How to set up your new iPad the right way

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2018 iPad Pro unboxing
Have you got yours yet?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Oh man! You just got your amazing new iPad Pro, tore it out of the box, and wondered how you tricked somebody into  dropping $130 on that tiny white Apple Pencil. Now it’s time to get things set up. Thankfully, this is an easy process, especially if you already use an iPhone or iPad with iCloud.

So easy, in fact, that there are just a few things you need to do to move from your old iPad to a new one, or to migrate from an iPhone. And setting up a new iPad Pro from scratch isn’t much harder — gone are the days of manually copying passwords just to get to the home screen.

Still, following these iPad Pro setup and customization tips will make sure you get the most out of your new machine. Let’s get started.

Set up your new iPhone from scratch the right way

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iPhone Xs
Get your new iPhone set up the right way.
Photo: Apple

For many people, the iPhone 11 will be radically different from previous iPhones. Despite this, the iPhone setup process hasn’t changed much. However, while you might find yourself on familiar ground, there are still plenty of little things you really ought to do before you fire up your new phone for the first time (or pretty soon thereafter). Let’s take a look at how to set up your new iPhone 11 the right way.

How to drag and drop bookmarklets to the iPad’s bookmarks bar

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Bookmarklets IRL.
Bookmarklets IRL.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Every time I’ve written about bookmarklets, I’ve had to add a section on how to add them to Safari in iOS. On the Mac, you just drag them up to the bookmark bar, and you’re done. On iOS, the situation was so complex that I wrote a whole how-to just so I could link to that, instead of writing several paragraphs every time. But there is a way to drag and drop bookmarklets on iOS.

I’ve tested it on iOS 12 and iOS 13, and it’s amazing.

What to do when your iOS backup is newer than your iPhone’s OS

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The wait for iOS 12.1 public beta 5 was so short you could have napped through it.
Running an iOS beta can cause problems when you get a new device.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Everyone in Apple’s beta program is running a pre-release version of the next iOS version. Which is great, until you get a new iPhone or iPad. Then you can’t restore the new device from the backup made on your previous one because the old device is running a newer OS.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic — there are a couple of possible solutions. We’ll walk you through both.

How to control what your iPhone backs up to iCloud

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icloud backup
Keep things safe with iCloud backup.
Photo: Gabriel Wasylko/Unsplash

Are you getting ready for a new iPhone? Running out of iCloud storage space? Living with a slow internet connection? Worried about privacy? In any of these cases, you might want to exclude some apps from your iCloud backups. Doing so will save iCloud storage space, conserve bandwidth and make sure your data does not go to Apple’s servers, where it may or may not be vulnerable to decryption.

The good news is that it’s easy to exclude pretty much anything you like from your iCloud backups in iOS. Here’s how.

Here’s the quickest way to tidy up your Apple Wallet

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Keeping your Apple Wallet passes as souvenirs? Don't bother.
Keeping your Apple Wallet passes as souvenirs? Don't bother.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

My real wallet is a shrine to minimalism. A bit of cash, a few cards, and zero old receipts or spent metro tickets. I keep it slimline, even with the aggressively European coin pocket included therein. My Apple Wallet, on the other hand, is as cluttered as the horizontal surfaces in my mother’s house, covered as they are with crystal animals, photo frames and lace doilies.

The problem is twofold. First, Apple Wallet never gets thicker, no matter how many cinema tickets and boarding passes you stuff in there. Second, how do you remove all those passes anyway? One at a time, with a swipe and a tap and a confirmation for each? No thanks.

Fortunately, there’s a (slightly) quicker way.

Stop Apple’s spam notifications with this hidden setting

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Nobody likes spam. Here's how to stop Apple spam notifications, i.e. marketing notifications.
Nobody likes spam. Nobody.
Photo: Jesper Sehested/Flickr CC

On a podcast this week, I heard the hosts complaining that they get all kinds of spam notifications from Apple. Their iPhones pop up promotional alerts about Apple Pay, apps, Apple Music, Apple Pay, podcasts and more.

“WTF?” I thought, because I don’t get anything like that. I checked through my notification preferences, sure that I’d find something in there, but no. So why wasn’t I getting all this Apple spam?

Because Apple hid the setting. You can turn off all those junky Apple spam notifications. You just have to know where to look.

How to save gigabytes of data while traveling

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Nothing says
Nothing says "freedom" and "pioneer spirit" like a creepy abandoned canoe.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Summer! That time of year where you stay in somebody else’s home via Airbnb, crank up their air conditioning and wear a sweater in the house, even though it’s 90 degrees outside. Aka the season where you leave the limitless comfort of your home Wi-Fi, to venture out into the world using just a restricted cellular plan.

Summer revives that old pioneering spirit of hardship, the bare essentials of living, and of making do with whatever you have. And just like the original English and Spanish invaders of the modern-day United States, you’ll have to do without the comforts of on-demand GPS and automatic app updates.

Today we’ll see how you can stretch your meager data allowance while traveling.

How to create and delete alarms and timers with Siri

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Even Siri can manage to set alarms and timers without screwing it up.
Even Siri can manage to set alarms and timers without screwing it up.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Siri may still be hopeless, but one thing it’s always been good at is setting alarms. In fact, I don’t use Siri much at all any more1, but for alarms and timers, I use it exclusively. Even with iOS 12’s great 3-D Touch timer widget, Siri is quicker.

Today we’ll see how to tell Siri to create an alarm, set a timer, how to edit an alarm, and how to delete one.

How to sanitize your Safari history on iOS

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Here’s one piece of history we don’t want to erase.
Here’s one piece of history we don’t want to erase.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Have you got some embarrassing entries in your Safari browsing history? Or maybe it’s a question of security: You don’t want your iPad’s history to fall into the wrong hands, etc.

Smutty jokes aside, there are plenty of legit reasons to clear your Safari history on your iPhone or iPad. And the good news is that Safari for iOS has some great tools for doing so. For example, did you know that you can clear just the last hour of browsing history, or the past couple of days?

Get ready to learn how to sanitize your Safari history on iOS devices.