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What You Should Know before Travelling with Your iPad

The iPad is the ideal travelling companion. Its compact size makes it easy to pack and it carries out most tasks as well as or even better than a standard laptop. While you’re away you’ll be able to read, play games, watch movies, update Facebook and use FaceTime to keep in touch with loved-ones back home. You can even put together a vacation movie using the free iMovie app.

Here’s what you should know before travelling with your iPad.

The Case for an iPad Case

If you mostly use your iPad at home, it’s easy to do without a case, but when you’re on the go, a case will protect your iPad from being damaged as a result of being jostled around in your luggage. A single metal object next to your iPad, coupled with the vibrations of a car, train or plane, can result in a cracked screen.

The best overall case for the iPad is Apple’s Smart Case. Not only can it wake up the iPad when you open the flap, it fits snuggly to create sufficient protection against the various bumps and drops that might happen during travel. However, if your vacation includes outdoor activities such as rafting, hiking or cycling, you should buy a case designed for outdoor use.

Link to your iPhone’s Data Connection

Apple has made it easy to connect your iPad to your iPhone’s data connection, which means you’ll be able to use your iPad just about anywhere without the need for Wi-Fi.

Connect your iPad to your iPhone by opening the Settings app in your phone and choosing “Personal Hotspot” from the menu. Turn on the Personal Hotspot by flipping the switch at the top of the screen and enter a custom Wi-Fi password.

On your iPad, connect to this new network as you would any other Wi-Fi network by going into Settings and choosing Wi-Fi. After tapping on the new Wi-Fi network you created on your iPhone, you’ll be asked to enter the custom password.

Using Guest Wi-Fi

Using your iPhone to connect to the internet is a cool fix for getting online when there’s no other internet connection available but it will also rack up overage charges on your iPhone and that can get expensive. Naturally, you’ll want to use free Wi-Fi, when it’s available. Most hotels and coffee shops now offer this service and it tends to be faster than using your iPhone. Free Wi-Fi is also available in many restaurants, malls and other public places.

When signing into a guest network, remain on the Wi-Fi settings screen for several seconds after choosing the network. Some guest networks will pop up with a screen asking you to agree to their terms of use that usually contains a clause that protects them from being held responsible if you accidentally download malware or something similar. If you skip this step, you may not be able to connect to the Internet, despite the fact that you have signed into the network.

Just as important as the sign-in to the guest Wi-Fi network, is the sign-out. A not uncommon scam used by those who want to hack a smartphone or tablet, is to create a hotspot with the same name as a popular hotspot. The iPad will automatically try to sign in to “known” networks, so it may connect to a disreputable network without your knowledge.

Sign out of guest networks by going back into the Wi-Fi screen and tapping the “i” with the circle around it next to the network name. Then tap “Forget This Network” to keep your iPad from attempting to automatically connect with any Wi-Fi network of the same name.

Create a Passcode

You probably don’t need a passcode at home, but it’s always a good idea to have one on your iPad when you travel. If you have a newer iPad with Touch ID, you can use the fingerprint sensor to bypass the passcode. Add a passcode in the “Touch ID & Passcode” or “Passcode” section in Settings.

Also, make sure Find My iPad is turned on in Settings. It should be turned on at all times. The “Send Last Location” setting is important, too, as it will automatically send the location to Apple when the battery gets low. This means that, if you leave your iPad somewhere and the battery drains, you can still find it as long as it can connect to the Internet.

The biggest reason for turning on Find My iPad isn’t to actually find it. It’s the ability to put it in lost mode or wipe the device from remote. Lost mode not only locks the iPad, it allows you to write some text to be displayed on the screen, such as “call if found.”

Load before You Leave

Load your iPad with games, books and movies before you leave home. Movies especially, can use huge amounts of data to stream. Also, loading games for the kids will help to keep them entertained on long trips.