How to set up iPad mini

If you just purchased an iPad mini, received it as a gift or plan on picking one up, the process of setting up your iPad takes only minutes to complete and you’ll be able to start enjoying your new iPad mini. If you are upgrading and moving to your data from your old iPad to new iPad, we’ll cover that process as well. Read on for our full guide on how to set up iPad mini.

Setting Up Your iPad mini
With iOS, you no longer need to connect your iPad to a Mac or PC in order to set it up. It is preferable that you have access to a WiFi network, so be sure to have the name and password needed to login to your wireless network.

iPad mini unboxing

Select Your Language
Select your preferred language and select ‘Next’.

iPad mini set up

Country or Region
Select your country.

iPad select language

You should now see a list of WiFi networks in your area. If you are in your house, then your WiFi network should be listed under Choose a Network… You will be prompted to enter your password.

iPad WiFi

Activating your iPad
Now that you’ve connected to your WiFi network, Apple will start the process of activating your iPad mini. This should take no longer than five to ten seconds to complete.

Activating iPad mini

Location Services
You have an option here to enable Location Services. By enabling this option, applications will have option to display your location. Social apps like Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter all use location services. You can turn this off at a later date, if you wish.

iPad location services

Set Up iPad
I mentioned earlier that I’d cover existing iPad owners looking to transfer their data to their new iPad mini. Here’s where you’ll be able to do just that. I’m going to assume that you’ve backed up your older iPad to either iCloud or to your Mac or PC. With the new iPad mini, you can select either ‘Restore from iCloud Backup’ or ‘Restore from iTunes Backup’. Either of these will transfer all of your apps, music and data from either iCloud or iTunes to your iPad mini.

setup new iPad

New owners will want to select ‘Set Up as New iPad’.

Apple ID
Your iPad mini is capable of downloading apps, movies, music, tv shows, podcasts and more from iTunes. An integral part of the set up process is to create or login using an Apple ID. If you have an existing iTunes account, then you should use that ID.

iPad mini Apple ID

Tip: Content purchased from the iTunes is attached to a specific Apple ID. If you are setting up a new iPad mini for a child or family member, you should consider setting up an ID specific to them. Having one ID means that all the content will be shared across all of your iOS devices. Mom’s stuff is not always the same as juniors stuff.

The Apple ID is also used for iCloud.

Upon entering this information, you’ll have to sign your life away agree to the lengthy terms and conditions.

Even if you’ve logged in with an old Apple ID, your iPad will say that it is going to take a few minutes to set up your Apple ID.

iPad activate

If you are unfamiliar with iCloud, it’s Apple’s service that stores your photos, apps, contacts, calendars and more. iCloud then pushes that content wirelessly to your devices. With iCloud, you get 5GB of free storage. Purchased content including apps, music and movies do not count against the 5GB. If you require more space, you can add 10GB increments for $20 additional. For example, $20 provides you with an additional 10GB pushing your total to 15GB total of iCloud storage. You can find more information in our guide on how to setup iCloud on Mac, PC and iOS.

iCloud setup

Your iPad mini comes with a Facetime HD camera, so you can video chat with friends and family. You can also send free messages to iPad and iPhone users with iMessage. The iPad set up wizard will provide you with the list of email addresses you’d like to associate with iMessage and Facetime.


The iPad mini might be short in stature, but it comes with all the latest features of iOS 6. Siri, your soon to be personal voice assistant, is an option here. There is no reason not to turn on Siri. As we noted in our iOS 6 Siri Guide, there are countless improvements that really improve upon the usefulness of Siri.

iPad siri setup

I know it may be hard to believe, but iOS and iPads are not perfect. If you comfortable sharing non-personal information with Apple, then select ‘Automatically Send’. You can always opt out of sending information to Apple.


The final step is to register your new iPad mini with Apple. This allows them to provide you with faster access to any support related issues.

Thank You
That’s it, you’ve successfully set up your iPad. It’s time to start having fun with your iPad mini. If you have questions or need help, please feel free to post your questions in the iPad forums here at everythingiCafe. Membership is always free and we’ve got a free iPad app so you can access the community from your new mini.

iPad fun

Have fun!

  • billnye97


    I don’t think your statement about iMessage is necessarily true. You can select a specific address or phone number for it to be active to. I was given all the emails and the two iPhones that my wife and I used. I selected my phone number only. So I only get my stuff.

    • Christopher Meinck

      Thanks! I’ve made the correction.

  • Liz Morton

    how can i send messages to other phones which are not iphones?

  • geraldine

    couldn’t have set it up without this step by step guide

  • Venus

    How can I upload videos taken on the mini ipad to Facebook or to my computer?

  • Julia samuels

    On vacation & am receiving email but cannot send it. Help?

  • ? Frances

    How do I set up my general date/time? I can’t get the year to the year, 2013, I’m WAY in the future!!! Help!!

    Thank you…. 8. /

  • Paul Arcand

    I cannot get my mail . Good until mid October nothing since then