How to set up and start using your new iPad Air or Retina iPad mini

How to set up and start using your new iPad Air or Retina iPad mini

Everything you need to know to set up and start using your brand new iPad Air or Retina iPad mini

If the iPad Air or the Retina iPad mini is the first iPad you've ever owned, the first thing you'll want to do is get it set up so you can start downloading apps and games, taking photos, and all the other amazing things you can do with it. Whether your new iPad is your first experience with iOS or not, we can get you up and running in no time. Follow along and we'll walk you through the setup process from start to finish!

How to set up your iPad as new

  1. Slide your finger across the bottom of the screen where it says slide to set up.
  2. Now choose your language on the next screen.
  3. Choose your country in the next list.
  4. If you have WiFi, tap on your WiFi network on the next menu. Alternately, you can use a cellular connection, if you have an iPad that supports cellular data and it's already been activated by your carrier.
  5. Type in your WiFi password if you have one.
  6. Now choose if you'd like to enable Location Services. Certain apps like Maps will need location services to be enabled so keep that in mind.
  7. On the next screen, choose Set up as new iPad.
  8. Now you can either sign in with an existing Apple ID or you can create a new one if you don't already have one.
  9. Next choose if you'd like to use iCloud to backup and sync your contacts, calendars, and other data. Most people choose yes for this step.
  10. Now choose if you'd like Find My iPad to be turned on. We highly recommend enabling Find My iPad so in the event your iPad is ever lost or stolen, you may track it from any iOS device by signing into the Find My iPhone app or by going online to icloud.com. It also helps prevent thieves from being able to wipe out your data without knowing your iCloud password.
  11. On the next screen, choose the phone numbers and emails you'd like people to be able to use to contact you. Tap them to select or deselect them.
  12. Now choose if you'd like to enable Siri. We'd recommend choosing yes.
  13. Next let Apple know if you'd like them to be able to collect diagnostics from your iPad to better improve iOS and their products. This decisions is completely up to you.
  14. That's all there is to it. You can now start using your new iPad!

How to set up your iPad using an iPhone backup

If this is the first iPad you've ever owned but you currently own an iPhone and have been making either iTunes or iCloud backups, you can choose to restore your iPad from one of your iPhone backups. This is a really convenient way to transfer all your preferences, settings, contacts, and other personal data. While not everything will transfer, anything that's compatible will.

If you'd prefer to do this opposed to setting up as new, follow our directions on how to restore from an iCloud or iTunes backup:

How to set up your new iPad and transfer data from an Android tablet

If you don't own any other iOS device to transfer data from and you're coming from an Android Tablet or phone, you can always import some of your data from Google contacts to music to some other stuff. There's a little more involved with the process but it's certainly possible. Follow our guide to figure out how:

Retina iPad mini

Retina iPad mini
The world's most popular tiny tablet goes Retina. Features include:

Complete review >

Released
November 12, 2013

Alternatives
iPad mini (original), iPad Air, iPad 2

Replacements
iPad Mini 3
Fall, 2014

Resources
Buyers guide
Help forum

iPad Air

iPad Air
Apple's full-sized iPad gets slimmed down. Features include:

Complete review >

Released
November, 2013

Alternatives
Retina iPad mini, iPad 2, iPad mini (original)

Replacements
iPad Air 2 (iPad 6)
Fall, 2014

Resources
Buyers guide
Help forum

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to set up and start using your new iPad Air or Retina iPad mini

9 Comments

Only after you perform the steps above. Because you know, they come in between powering on and being done. Hence why we have a guide. Not everyone is familiar with iOS.

I appreciate the effort you put into creating this article. I work in Apple retail and we get questions like this all the time.

There are plenty of people who have iPhones and older iPads who have never used iCloud and they do not own a computer either.
A link on "how to create an iCloud back-up from your current iOS device", prior to "how to transfer data to your new iPad from an iCloud back-up" would be handy.

Bandit Bill, that may be me you are talking about. I have an original ipad and got the new air. I chose to create it as a new ipad accidentally. How do i now transfer my cloud and apps onto the new app. Also, is there a way to delete old apps from the cloud forever.

Thank You gor your help!!!!!! :)

Can not believe I am saying this but I am a BB person and I just ordered the ipad air. Once it comes in I will need some help with this So I am counting on all of you for a little bit of help with this ipad

I usually set up my new iOS devices through iTunes, most often from a backup of an older device that I am replacing. I've been doing this for quite a while, but I didn't know that you can restore a new iPad from an iPhone backup or vice versa. That is a great tip! :-)

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