How To Set Up The iPad Air (and iPad Mini with Retina)

User guides Richard Goodwin 14:49, 23 Dec 2013

Getting an iPad Air (or Mini 2) for Xmas but never set one up before? Fear not: it couldn’t be simpler! Just follow the steps below

Apple’s recent iPad slates are the best the company has ever built, and analysts predict huge sales of the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina display this Christmas.

A lot of regular readers will know exactly how to set up an iPad, or any other tablet for that matter. But just in case you’re new to the whole tablet thing, we thought we’d put together a little user guide to ease you through the initial setup process.

Because the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina run iOS 7, setup is pretty much the same on both tablets. Below is everything you need to know about getting your iPad Air up and running.

Turning iPad Air on

The first thing you’ll need to do is turn the iPad Air on. To do this simply press and hold the power/unlock key (it’s located on the top right corner of the device).

You will then be asked to select a Language. Do this, and proceed to the next stage: selecting a Country or Region.

Setup iPad Air Over Wi-Fi or iTunes?

Here you have two options. You can either set the iPad Air up over Wi-Fi or plug it into a PC or Mac and do it using iTunes. For the sake of simplicity – and if this is your first iPad – we’d recommend opting for setup over Wi-Fi.

Set up New iPad?

If you haven’t used an iPad in the past you’ll want to set up the iPad as a new device. To this select: Set up New iPad. But if you’re already an iPad user you have two options, Restore from iCloud Backup or Restore from iTunes Backup, which will reinstall all you’re previous settings and parameters.

Create Apple ID

To access the App Store or buy anything inside iTunes, you’ll have to setup a free Apple ID. Again, this is a very simple process and requires you to set up some security questions and enter your date of birth – the latte is used for Age Restricted Content. Once you’ve done this enter your name and email address when prompted to, and then set a password.

Apple will ask you for this password from time to time when you purchase content from inside the App Store and iTunes. You’ll then be asked to setup a backup email, just in case anything goes wrong with your primary one. 

Email Updates?

Apple, like any other business, likes to keep you up to date about what it’s doing. Fortunately you can opt to turn these updates off by deselecting the “email updates” dialogue box.

The Dreaded T&Cs

Hit “Next” and you’ll be presented with Apple’s Terms & Conditions. You can read this document if you like. We never do. But if that’s your bag, go for it! To skip this arduous process, simply Agree with the T&Cs and progress to the next stage.


Apple offers 5GB of iCloud storage, which you can use for pictures, documents and the like. 5GB isn’t a lot but it’s better than nothing, so we’d advise you to set up and account – just use your primary email and Apple ID password. 

iMessage & FaceTime

Next you’ll be asked if you want to set up iMessage and FaceTime, Apple’s bespoke IM and video-calling applications. Both are useful tools and well worth having at your disposal. All you have to do is associate the applications with your Apple ID. Simples.

Four Digit Passcode

If you don’t want people prying inside your iPad, or you’re going to be using it for work and want to keep it safe, it’s definitely worth using a four-digit passcode.

All you have to do is pick a string of numbers, confirm the code, and you’re done. Now every time you or somebody else unlocks your iPad, they’ll have to enter this passcode. Simple yet effective, this passcode feature will keep unwanted eyes out of your iPad.

Diagnostics & Usage

Setting this feature to “Automatically Send” means that anytime your iPad encounters an issue it will automatically send a report to Apple. Otherwise you’ll have to do it manually. For ease of use, just set it to automatic. You won’t even notice it’s there.

BOOM! You’re Done!

Now all that’s left for you to do is select a wallpaper – we recommend this website –, download some apps and games from the App Store and check out what’s available inside Apple’s iTunes store. 

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