Best iOS 5 features for iPad

iPad Help, Tips & Tricks
// October 11, 2011

iOS 5 brings over 200 new features to the iPad and other iOS devices. We have been using iOS 5 on an iPad for awhile and here are the top 5 that we’ve enjoyed the most.

Multitasking Gestures

This is by far my favorite improvement with iOS 5. Multitasking gestures have been available to developers for some time, but iOS 5 brings the new gestures to everyone.

First, you will want to go to Setting-> General-> and turn On Multitasking Gestures. All of the new gestures are done with four or five fingers.

Multitasking Gestures

Three New Multitasking Gestures

  • You can now swipe swipe up (with 4 or 5 fingers) to go to the multitasking bar, I find this faster than double tapping the home button.
  • You can pinch with your hand to go to the home screen. This may not be faster than tapping the home button but it’s a fun way to navigate on the device.
  • I saved the best for last, you can swipe left or right (with 4 or 5 fingers) between apps. This is no doubt a time saver. It eliminates a step by going directly from one app to the next.

iOS 5 Cuts the Cord

Once you install iOS 5, your iPad can serve as a stand alone computer. This means you can set the device up, restore from an iCloud backup or restore the iOS software from iTunes without plugging the device into a computer. You can also install iOS updates wirelessly and sync your iPad using Wi-Fi.

There is even more features in iOS 5 to make your iPad PC free, such as, the ability to delete songs from the music app and editing images in the photo app.


iPad notification centeriOS 5 greatly improves notifications on iOS devices. Notifications can be set for emails, messages, reminders, FaceTime and several other apps that use notifications. You can now swipe down from the top of the screen and view the notification center. Then, you can choose the notification you want to go to or swipe up (or touch another spot on the screen) and the notification center will disappear.

New notifications can also display on your lock screen if they are set to do so. You can manage which apps you want in the notification center and customize the way the app displays the notification by going to Settings-> Notifications.


iMessage iPadiOS 5 brings iMessage to the iPad. Now, iPad users can send unlimited text messages over Wi-Fi or 3G to any other iPhone, iPad or iPod touch that also has iMessage.

iMessage not only lets iPad users send texts but you can also add pictures and videos to your messages. You can send the messages one to one or add multiple recipients in the “To” field and use iMessage among a group.

The messages are securely encrypted and you’ll even get a delivery receipt letting you know your message went through.

AirPlay Mirroring

The only reason I have this feature last is because it requires an iPad 2 and a second generation Apple TV. That means this iOS 5 feature will not apply to everyone but if you have those two devices, it a great enhancement.

AirPlay Mirroring does what the name implies, it mirrors everything wirelessly on your iPad 2 to your HDTV via Apple TV. Some developers have update their apps to support AirPlay but with AirPlay Mirroring now suddenly every app will have AirPlay compatibility. Of course, this doesn’t just apply to apps but everything on your iPad 2 can be displayed on the big screen without cables.

Here is a list of 154 of the 200 new features being added with iOS 5.

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