shared calendars with friends and family.


Notes and reminders

Notes provides you a blank sheet in which you can write down any necessary information. Reminders allows you to make a to-do list and assign it to a certain day.


The maps app can help you find a place anywhere in the world. It can pinpoint a single location and display it in a number of different ways. You can view the location in its immediate vicinity ie the surrounding streets, or you can zoom out until you can see where the location is in the world. You can view it as a cross on a map, or for many locations, “Maps” will be able to provide you with an accurate image of it.

Another extremely useful feature of “Maps” is its ability to give directions from one place to another, for those travelling on foot, by public transport, or driving in a car. It also be used as a satellite navigation system.



This clock will give you the time around the world as well as your local time. You can also set an alarm time here.

Videos and Photos

This is where your videos and photos will be stored respectively when you take them.


This an address book, where you can store the details of people you know

Game Centre

Whether you’re keen on shooting games or scrabble, this is where you’ll find the games you’ve bought. Games can be bought from the App store.


Newsstand is where you will find the newspapers and magazines to which you’ve subscribed. The latest edition of your subscriptions will be delivered automatically to here. You can purchase your subscriptions from the iTunes store.


iTunes and App stores

These are the online Apple shops where you can buy TV shows, films, books and music (iTunes Stores) as well as games and any number of apps. (App store) Once you have attached a credit card to your iPad in “Settings”, anything you buy in these stores will be automatically downloaded into the relevant app to enable you to view, read, listen to or play it.

iTunes Store

App Store


Your iPad has a camera that is capable of taking photos and videos of both yourself and others. It has two lenses, one at the back and one at the front, which you can use depending on whom is the subject of your photo. It’s also possible to add a number of different effects to the photos you take.



FaceTime is Apple’s video messaging service. It will allow you to make a video call to anybody else with an Apple device and speak to them in real time.

Video messaging


This is where you can send and receive emails. If you already have an email account with another provider, you can set up this app, so that it sends and receives emails from that account.


Safari is Apple’s web browser. This where you can access the internet.


The settings app is where you can make all the personal touches to your iPad user experiences. You can switch off adult content, block cookies, attach a credit card and switch various preferences on and off. Should you struggle with using the iPad conventionally, it’s worth mentioning that there are several features that may help you feel more comfortable using the iPad. For example Siri is the voice activation system for those find it easier not to use the touchscreen. For a full list of the different settings designede to help the less-abled, please have a look at my blog post “Settings that will improve your user experience.” (Link)


This has been an overview of the basic functions of the iPad. You will be able to find more detailed descriptions of individual apps and controls in other posts.