What a charming new iPhone you have! Here’s how to familiarize yourself with it to ensure a two to four year life, give or take, of happiness. Or just one, if you are an annual upgrade person.
When you turn on your new iPhone, you’ll be greeted by the setup wizard, through which you’ll establish the essentials such as your Wi-Fi network and six-digit password, Face ID, Apple ID, and iCloud account, and if you want to turn on Find My Phone and location services. You’ll also be asked if you want to set up Siri (you do!), Which includes saying a few sentences so the assistant can get to know your voice.
It sounds like a lot of decisions and inputs, but the whole process only takes a few minutes. Better yet, none of these choices is binding; you can find them all later under Settings.
Once you’re done with the basics, it’s time to make this beauty truly your own, adding all your contacts, apps, and content to it. You can do this the easy way or the hard way. Which path you choose will likely depend on whether this is your first iPhone or iPad.
If you are an Apple vet, you can simply select Restore from iCloud backup or Restore from iTunes backup (speaking of which, be sure to back up your old device before doing this). Then enter your Apple ID and password, and grab a peppermint mocha while your iPhone reboots with all of your settings, preferences, apps, and more in place. In other words, it will be exactly like your old device, but… newer.
Additionally, Apple introduced a feature in iOS 11 days called “Quick Start” that gives you a faster path to set up an iPhone. First, swap your SIM card into your new device. Then move your new iPhone closer to the old one and confirm that you want to use the same Apple ID on the new device. An animation should appear on your new device; hover your old one over it until this image appears in your viewfinder. Enter your password when prompted and you’re about to set up Face ID. From there, you can choose exactly what you want to back up and what settings (including for Apple Watch, if you have one) you want to carry over.
If this is your first Apple rodeo, or if you just want a fresh start and like to play through the menus, select Set up as new phone, which will accomplish exactly what it sounds like. If you are from Android, be sure to download the Switch to iOS Android application from Google Play. On the Apps & data screen during the process of setting up your new iPhone, tap Move data from Android. Return to your Android phone, open the app, tap Continue, and follow the instructions from there. You can’t transfer everything, but you can transfer your contacts, messages, photos and videos, calendars, and email accounts. Some applications will even make the jump.
Otherwise, it’s just a matter of customizing to your preferences. Want to add an email account? Go to Settings > Accounts and passwords. Want to fine-tune which apps refresh in the background (and drain your battery in the process)? Head toward Settings > General > Refresh the App in the background and turn off your little heart. Want to save time on web forms? Go to Settings > Safari > Automatic filling and preload your contact information.
This new device will also have iOS 14 on it. Check-out our practical list of the most important new features you should experience in Apple’s latest mobile operating system. You should also read all the ways that iOS 14 goes make you safer.
One final recommendation: get rid of the clutter. iOS 14 allows you to remove many of Apple’s stock apps. Do it! It feels good, I promise. Oh, and as you dig through Apple’s preloaded apps, be sure to stop at Messages and create an Animoji to send your conversations spiraling into a pit of loose trollery.
There isn’t just one right way to access iOS, but hitting those basics should at least get you started on a healthy path.
This setup guide was updated in December 2020.
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