Although the look and feel of the different mobile operating systems that power tablet computers can vary considerably, there are a few basic principles that can be applied to any slate. If you've only just dipped your toe into the world of tablet computing, following these will get you up and running in no time and keep you safe while you're using the Internet on your new mobile device.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Operating system user account
Unpack your new tablet computer and familiarise yourself with its keys and ports. Insert a SIM card if you've treated yourself to a 3G/4G slate, along with any memory expansion you want to use such as an SD card. Your device should be partially charged out of the box, but there will be no harm in hooking it up to a power supply while you set it up.
Power your tablet computer on to start the set-up process. You'll typically need to set time, date and region information and connect to a Wi-Fi network. You'll also need to link your slate to an online account you hold with the manufacturer of its operating system. Register for one if needs be. If you don't have one, you won't be able to download content from your tablet's app store and may lose some other functionality. For iOS devices, you'll need an Apple ID. If you're using an Android slate, you'll require a Google account. If you've got a Kindle you'll need an Amazon login, while a Microsoft account will be required if you're using a Windows 8-powered device, and so on.
Work out how best to navigate your tablet. No matter which operating system your're using, you should be able to access apps by swiping your screen left, right, up or down. On some devices, you'll be able to access your apps list by hitting an "Apps" icon or tile from your home screen. You can typically delete an app by holding your finger on it and either hitting an "X" button that appears on its icon or by dragging it to a recycle bin, although the method for removing content varies by OS and sometimes device -- tablet manufacturers can modify open source operating systems.
Update your operating system. The publisher of the software your tablet runs on may have pushed out a new version of its OS since your tablet was made. The method for doing so will depend on which software you're using. Turn on automatic updates if your slate offers this option. You should also download an antivirus program from your device's app store before you start using the Internet. Keep all of your apps up to date to help protect your tablet from malware.
Download large files and apps using a Wi-Fi connection if you don't have an all-you-can-eat data plan. Watching video content or listening to the radio online via a mobile connection can be very data-intensive. It's also wise to update content provided from newspaper apps and the like over a wireless connection before you set off out with your slate if you really want to conserve data. Be very wary of using cloud services while hooked up to a mobile connection, as these will seriously burn your data allowance.
Exercise caution when downloading content to your tablet, even when using your device's official app store. Some download platforms are incredibly lightly policed and can harbour apps containing viruses. Away from apps, avoid the same malware threats you would on a PC. Don't open spam email, visit dodgy sites or download any content from a source you don't trust. Scan everything you do download with your antivirus program. With most mobile security software, this should happen automatically.
Tips and warnings
- Avail yourself of a case for your tablet. You could do it a nasty mischief if you were to drop it. It will also be a good idea to take out separate insurance for your slate if your household policy doesn't cover your gadgets away from the home.
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