Office365 QuickStart Teaching

iPad setup for teachers

So you just got a new iPad! Exciting! Here are a few things you can do as a teacher to get started.

Note that the first steps will take some time, so make sure you are ready to spend at least a good half hour to get started. If you have an iPhone running iOS, an iPad running iPadOS should be very familiar to what you’re used to, but a new iPad may still have some things you can learn.

Set aside 30 min to start

First thing first, you’ll need to turn it on. If it’s new, or erased from the previous user, this will take you to a welcome screen and start the setup process.

iPad Hello screen

Follow the directions! This initial setup will go through a lot of orientation and unified setup, and can take hours to find and correct if skipped. Some key points that might come up are:
1. Use an Apple ID with your college email. Later you can switch the App Store to get access to your personal apps. If your college runs a centralized MDM or Mobile Device Management system you will have this explained to you when you receive your device.
2. If you’ve previously used an iPad, bring it near the new device when prompted. There is an excellent “Restore from backup” tool that will come up during to allow you to set up your device the same way your old device was
3. Many of the features including Automatic updates and Screen Time can be very useful later, so probably good to turn on now

Tap “Get Started” and your setup is done.

Update your device

Chances are this device has lived in a cabinet for a while, so it’s probably wise to check for updates. This is done from the Settings App, then in the General Tab there is an option, second from the top, that says Software Update. It will either give you an option to update, or say “iPadOS is up to date”.

While your device updates, take a break

Use this time to erase your old iPad , if you need

Your next major step is to play with your new device and explore what is available to you. Here are a few more things that are worth doing to get the most out of it.

Open this article on your iPad now to quickly access download links

Set up files & document apps

Chances are you use Office365 for storing and working on documents, here’s what you need to get the most out of your iPad.

The Office Bundle

Office Apps Downloads

The Office Bundle includes:
– A new unified Office App with access to Excel, Word and PowerPoint documents.
– A OneDrive app for files access.
– An Outlook app where you can segregate your work email.
– A OneNote App.

You can also download the Teams app to stay connected to your colleagues and for hybrid teaching, and the Microsoft Whiteboard app for a good content creation option.

Once these have these downloaded, open the OneDrive app and follow the login process to set up your school account file access. You should now have access to all of your files in Office365 from your iPad. You can even annotate and work with PDF documents from right inside the app, and any office apps will automatically transfer and open the unified Office App.

Enable OneDrive access in Files

Edit option in Files to enable OneDrive

The Files app is the iPadOS file manager, and should be pre-installed on your device. Open that. There is an “edit” option in the top left. This will open a tab with all of the connector apps available on your device. Turn on the OneDrive option(s). Now you can access your OneDrive apps from within the Files app.

Files App for PDFs

The iPadOS Files app is also a fully featured PDF annotation tool. There are pens and pencils, in any colour, a ruler, text tools, shapes and smart shapes. There is also a way to rotate pages, add a new blank page (great when you need more than your notes), and even the ability to scan in content.

Files app PDF Annotations

The Files app is a great way to start annotating PDF documents, but if you want to up your lecture notes game check out PDF Expert. PDF Expert allows you to set up custom tools, edit content right in PDFs, flatten PDFs (reduces file size), even more tools and so much more, all while working directly inside OneDrive, so your files are safe and secure. The Readdle company is a fantastic Ukrainian app developer with a number of exceptional apps, and some of the best customer support I’ve ever gotten. They’re really good about listening to feedback, and really helpful if you ever encounter an issue with their software.

PDF Expert Annotations

There are a multitude of other fantastic PDF annotation apps available in the App Store including:
CollaNote, an annotation tool for, and by, students
Flexcil, which has some innovative gesture features
Drawboard PDF, that came from the original Windows version, good if you’re switching between the two
iAnnotate, the grandfather of PDF annotation tools.

Download your LMS app

Most Learning Management Systems (LMS) have dedicated iPad apps. Canvas has the Canvas Teacher app (with annotations for notes and assignments), D2L has the Brightspace Pulse App, and Blackboard has the Blackboard App. With an instructor account, each of these will allow you to view and manage your classes. You can even annotate and grade submissions with your pencil.

Canvas App Speedgrader

Apple Pencil

If you haven’t bought one already, you probably want a stylus of some sort. This could be the Apple Pencil, or the Logitech Crayon. For most educators the Logitech Crayon is the better choice. It pairs quickly with any device you’re using, is more durable, and mostly importantly much cheaper. Having a stylus like this will allow you to use your fingers to navigate your documents and have a dedicated writing implement, and give you better control over what you’re writing.

Apple Pencil Gen 2, 1 and Crayon

Focus Modes

One more thing you may want to look at is Focus Modes. Focus modes allow you to create a custom notification profile for various activities, such as Meetings and Classes. Here you can silence all notifications and even disable the notification bar to prevent anything from disturbing you during class.

Example Sleep and In Meeting Focus Modes


The last thing you need to do is go play. Download some fun apps to enhance your work and personal life, and use the device. Explore the settings. Connect with others. Play with and explore the device, you might be amazed at what you find!

One thought on “iPad setup for teachers

Leave a Reply