https://beisdigital.blog.gov.uk/2014/08/05/free-apple-courses/

One of Apple's greatest offerings is absolutely free

‘The best things in life are free’ sang Luther Vandross. Come on you remember Luther Vandross, 80's / 90's RnB singer …no?

Well I’d recommend you look him up via Google, download his music on iTunes, watch his video's using YouTube all on your iPad (assuming you have one). The full capabilities of the iPad and more were unpacked as I sat in the free user workshop conducted by an enthusiastic Apple employee at the flagship store in London's Regent Street.

The content of the workshop was suitably pitched at those in attendance, which was a real assortment of ages, and judging from the questions asked, a mix of expertise too. What was striking was the lack of hard sell techniques related to Apple products. Delivered upstairs in Apple’s Amphitheatre the workshop, in which you were invited to follow along using your own iPad, covered navigation, installing apps, app management, prolonging the iPad’s battery life and using SIRI effectively.

On app management, if you are working in a team where there are lots of apps downloaded on a device why not theme these by grouping them into folders to de-clutter your screen by carrying out the following:

  1. Hold the apps icon until a small x appears in the corner of it
  2. Holding the app simply move it on top of an app with a similar theme ie drag Twitter's app on top of the Facebook app
  3. Once you let go this will put these in a folder which you can then title

As I mentioned the workshop widely covered the basics but in doing so gave an insight into some of the basic functionalities that led to several ‘aha’ moments for this scribe. For example, when using SIRI most people tend to use single words or short form sentences to set SIRI a task. From the examples given and the requests made by the workshops presenter the more conversational you are in your requests the more likely you are to receive a pinpoint accurate answer. So, instead of asking SIRI to ‘recommend movies’ ask instead ‘What are the movies that are available to watch near me today’

If, like me, Apple's battery hungry devices infuriate you when you see the battery percentage creeping down to 0% then simply turn apps off which, for your convenience, run in the background whilst you attend to other things on your iPad. To do this quickly use the basic bullet pointed guide below.  Apps tend to run in the background even when you think you have closed them down...word to the wise they are not closed even when they appear to be

  1. Double press the iPad home button
  2. Swipe to your left until you reach the offending app
  3. Swipe upwards whilst touching the app and it will dissappear meaning that it is completely closed down

The session finished up with a rather generous beyond basics question and answer session, and whilst the workshop’s original running time was an hour the lively audience kept the presenter busy an extra 20 minutes. I had my own burning questions related to saving items to the iPad. Whether they be pdf documents or text files it would seem that iPads’ rather counter intuitively do not easily allow you to quickly save and retrieve these formats. This may well be a thing of the past when the new iOS is launched later this year, however, for now Apple allows you to save these formats using third party apps namely iBook and Pages.

All in all the workshop was a valuable experience as on the face of it you would assume you know all there is to know about running your iPad, which begged the question, what could I possibly pick up to enhance my user experience? It was refreshing to discover little hints and tips that make for a smoother user journey and have the old adage re-affirmed that ‘the best things in life are free’.

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