On last week’s edition of Ask the Expert we had some great questions on multitasking apps, Retina displays, and iCloud. This week our readers have sent in even more fantastic questions, so check after the break to get the low down on offline video viewing, taking photos on the iPad 2, disabling Game Center, using AirPlay mirroring, and more.
Emily asks: Is There an easy way to upload YouTube videos to an iPad to watch them offline?
Answer: Yes! There are several apps that will allow you to quickly download and cache YouTube videos to watch even while offline. I checked out several for you and I can recommend both Playtube and McTube. Both apps are free, but there is a pro version of both if you want to get rid of the (fairly nonintrusive) ads. ’
Your best bet would be to download several videos at night before you go to bed, as it can take some time to download those larger videos. I experienced slightly better download speed times with McTube, but both apps had a very simple to use search interface to find the content that you are looking for.
Suzette asks: I have the iPad 2. Can I get Siri on it? Also, is there a camera app for the iPad that takes better pictures?
Answer: Unfortunately, there is no way to download Siri. Siri is bundled on newer devices, such as the third and fourth generation iPads and the iPad mini, and Apple has decided not to include it on the iPad 2.
There are several camera apps that will allow you to create better snapshots, but there’s only so much an app can do. The main problem with the iPad 2’s camera is the hardware – it’s simply not a great camera.
While Apple greatly improved the camera on later versions of the iPad, the iPad 2 was limited to a 0.3 megapixel front camera and a 0.7 megapixel back camera. In comparison, the new iPad mini has a 5 megapixel rear camera.
Sandi asks: Is there any way to disable Game Center so the app does not pop up and ask you to join when you open a game?
Answer: Yes, there is a way to disable Game Center, but it’s not entirely intuitive. What you need to do is sign into a game three times, and tap “Cancel” whenever it asks you if you want to login to Game Center. After the third time you tap cancel, a popup window will ask you if you want to disable Game Center. Tapping yes will disable the feature.
You can turn it back on at any time simply by going to the Game Center app and signing in. There are also privacy settings within the app if that is your concern.
Judy asks: Is it necessary to periodically clear history, cookies, and data to keep the iPad from running slowly?
Answer: It is not necessary to clear your history, or cookies and data. These will not make Safari run noticeably slower. I find that when I clear my history and data in Safari that the app loads websites slower until it’s recreated the cache.
That said, sometimes there are errors that may cause Safari to crash or work improperly. In these instances, it can be beneficial to clear out your cache, and it won’t hurt to do.
If you want to check how much data Safari is taking up on your iPad, use the settings menu. Go to Settings > General > Usage > Show All Apps and scroll down to Safari, where you can see how much data it is using. This shows options like your Offline Reading list, which are cached on the iPad. Clearing this won’t make your iPad faster, but it will free up space.
C asks: How do I use my iPad with the iTV [Apple TV]? For example, how can I view a Crackle movie from my iPad using on the TV?
Answer: To use a video playing app like Crackle, you need to enable AirPlay mirroring. To do this, double tap on the home button of your iPad, which will bring up the app toolbar. Swipe all the way to the left to get to the volume and brightness controls. On that menu there’s a button that will turn on AirPlay mirroring. Tap it and select “Apple TV” to put what is on your iPad screen onto the TV.
Howard asks: Is there a way to get the iPad to open to a specific page of apps?
Answer: No, unfortunately there is no way to get your iPad to open to a page of apps other than the first page. What you can do, however, is move all of the apps that you want to access onto the first page so they are right at your fingertips and move the others onto another page.
Do you have an iPad question you would like answered?
Feel free to ask in the comments. You can expect each week’s post to be detailed, direct, and full of useful information. Let us know what you’re looking for in the answers – we’re aiming to tailor these posts to our reader’s needs.
Commenting on the weekly Ask the Expert posts is one way to ask us a question, but you can also use the PadGadget contact form, which is located here.
If there’s an issue you’ve been trying to figure out or an app you’ve been searching for, you’re in the right place. Ask us, and check back next week for an answer!