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How to Set Up a New iPad Pro



Apple released their new professionally oriented Apple iPad Pro in 2015 with a larger 12.9-inch screen and the amazing new Apple Pencil that delivers a rich drawing and writing experience. Add to that the Apple Smart Keyboard and artists, writers, video editors and photographers can all get more done while mobile.

We’ll show users how to set up iPad Pro efficiently with tips for getting started, apps to install and settings to change.

logitech create keyboard ipad pro

Initial Setup of Your iPad Pro

The iPad Pro’s battery usually comes with enough battery to get started. However, it’s recommended that the user top it off via charging cable as soon as possible.

While the iPad Pro is charging, turn it on by holding down the power button on the edge opposite the Home button. After a few seconds the iPad will boot to the “Hello” screen. Swipe right and follow the onscreen instructions. Apple offers a step-by-step guide for setting up an iOS device.

iPad Hello first time start up screen

Image Credit: Karlis Dambrans

See iPad Pro Review: Why I Returned the New iPad

iPad Pro and iOS Key Features Setup Guides

Below you’ll find links to some key guides to follow for setting up features in iOS 9 on the iPad Pro. The video below shows how to set up Find My iPad. It uses it on an older iPad and iPhone, but it works the same on the iPad Pro.

The other guides are as follows:

Pair and Charge Apple Pencil with iPad Pro

If you bought an Apple Pencil for your iPad Pro, then you’ll need to pair it with the iPad Pro and possibly charge it up.

apple pencil plugged into ipad pro

Tap Pair when it pops up after connecting Apple Pencil to iPad Pro

We’ve got a complete guide for pairing the Apple Pencil with the iPad Pro and for charging the Apple Pencil.

Connect Apple Smart Keyboard to iPad Pro

logitech create vs apple smart keyboard

The Apple Smart Keyboard ($159) takes the low profile iPad Smart Cover and adds a keyboard for added productivity. It’s our choice for the best iPad Pro keyboard, narrowly beating out the Logitech Create. These aren’t the only iPad Pro Keyboard covers, but they’re the two best options for now. Brydge promises to release one in January. They made a nice keyboard for the iPad, so we hope the iPad Pro version will work as well.

ipad pro smart keyboard keyboard open

To connect the Apple Smart Cover to the iPad Pro, lay the keyboard cover out like you see above. The magnet connector will snap into place when it gets within millimeters of the iPad Pro’s left edge in portrait mode. Make sure it’s got a snug grasp of the iPad by picking up the iPad Pro. Lift the iPad Pro up and fold the cover between the keyboard and the iPad Pro so that the iPad Pro connector pins can snap into place on the top edge of the keyboard.

Here’s a video demonstrating the process:

The keyboard gets power from the iPad Pro. The cover will turn off the iPad Pro screen when it’s folded over the screen. It wakes the screen when a user opens the cover.

ipad pro smart keyboard left side

iPad Pro Settings to Change


Before going any further, change some key settings. Do this by opening the Settings app found on the Home Screen. It looks like a gray icon with gears on it. We’ll go down the list of the settings found along the left side of the screen.

See 10 iOS 9 Settings to Change

ios 8 settings changes on ipad air or ipad air 2

The key settings to change including the following:

  1. Connect to Wi-Fi if you didn’t already.
  2. On the LTE iPad Pro change the Personal Hotspot password (see below).
  3. Turn off Notifications for certain apps. For example, I don’t use the built-in iOS Calendar app, so I turn the notifications off for that app.
  4. Turn off the Control Center access from the lock screen to keep people from accessing Control Center features if they get hold of your iPad Pro. For more on Control Center see our guide (which applies to iOS 7 but is still relevant for iOS 9).
  5. Set up Do Not Disturb schedules so that the iPad won’t annoy anyone during the night or while at work. Tap on Scheduled on the Do Not Disturb screen and set the time frame by tapping on the times.
  6. Customize the following under the General Settings:
    • Siri – change the voice, the Hey Siri prompt used to turn on Siri in hands free mode when the iPad’s connected to power and more.
    • Spotlight Search – change what the iPad searches for when the user uses it and change the order of what’s listed. See our post on Spotlight Search for more information.
    • Turn on or off Multitasking Gestures – see our guide for more information.
    • Auto-Lock time – the default 2 minutes turns off the screen too quickly for some so lengthen it here.
    • Change Keyboards – uses can use third-party keyboards in iOS 9.
    • Add Keyboard Shortcuts – keyboard shortcuts work like shorthand. For example, I set up my email address to get inserted when I type the first few letters. Use the Keyboard section of General and tap on Text Replacement. Hit the + icon in the upper right corner and type in the phrase you want to appear and the shortcut text.
  7. Set a new Wallpaper background. Tap on Choose a New Wallpaper to pick from the included iOS 9 wallpapers or your own photos. When the chosen wallpaper fills the screen you can choose to use it for just the lock screen, the home screen or both by tapping on one of…
    • Set Lock Screen
    • Set Home Screen
    • Set Both
  8. Change the default notification Sounds. Tap on each sound event (Ringtone, Text Tone, etc.) and choose from the list of sounds.  When finished with each item tap on the Sounds link with the back arrow at the top of the screen.
  9. Turn off Keyboard Clicks inside the Sounds setting screen to keep from annoying people around you as you type using the onscreen keyboard.
  10. If you didn’t add a Passcode during initial setup, add one and create a Touch ID (see our guide to Touch ID fixes) profile with your fingerprints. To use a 4-digit passcode, follow our guide.
  11. Change settings for the iTunes & App Stores (see below)
    • Make sure your correct Apple ID shows up at the top of the iTunes & App Store settings page on the right.
    • Turn on or off automatic downloads for things like Music, Apps, Books and Updates. I keep Updates for apps on, but turn off the other three. If you’re worried about app updates messing up features, turn that off too.
    • The iPad Pro offers to let you download things over Cellular. Tap on the slider switch next to Use Cellular Data to pick what is downloaded via Wi-Fi and by Cellular Data.
    • Turn on or off the Installed Apps item at the bottom. This suggests apps on the iPad Pro lock screen based on what’s installed.

itunes and app store settings ipad pro

Update to the Latest Version of iOS 9

Check to see if your iPad Pro runs the latest version of the operating system. Open Settings and tap on General and then Software Update.

check for updates in Settings

This can take a long time to update and the iPad Pro will restart during the process. You can do other things with the iPad Pro as it downloads the update. It will tell you when it’s ready to apply the update with a pop up. The iPad restarts and you’ll see a white progress bar on the black screen. It will start automatically after it finishes.

Add Email, Contacts and Calendar

Most users will want their email, contacts and calendars on their iPad Pro. It’s a simple process because iOS 9 handles connecting major accounts from Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Outlook and Exchange natively without needing a bunch of specialized settings. Open Settings and scroll down to find Mail, Contacts, Calendars along the left side column.

add email calendar and contacts in ios

Your iCloud account should already show up. Customize what you want to see from iCloud by tapping on it. I don’t use iCloud for Contacts or Calendars, so I turn these off to keep from accidentally adding people or appointments to them.

Tap on the back arrow at the top and then tap on Add Account at the bottom of the top most box on the right. You’ll see a list of services that you can easily add.

add accounts in ios 9 settings

Tap the kind of account that you use for email, contact and/or calendar information comes from. For those who don’t use one of these, tap on Other and enter information from your email service provider. Tap on Exchange if you use Microsoft Exchange. Get the right information from your Exchange administrator or service provider.

Here’s an example of adding a Google account for Gmail, Google Calendar and Contacts. The first screen asks for your Gmail email address. Enter it and tap on Next.

gmail sync settings

The next screen asks for the password. Enter it and tap on Next. The iPad OS will confirm the email and password with Google. Then it lists the kinds of information the user can sync with Google. Choose to turn on or off Mail, Contacts, Calendars or Notes by tapping on the button that looks like a slider switch. The other services work similarly.

Set up Personal Hotspot on LTE iPad Pro

People who got the LTE version of the iPad Pro will want to configure their Personal Hotspot feature so they can connect a laptop or others can connect their tablets or laptops.

set up personal hotspot on ipad pro

Open Settings and find Personal Hotspot in Settings. Tap it and then tap on the Wi-Fi Password to change it to something more memorable. Tap on Done and then tap on the toggle switch next to Personal Hotspot at the top of the screen. Now other devices can find the iPad and use its LTE connection to get online via Wi-Fi. The instructions for using Personal Hotspot via Bluetooth or USB cable show up under the Wi-Fi Password setting.

Hook Up the iPad Pro to a Computer

At some point you’ll need to plug your iPad Pro into a computer and connect it with iTunes. Use the USB to Lightning cable you got with the iPad Pro. When it plugs into a Mac two things open by default: Photos and iTunes. On Windows it asks if you want to open iTunes. If you haven’t installed iTunes on your Windows PC, get it from Apple and install it.

You’ll see a screen in iTunes like the one below.

itunes ipad air setup

The above screen will show up in iTunes. It offers two options:

  1. Set up as a new iPad
  2. Restore from this backup:

The first option won’t change settings on the iPad. It will back the iPad Pro up in its current state. The second option finds a previous backup and saves that to the iPad with all the settings and apps applied. There’s a drop down box that shows a list of available backups if iTunes finds a previous iPad backup. This erases the iPad, so don’t use it unless you want to start over. Click Continue after selecting between the two options, if available. Then click on Get Started on the next screen.

sync ipad pro with itunes

People who own another iOS device can now start to install apps they already own. The iTunes screen looks like the one above. Select the iPad at the top left (see red arrow). Then click on Apps from the list on the left (see red box). Available apps show up. Select the apps to install by checking them off.

You can also arrange the apps already installed using the thumbnails of the iPad Pro screens on the right. Double click on a screen and use your mouse or trackpad to drag or drop apps around. To uninstall an app click on the X that appears over the app icon when you hover over it.

When you’re ready to send changes to the iPad Pro click on the Sync button in the lower right corner.

You can click on Music, but if you set up your Music library to sync using iCloud in the steps above iTunes will tell you that iCloud sync is turned on.

Click on Movies, TV Shows and Books and select the items on each screen to sync.

Photos can sync with the Photos app on the computer or your Windows computer’s Photos library. If you turned on iCloud Photos sync then this option is not available here.

Install Apps from the App Store

ipad pro app store

Now it’s time to start installing apps. If you own many apps, you can start by opening the Purchased tab at the bottom of the screen. Tap on Not on This iPad at the top of the next screen to see apps not already installed. Look through the list and choose to install apps by tapping on the down arrow imposed on a cloud next to each app title.

The other tabs across the bottom categorize apps as follows:

  • Featured – apps chosen by the Apple App Store staff to highlight.
  • Top Charts – the most popular apps, downloaded the most.
  • Explore – collections of apps grouped by category and popular apps from people who live nearby, if the user allows the App Store to use their location.
  • Purchased – apps the user already owns.
  • Updates – apps installed with updates when available.

If you know the title of the app you want to install, then use us the Search box at the top right of each page. There’s usually a collection on the Featured page called “Amazing Apps for iPad Pro” (see above image). Tap it to find some of the best apps for the iPad Pro.

Want some ideas for apps to install? Check our list of 7 Awesome iPad Pro Apps You Can Download Right Now and the Best iPad Pro Games. Make sure you get some good photo and video editing apps as well, since the iPad Pro’s a great creativity tool. If you’re an Office 365 users, then get the Microsoft Office apps will. They’re great on the iPad Pro, especially with the Smart Keyboard.

See 5 Ways the iPad Pro Will Change How I Work

Setup iPad Pro for Calls or Texts

If you only talk to other iOS device users or you also own an iPhone, then you can use your iPad Pro to talk or text people. Those who don’t own an iPhone can only do this with other iOS users. However, iPhone owners can send and receive calls from anyone using their iPad Pro so long as both the iPhone and the iPad sign in using the same account. Here’s how to set up Continuity the feature that makes it possible.

The best way to get started is to follow Apple’s guide. It’s simple to set up.



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