Last month Apple introduced updated versions of its flagship iPad Pro. The company unveiled both a new 11in and 12.9in iPad Pro with improved features like a LiDAR scanner and a dual-lens rear camera. Another HUGE improvement is support for keyboard trackpads that give the iPad full mouse functionality.
The new iPad Pros also feature support for the Apple Pencil 2, Face ID, and sport the slimmest bodies of any iPad ever. And thanks to the iPad Pros now running their own dedicated iPadOS (instead of iOS), there are plenty of iPad Pro-only features that Apple’s new tablets include.
So without further ado, here are all the tips and tricks you need to know for the new iPad Pros.
#1) External Keyboard Shortcuts
This is perhaps the best trick the iPad Pro has hidden in it. Apple has secretly brought macOS-level shortcuts to the iPad–when you use it with an external keyboard that is. All the best macOS keyboard shortcuts work on the iPad Pro, this include, but are not limited to:
- Command-Tab to switch between apps.
- Command-Space to bring up a spotlight search.
- Command-A to select all text in a field.
- Command-C to copy the selected text.
- Command-V to pasted elected text.
#2) Precise Cursor Adjustment – No Mouse Required
Though the iPad Pro still now supports mouse input, many people will still use the iPad Pro in the traditional manner: using your finger in lieu of a mouse. Thankfully there’s now a way you can quickly adjust where the cursor on the screen in a text field is without needing to tap it into place–or use a mouse to pinpoint it.
By placing and holding two fingers on your iPad Pro screen you turn it into essentially a big trackpad that controls the text cursor. Now just drag both fingers around to automatically move the cursor.
#3) Easy Text Selection
Speaking of using two fingers on the screen, iPadOS now allows for precise text selection. Here’s how: in a block of text, place two fingers on the screen and then swipe up or down to automatically select one paragraph of text at a time. This makes it insanely easy to select large portions of text without the need to drag tiny text section makers around the screen.
Check out our iPad Pro (2020) vs iPad Air (2020) comparison!
#4) Keyboard Number Key Flicking
On the iPad Pro, you can flick down on a key on the primary keyboard to insert its secondary character. This saves you from having to, for example, change the keyboard from the QUERTY keyboard to the symbols keyboard. It’s a terrific shortcut that, when mastered, saves a lot of time.
#5) Spacebar Wake Up
Another great feature available when using an external keyboard with the new iPad Pros is that you can simply tap the spacebar on the external keyboard to wake your iPad Pro up. As long as your face is within sight of the Face ID camera, your iPad will automatically unlock.
#6) Use An External Monitor With Your iPad Pro
The new iPad Pros feature USB-C, which means you can now use accessories that plug directly into your iPad Pro. This means you can actually plug in a 4K monitor to your iPad. You can also plug in external cameras and load the photos from their memory right into the Photos app on the iPad Pro. Sadly, plugging in an external hard drive does nothing.
#7) Charge Your iPhone Via Your iPad Pro
And yep, that means you can even plug your iPhone into your iPad Pro to charge it. This is a godsend to people who travel with both devices. Now if your iPhone is low on charge, your iPad can share some of its juice with it. Just be sure you have a Lightning to USB-C charging cable with you.
#8) Quickly Take A Note With The Apple Pencil
The iPad Pro is a great tablet, but it really shines if you also buy the Apple Pencil with it. If you’ve got one, then you’ll be happy to know there’s a hidden trick with the Apple Pencil and the iPad Pro. That trick is that you can simply tap the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro’s sleep screen (when the display is off) to quickly wake the iPad Pro and automatically bring up a new note. This allows you to quickly jot down a note without needed to unlock the iPad and launch the Notes app.
#9) Discover App-Specific Keyboard Shortcuts
Above we mentioned that the iPad Pro supports keyboard shortcuts. While many of those shortcuts are the same no matter which app you’re in, some apps have specific keyboard shortcuts for that app only. To find out what an app’s specific keyboard shortcuts are open the app and then press and hold the Command key on your attached keyboard. An overlay will appear on your iPad Pro’s screen listing all the keyboard shortcuts for that app.
#10 Zip Or Unzip Files Right On The iPad Pro
It used to be the iPad couldn’t handle ZIP files (other than storing them). But thanks to the new Files app you can now quickly ZIP or unZIP any file on your iPad Pro. Just open up the Files app and tap and hold on any file you want to ZIP and tap the “Compress” command from the pop-up menu. To uncompress an already-ZIPed file, tap and hold on it and then tap the “Uncompress” command from the pop-up menu.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.