With the holidays right around the corner, a lot of people will be receiving gifts — some of which will be new phones. Whether you’re splurging for yourself or someone else pulled a fast one to surprise you, you’ll need to set up that shiny new piece of technology.
Activating the phone on your current mobile plan or network is handled through your carrier, and it may have even been done already in the store. Setting up the OS and customizing the various settings and menus so they meet your preferences is all up to you.
In light of that, here are some quick tips for setting up your new phone, be it iOS- or Android-powered.
Setting up Your Android Phone
Unlike iPhones or iOS devices, the Android operating system is very open-ended, which means there are a lot of different choices, options, and steps involved when first configuring your phone. The best tip anyone could give is to poke around and get to know your new phone, especially if this is your first time using Android.
If you’re a returning Android user, the initial setup should be much simpler. Google will store all your settings, apps and configurations in the cloud, connected to your Google account. What this means is when you swap from one Android device to another, you can simply bring all your old contacts, apps and settings with you — just sign in to the same Google account you used on your old device. Also, certain devices have access to a 1:1 transfer app, such as Samsung’s Smart Switch.
If you didn’t back up your settings or apps, or you don’t have a Google account, don’t worry. Here’s a list of things you should do:
- Insert your SIM if you haven’t already and activate your mobile plan.
- Connect to a local Wi-Fi network, preferably a secure one.
- Optional: Import your data backup via your Google account.
- Sign in to your Google account or sign up for a new one.
- Configure your security options by implementing either a pin, pattern or biometric access key.
- Follow the manufacturer’s setup process, which will walk you through most of the preceding steps.
- Open Google Play and install your most used/favorite apps.
- Open or install Google Photos and configure auto-backup so your media is uploaded to your account automatically.
- Double check your contacts if they were imported or add them if you’re starting from scratch.
- Install a launcher, visual theme or animated wallpaper to customize the look and feel of your mobile experience.
Setting up Your iPhone (iOS)
iPhones and iOS devices — such as an iPad or Mac — offer a more on-the-rails setup experience, and an assistant walks you through the entire process. That’s not to say Android devices don’t have this — it’s just Apple’s initial configuration tends to be more thorough.
Because of that, you don’t necessarily need a tutorial for setting up iPhones — just follow the Setup Assistant. It does help, however, to have simple reminders in case you forgot or skip a step.
- Install the SIM and activate your phone.
- Connect to a local Wi-Fi network, hopefully, a secure one.
- Configure your device security settings with a six-digit passcode and Touch ID/Face ID setup.
- Connect or sign up for an Apple ID and iCloud account to back up your media and content.
- Activate Find My Phone location services so you can track and remotely protect your mobile.
- Restore settings from previous iPhone if you have them.
- Double check installed apps or install your favorites through the App Store (iTunes).
- Configure email, messaging and account-based apps.
- Browse through the settings menu to see if there’s anything you missed.
Setup Should Be Quick and Easy
For the most part, the latest phone models all include some form of on-the-rails or quick-setup process that walks you through all the necessary steps for configuring your new phone. You don’t necessarily need an in-depth guide anymore, but the tips discussed above can help in case you forgot something or skipped over a step the first go-round.
Ultimately, you can have your phone set up and personalized in a matter of minutes. That means getting to what matters most — enjoying your new gift and your present company.