Once you’ve powered on your device, you’ll be greeted with a series of setup tasks. This is where you’ll set your language preferences, connect to your home Wi-Fi network, and then enter your Google Account details. This is your Gmail address and password. Yes, you must have a Google account to use an Android phone. Finally, configure your security features like a device unlock code and fingerprint unlock feature, if your phone offers it.
Being signed in to your Google Account makes it easy to set up a new phone from there, especially if you’ve ever owned an Android device. Items like contacts, calendars, and emails linked to your Google Account, whether you’ve hidden them there from the web or your old Android phone, should automatically transfer to your new device as soon as you sign in. .
If you had an Android phone before this, just make sure the old phone is backed up. Go to Settings> Backup and reset. There you will see options for Back up my data (turn that sure, if not) and Automatic restore (switch this to sure as well as). These two settings will ensure that your Gmail contacts, calendars, and inbox will be available on your new phone. In addition, all your apps and their various settings should also make the jump.
There are ways to access your photos on your new phone, but your best bet is to use Google’s cloud service, Google Photos, which comes preinstalled on Android devices. It is also the place where your photos are automatically saved whenever you back up your photos to Android phone. (If you run out of space in your Google Account too often, check out our guide to how to free up space.) If you’re not already using Google Photos, that’s OK. Take your old phone and back up all your photos to the Google Photos cloud by opening the app and tapping your little round user icon at the top left. To select Save now and wait for the photos to sync. Your photos should then be available to view and download on your new Android phone, as well as on the web and any iOS device where you’ve downloaded the Google Photos app.
Once you’ve synced all the data available from your Google Account, you’ll want to link some of your other accounts to your phone for seamless integration down the line. Just head to Settings> Accounts, select Add an account, and enter your information for Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Skype and anything else you rely on regularly.
And that’s basically it! You can DIY in the settings or entirely personalize phone to your heart’s content – it’s Android, after all – but most of them are just personal preferences.
One last tip? Keep an eye out for Google Assistant, a personal assistant built into Android that will learn from your search and location history to provide you with timely information and articles. You can view personalized news articles chosen by the assistant at any time by swiping your finger right on the Home screen.
To make sure the Assistant is enabled, go to Settings> Google> Search, where you can customize the type of cards you see, the notifications you receive, and the type of voice activation you prefer, if applicable.
This setup guide was updated in December 2020.
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