Walkthrough: Initial iPad Setup


After unboxing my iPad and powering it on for the first time, I had to connect it to iTunes before actually being able to use the new toy. Did I say toy? I mean the magical and revolutionary device. That’s disappointing because people want to use their iPad right now! The process of setting up the iPad in iTunes is very straightforward, similar to setting up an iPhone, but with a few quirks and one possible, rather funny bug.

As soon as you plug the iPad into your Mac, iTunes 9.1 will open and you’ll see a welcome message. Be sure to upgrade to the latest version of iTunes before hookup.

Click through that and there’s that license. Does anyone actually read these things? If you say no, does it self-destruct?

Next up is where you tell the iPad about your iTunes account. If you are new to the world of iDevices, you also have the option to set up a new account here

Apple doesn’t miss a chance to up-sell its MobileMe service.

OK, finally we are in the final stretch here. On the next screen, you get to choose whether to set up your iPad from scratch or restore from a previous backup. The dialog allowed me to to select the backup from my iPhone, which would presumably be a big time-saver if you have an extensive collection of apps (and their settings) you want to transfer over to the iPad. I saw a cute bug here: the message says “An iPad has previously been synced with this computer” — unless your name is Steve Jobs, it is very unlikely you have synced an iPad with your Mac before today! And if you did, you probably are violating an NDA by telling us this fact.

Now it’s time to name your new baby. This year’s hot names include the always-popular “Michael” and “Clohe.” Sharing this iPad is going to be an issue I know.

Ah, finally, the main screen. It is very similar to the iPhone management screen in iTunes. You can see at a glance how much disk space is on your iPad, and what version of software it is running.

The “Info” tab is where you will see your detail sync settings for things like contacts, email, and address book entires. You can also set up MobileMe from here if you didn’t earlier.

The next set of tabs are familiar to anyone who has used another iDevice. The apps tab allows you to sync and arrange apps. Unfortunately, when I told it to sync apps, it selected every app I owned, well over 100 of them, making me manually un-select the numerous apps I didn’t want to install. The other tabs, like music, movies, iTunesU, podcasts and photos are exactly what you’d expect. If you sync photos, the software will have to optimize them for the iPad, which can take quite a while if you have a large photo library. In retrospect I would recommend avoiding this step for initial setup. Lastly, we have a brand new tab: Books. This is where you will manage books you by with the iBooks app or iTunes. I don’t have any yet — but this will soon change!

One interesting quirk I noticed while doing my initial sync is that the iPad didn’t charge while syncing. I have my iPad’s USB cable hooked to my Apple Keyboard rather than directly into my Mac, so I suspect perhaps not enough power is available for charging. When I plug it directly into the Mac via the USB cable, it charges as expected.

There you go, start to finish it was about half an hour. If I would have avoided the Photo sync it would have been less than five minutes.



this was very helpful BUT, i do not have a MAC, to download the itunes from. I have a regular PC. Now what do I do. Total novice here, can you explain step by step what I need to do.


Hi Joann,
thank you for your reply.. yes, I actually managed to set it up using the step by step provided by Dave in his first posting.
You have to download iTune first in your PC and register your apple ID, then you can connect your new iPad to your PC and the iTune would detect by itself and you just need to follow step by step as provided above by Dave.
Good luck and enjoy your new iPad!


Does it mean Ipad can be only set up through MAC? would it be able to be set using Microsoft based PC?


was the answer to this yes or did anyone bother to answer. I had the same question


Hi Sandra – I’m no expert but you can set it up on PC or Mac, whichever you have, you just need to ensure you have the latest version of iTunes or it won’t recognise the iPad when you plug it into your computer. Good Luck!

Prefer to remain unknown

I’m still lost.
I plugged the iPad USB into my laptop and nothing appeared on the screen of the iPad.

chava flores

It´s the first time in my life a computer needs another computer to turn on, what a magic!

ma jean

thanks for all the help, I,m an old gal, don,t know how to find spell check on my I pad help????
Ma jean


Jeff, not everyone is as amazing as your ego alludes you to believe, nor can they afford all the luxury items as you (you will learn this once you have your first girlfriend), there is no reason to be rude. Haven’t you ever herd the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all?” The sole fact you had to duly note your slander just brings to light how much of an inferiority complex you suffer from. Any sensible person reading your remarks would pity you.

Personally, I found David’s article to be quite insightful, thank you for publishing this.



Mike Cosentino

turn on my new IPad and all that shows is a white cable pointing to ITUNES. Absoloutely no manula or instaruction book include. $800 friggin dollars and they can’t afford a manula. So I go on line using my ” Thank God” MAC device. I search manuals how to get started. Bad. I went to register with Apple and when you get to teh encryted filling section nothing is shown. Thsi is so far a toatl pain inthe ass. No idea how people find this crap enjoyable not user friendly at all


You’re kidding right? Haven’t you ever set up an iPod Touch or an iPhone? Just do what it says! Plug the damn thing into your computer and follow the screen prompts….WOW!


You also might want to proof read your comment before posting. Is your spell check broken?


Nice Job on the instructions but need to go in more detail with payment and all that….


Your walk through was very helpful. When I switched it on, it didnt even let me know..that i had to connect to Itunes. Also I had itunes 7.0…and it didnt even let me know ..i had to upgrade it.



I have iTunes version.
I’m trying to connect my new iPad but it doesn’t recognize it.
Now I’m updating iTunes to 10, I will let you know the result…


Very clear about what my ipad will do in the installing process.

Thanks for the good job.



guys, the resolution of my ipad is strange…how can i change the resolution? coz my programs and pictures have this strange resolution…..please help me….

Peter Beard

Well thank you very much for the setup for the Ipad I can’t wait to have it when It arrives in the UK I take it when you talk about the iphone on the setup it’s the same as my Ipod I have on my system so it will be simple enough thank you again


thanks for this…just a question – is it absolutely essential to have a working Internet connection on the computer running iTunes to complete the setup? Or can it be done off-line as well…

Michael G

One question– we just bought my dad an Ipad, and wanted to set it up with a few items, like a book or two and some apps. If we set up Itunes using our computer, then he’s locked out of syncing with his, right? What a pain.


Thanks. So how much of the 14 GB was available once you’d put what you wanted to on the iPad? The last screen shot showed you used almost nothing – did you have your pictures and apps on when that shot was taken?


Thanks for this detailed walk-through. When I got to the the “An iPad has been previously synced” message I got a good laugh and when I search google found your blog….on to naming my iPad


Well done – your “walkthrough” was most helpful – especially about syncing existing apps (from iphone).

Superb work to guide us.

Now I know what to do when my iPad arrives.



photos are synchronized in their real resolution? or even here, as the iPhone, are optimized so bad?

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