iPad Starter Guide for a Windows User ( Specially a First time Apple User )

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My Brother in Law got a new iPad 2 and had sent across a couple of queries which I am answering through this post. Keeping in mind  that he uses Windows and this is First Apple product he is using, I am writing this guide for any iPad starter which will be helpful for anybody riding the same boat..  Below are the sections that are covered.

Apple Products are designed not be used the way we want but a path need to be followed. Probably its difficult being a Windows users where we can install anything and twist around stuff but things are bit different here.  ( Hearing your friends asking to Jailbreak your iPad, Wait for it )


First Thing First :

Get your iPad Ready : Charge your iPad once you have unpacked it. If possible for next Eight hours though I wasn’t patient enough for that duration.

Download iTunes on your computer: ( Link ) : iTunes is basically a media organizer on your computer which can play video, help you buy songs and so on but also a connector for transferring movies, music, images and applications to your iPad.

Create your account with iTunes  ( Apple ID ) : This can be done directly from iTunes > Store > Create Account or you can do it online. If you are wondering why you need this then understand this as your ticket to buy apps, music, videos, authorizing your iTunes on your computer and so on. You will understand it more as you use it.

Create Apple Id using iTunes

When you create an account with Apple, you are required to key in your details like address, name etc. You can also add your payment details, which is optional, which will be used if you buy a paid software, music, video from the iTunes. For free product you will not be charged but you will be asked to fill in your payment details where you can choose none.

iTunes Account Payment Information

If you are wondering it is safe to add, then it is and every time you make a purchase, a password will be asked for even downloading a free stuff, so its even safer.

Apple id Password prompt for free apps

One thing you should know is that every App Store is country based. So if there is an app for US you cannot buy it if you have an Indian Account.  However this can be bypassed by creating a account with US address and selecting None as Payment. This will help you at least download free apps from that store.

Clearing Doubts :

Question : iPad2 does not get recognized as a drive when connected to a laptop. So, how do I transfer music (MP3), photos (JPEGs) or videos (.Divx, Xvid).

Answer : iPad is not like any other smart phone which can be detected as hard drive so you can copy paste anything you want. Its more like closed box which gives access to only images stores in your iPad which you can copy but cannot delete or add any more.

The only way in and out is iTunes or through some third party software which I will point out later, the one I have used.

Learning a bit about iTunes :

iTunes is like Windows Media Player for Apple Products. You can add music and videos to it, play, create playlist and so on. To add your music and video collections, click on File > Add File to Library or Add Folder to Library.This will import all your digital media. You can click on Music and Video sections to see it.

Add Video and Music to iTunes

The second thing I will recommend you to do is create PlayList of your  favorite songs unless you are not constrained by storage space. iTunes can even import playlist you have created in Windows Media Player or any other software. The advantage of importing playlist is you need not to add music to your iTunes and when you want to sync with your iPad, it would  be very handy.

Importing Playlist into iTunes

iTunes is lot more than this but if  you are using it for the first time this is enough to get you started.

Basic apps of iPad you should know :

  • App Store : Used to buy and download apps from Apple App Store to your iPad.
  • iTunes : Used for buying and downloading music, videos from iTunes Music Store.
  • iPod : Used for listening to music  from your computer or music on your iPad.
  • Videos : Used for watching videos on your iPad
  • YouTube :  An excellent
  • Photos: Used for viewing images in sideshow or normal with option to delete and do basic editing. Any images taken using your iPad will be stored in the Albums section.
  • Notes :  This is like Wordpad on your Windows but bit more sophisticated yet, limited.
  • Settings : Unlike Windows, Settings is a central place for configuring Global Options for that iPad.
  • Game  Center : This is like Game Explorer in Windows where you can add friends and see all the scores for the games you have played till day.
  • Calendar, Mail ,Contacts, Maps are what they say!!.

Must Know iPad Apps

Clearing Doubt :

Question : When I start iTunes on my iPad, it does not recognize either my laptop or any USBs connected to my laptop. It needs internet and hence looks like it cant be used as a standalone Software on iPad.

Answer : You need to use iPod to play music and videos. iTunes unlike iTunes on your desktop can only buy music but cannot play it. Any music downloaded from iTunes on your iPad will automatically appear in your iPod.

The Next Obvious thing : Getting your Photo, Music and Video into iPad

  • Connect your iPad to your computer using the USB cable that came along. In Windows it will be detected as Digital Camera and in fact the arrangement of folders which you will see in that is similar to most of the handycams and  digicams.
  • Launch iTunes and you will see your iPad getting detected with an eject button next to it. Dont press it, just not yet.

iPad in iTunes and Windows

Click on your iPad under Devices in iTunes.  What you will see on the right hand screen are the details about your iPad and Storage Capacity details at the bottom of that. The storage details are nicely detailed with colours to help you know what is occupying your data more.

Copying Music / Videos to iPad :

  • Click on the Music Tab. Select Sync Music. It might warn you that all existing music on your iPad will be replaced by songs in your library. If this is the first time dont worry much, say yes.
  • Next you need to make choice either to copy entire music collection or only selected Artists, Albums, Genres or PlayList ( Now you know why I asked you create or import one )

iTunes music import to iPadOnce you are done, click on the Sync Button and it will take all the music to your iPad. Revert to cancel. Similar procedure applies to Video and Movies.

Copying Image to iPad :

Select the Photos Tab and click on check box which says Sync Photos from. You will get a warning, ignore it. First you need to select a root folder where you have all your photos are organized. If not you will have to. Problem is iTunes doesnt allow to sync photos from different folders but if you want only selected folder from a particular folder you can do that.

Importing Photos to iPad

Click on Apply Button and images will be copied to your iPad. Now you can use the Photos app to watch them.

Video / Audio Format Supported by iTunes

iTunes can convert MP3, AIFF, WAV, MPEG-4, AAC (.m4a). Once you drag and drop files, it will automatically convert them  into proper format before sending to iPad.

Though most of the time you will need not to do anything but if you want to create an iPad Version of a particular video, select the video > Advanced > Create iPad or  Apple TV version. This will create another copy of your video and you can transfer it to your iPad.  You can verify this by following the instructions here

Converting Video to iPad Version

This answers the question where you asked “I learnt that the regular video formats do not work on iPad and hence will need to be converted first. Even if I convert them, how do I transfer them to my iPad.”

Importing Mail Settings, Contacts and Calendar into iPad

If you are using Windows, chances are that you do use Outlook. You can use the sync feature to import Outlook settings into iPad. This feature is on the Summary tab when you connect your iPad to iTunes.

When I say importing it means it will only import the configuration from Outlook and then you will have to provide password to download your emails again.This feature is really a boon when you have lot of email accounts configure and you dont have waste a minute to configure them on your iPad.

Sync Mail Accounts from Outlook to iPad

You can even import contacts from Outlook, Gmail, Windows or Yahoo Address Book.  Follow the detailed tutorial on How to import Outlook Settings into iPad

Making your iPad and Computer work over a WiFi Network :

Your iPad has capability to connect with your iTunes on your computer. It in fact allows you to stream movies, videos from your computer to iTunes. To use this feature you should have your computer and iPad connected over Wi-Fi using a router. If you do not have physical router but if you have a Windows 7 Machine, you can turn it into a WiFi hotspot either manually or using a free software.

Watching Videos and Listening Music from Computer to iPad :

  • Use iTunes Home Sharing feature : Using this feature you can watch videos on your iTunes on your iPad. What it does is make your iTunes Library files available to your iPad in iPod and Video App. All you need is hit the play button and relax. Follow the detailed tutorial on How to setup iTunes Home Sharing feature with iPad, iPhone and iPod

iPod Album Selection

  • Now since there is a limitation on what video and audio format iTunes can play and if you do not want to import all video files first to iTunes for watching it on your iPad, we do have an alternate option.  There is a free app, ZumoCast where you can add a folder,containing video,  to its window client and install the iPad version on your iPad and then watch videos. It supports variety of format and the app act like video streaming point so you dont have to worry much about conversion.  Follow the detailed tutorial on How to setup Zumocast to watch video on your iPad from Windows.

ZumoCast Videos

Managing Apps on iPad

Everything on iPad is an app. Right from notes to a calculator to settings. To download new apps you can use either use App Store on iPad or iTunes on your Desktop. It is also possible to transfer apps from iPad to your Desktop and vice versa.

If you buy and download apps from within the iPad:

  • If you download all your apps on iPad itself you save your self from syncing which takes a lot of time because it includes backup.
  • When you buy apps from your device, it makes check on the compatibility with the device. This way you don’t end-up paying for wrong apps.

If you use iTunes :

  • You can do it even when you device is not there with you.
  • When you download heavy apps, like in GB’s, Computer is faster than iPad.
  • Useful when it comes to mass update.

But iTunes will break your folder arrangements on iPad. For example if you have moved some apps from one screen to another or have grouped couple of similar apps into a folder, iTunes will not keep it that way. Though there is a way to fix this problem but you will need to repeat it every time you sync. Follow our Tutorial on How to make  iTunes Adopt Layout of iPad or iPhone

Clearing Doubts :

Question : What is IAP ?

Answer : IAP or In App Purchase is a method where you can buy something within the app.For example many iPad games app allow you to buy weapons, money withing the app.  You will have to give password even for this.

Tips to Manage Apps :

Moving iPad App to Desktop  : When you connect your device, right-click on it and select Transfer Purchases. This will move all the apps into your desktop.

Deleting an App : Press and Hold an app for few seconds, you will see them dancing with a cross sign on top. Click on it and the app will be gone from the iPad.

To delete an app from iTunes you need to select and press delete key but if you have not deleted it permanently, it can still be restored. Follow our Tutorial on How to Restore Apps from iTunes

Redownloading the App : Go to the Appstore, search and download again. If its a paid app, you will not be charged if you have made the payment once.

Adding Apps to a Folder : Press and Hold the app untill you see it dance. Now move it over another app and it will create a folder. You can rename the folder and the best you can have two folders with the same name!!!

Removing a Folder : A folder gets automatically removed once you remove the last app from the folder.

Moving Apps from one Screen to Another : In Windows we call it workspace, I guess in iOS its called as screens i.e. When you swipe from left to right or right to left on your iPad.

iOS doesn’t have any copy,cut,paste features and there is no direct way to move your apps but does provide a docking station at the bottom of every screen. This like a task-bar in Windows 7 with apps pinned on it. To move from one screen to another make use of this dock stations. Follow this tutorial to Learn how to move apps.

iPad Move folder to dock

How to secure your iPad :

Now you have your mails, music, videos and even your credit attached with your iTunes accounts. The portability of the app makes it usable by anybody which means your friends can use it, your kids can use it.

Good news is,  iPad Settings allow you to secure your iPad from such things. Launch the Settings app, Go to General Restrictions. Here you can add password protection, Allow which apps can be used,  disable In-App  Purchase and so on.

I would high recommend you to Follow our in Depth Guide on How to Secure your iPad, Specially from Kids.

How to Backup and Restore your iPad :

iTunes also backs up your iPad which can be used to restore if for some reason your iPad doesn’t work at all. This is also useful if you have set up your security to wipe out completely if somebody fails to enter correct password for a couple of times.

  • Connect your iPad with your computer using the USB Wire and Launch iTunes.
  • When iTunes detect your device, right-click and select Backup. You will see the message as “Backing up Your iPad’s Name”
  • Depending on how much data is stored in your iPad it will take some time.
  • Once backup is complete, if you right-click again you will see option of Restore from Backup.
  • Click on that, select your device and sync back.

Backup and Restore iPad

Summary :

These tips are more than enough to get you started with your iPad or even iPhone as they use the same iOS  and differ only at few places. You will learn even more as you start using and if you still have questions, collect it for sometime and send across and we will come out with another detailed tutorial like this.  You can download this guide in form of PDF from here. Good Luck!!



A Professional Tech blogger, Editor and Writer who talks about solving day to day problems of people who use computer. His expertise are in Windows 7, Microsoft Office, Software, Mobile Apps and Video Posts. You can find Ashish on , and .

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