Overlooked iPad settings to consider before flying

2 min read

The iPad Settings app offers a dizzying array of options, from changing privacy options to adjusting screen brightness. As we’ve covered before, we think a quick preflight inspection of your iPad is a good idea, but there are a few more obscure settings that some pilots might also want to review. Here are three we’ve learned about the hard way.

Require Passcode. If you use a password to keep your iPad secure during the day (as many companies require if used for work), this can introduce problems during flight. If you have sunglasses, a headset, and possibly even a mask on while flying, the FaceID might fail. Likewise, typing in a password every time the screen turns off is a hassle, especially if you need quick access to a chart. You can turn off your passcode, but then it’s a hassle to set it up again. An easier solution is to change how long the iPad waits before requiring you to enter your passcode. Go to Settings -> Face ID & Passcode -> Require Passcode. Choose “After 4 hours” and you should be set for all but the longest flights.

EFB App Notifications. Notifications are helpful, but they can quickly clog up your iPad screen if you use a lot of apps—do you really need 25 news alerts per day? For this reason, we often turn off most notifications during normal use. It’s just one less thing to be distracted by. In flight, however, notifications can be very important, for example if you use a timer for fuel management. To make sure you see these important notifications, go to Settings -> Notifications and choose your EFB app from the list. Make sure “Allow Notifications” is selected on, then tap Banner Style. By default it will be set to Temporary, meaning the notification shows up for a few seconds and then disappears. For flying, we like to change this to Persistent, so you have to acknowledge the alert.

Shake to Undo. This feature is one that most iPad owners learn about by accident—you accidentally shake or drop your tablet and a screen appears asking whether you want to undo. This can be helpful if you’re sitting on the couch, but it’s incredibly annoying if you’re slamming through moderate turbulence. To turn it off, go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Touch and turn off Shake to Undo.

Learn more about iPad settings in this article.

5 replies
  1. Thomas Piscitello
    Thomas Piscitello says:

    Tried your passcode suggestion, and my ipad pro 11, iOS 14.2 only had one selection and that was ‘immediately’. No other options. Also tried your other suggestions and they too, were not able to be selected as you mention. Why?

    • Joe
      Joe says:

      Do you have any work related emails that are logged in through your iPad? If so, your work email settings may override some features.

    • Jim Bonsey
      Jim Bonsey says:

      I actually know the answer to that.
      If you are using face recognition, then immediately is your only option. My guess is that they assume that since you are looking at your iPad, it is not a hassle to activate (by looking at it) repeatedly.
      So, you have two options: one is to stop using face recognition in which case you will gain The ability to set a delay.

      The other is to go into the face recognition set up and turn OFF The setting that says “require attention for face ID“. That setting tries to make it more secure by requiring that you are looking directly into the camera. It can be foiled by your sunglasses, or by the fact that while flying you may not be staring into the camera.

  2. Joshua Paul E. E Santiago
    Joshua Paul E. E Santiago says:

    Hi hello,

    Super helpful article! Was hoping to change some settings around with my own iPad Pro 12.9 regarding when it would require me for my passcode/Face ID!

    I see that this article was published in Dec. 28, 2020, so it shouldnt be that out of date, however I don’t think I’m able to set my iPad to after 4 hours of unlock due to the OS I’m currently on (the most up to date). I wanted to reach out to someone to see if they could help us outline the steps listed from this article!

    Thank you in advance! Happy New Year.

    • James Bonsey
      James Bonsey says:

      If you are using face recognition, then immediately is your only option.

      There are two ways around this: you can turn off face recognition which will give you the ability to select a delay.

      Or, you can make face recognition a little less sensitive so that the operation will be seamless. In order to do this go into the face ID settings and turn off the button that says “ require attention“. In order to make face recognition stronger, that setting requires you to be looking directly into the camera. If you are wearing sunglasses, or just kind of glancing down at your iPad, it will not recognize you.

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