Setting up the iPad mini is a reasonably straight-forward process, and as it comes armed with iOS 6 it is a PC-free setup process, so you don't need to attach the iPad mini to a Mac or PC running iTunes to get it up and running.
The iPad mini typically has a charge in the box (unless it's been sitting on the shelf for a while and the charge has run flat). Even so we advise you to use the supplied Lightning cable and adaptor to plug the iPad mini into the mains to ensure the setup process is uniterrupted. It's also a good idea to ensure you have access to a WiFi connection before doing the setup so you can access online features such as iCloud, Find My iPad, and activate the iPad online.
Step-by-step: iPad mini setup
1. Choose language
The first thing the iPad mini will ask you to do is choose a lanugage. iOS devices have previously come armed with English as the main langauge, while the iPad mini we got was set to Traditional Chinese as the default language (this is the language commonly used in Hong Kong and Taiwan, hit tip to Sung Chik our Financial Controller for the identifcation). It's easy enough to choose English as the main language though, click Show More, choose English and click the blue Next arrow.
2. Select Region
Ah, here's why the language defaulted to Traditional Chinese. Our iPad mini thinks it's in Taiwan. Click Show More and choose the location nearest to you.
3. Connect to Wi-Fi
The iPad mini will scan for nearby Wi-Fi networks. Choose a network to join and enter your password. Tap Join and Next.
4. Location Services
Location Services is a feature that lets the iPad mini, and apps, determine where you are. This is used by apps such as Maps to pinpoint you on a Map, and other apps offer customised information local to you. Some people don't like being tracked by apps though. Click Enable Location Services if you're happy with this feature, or Disable Location Services if you don't want to use localised information. Click Next.
5. Setup as new or Restore?
You can choose to setup your iPad mini as a new iPad, or Restore information (such as apps, data, and services) from a backup. This can either be an iCloud Backup or one you have performed locally on a computer. As this is our first iPad mini, and we intend to keep using our iPad and iPhone devices, we've elected to set this one up from scratch. Choose the option you want and click Next.
6. iPad mini Backup
The iPad mini can be either backed up to iCloud (Apple's remote servers) or locally to your computer. We typically choose iCloud because the iOS device will be backed up automatically whenever we connect it to the power (and it has a Wi-Fi connection). But some people still like to keep their backups locally in a copy of iTunes. You can't choose to not backup your iPad mini. If you don't want to backup you'll need to Choose Back Up To My Computer but not perform the backup when you connect to iTunes.
7. Find My iPad
Find My iPad is an app (that you can get from the App Store) and it allows you to locate lost or missing iOS devices from a computer (using the iCloud.com web services) or from another iOS device (using the Find My iPad app). To use this service select Use Find My iPad. The iPad will broadcast it's location to Apple who track its movement, then they can tell you where it is at any given time. If you'd rather keep this information from Apple choose Don't Use Find My iPad and click Next.
8. Say hello to Siri
Siri is Apple's language interaction feature where you can speak requests (such as send a message to a person, dictate a note, or ask what the weather is going to be like). Siri is great fun, although it's still a little haphazard at times. Siri sends your voice input to Apple's server, where it is crunched by a supercomputer and the information is sent back. Click Use Siri to use this feature or Don't Use Siri if you don't; click Next.
9. Diagnostics and Usage
You can help Apple keep an eye on your product by allowing the iPad to send Diagnostics and Usage data to Apple. Apple points out that this helps it improve its products, although it also enables them to keep an eye on what you use your iPad for, where, when, how long, and so on. So it's a lot of info you're sending to them. Take your choice and click Next.
You should register your device with Apple to get support and product information. This is handy if something goes wrong with the device. Registration is far easier on iOS than any other product, there are no forms to fill out or serial numbers to put in boxes. Just tap On and click Next.
11. Update the Software
The iPad mini is now good to go. We found that Apple had released a Software Update to 6.0.1 as soon as we started using the iPad, so you should update. Click Details and Update to go to the latest software. From here on in you'll be good to go.
12. Start using the iPad mini
You're now good to start using the iPad mini. Tap on app icons to see what they do, and the Home button to go back to the home screen.